At this time of year, half-frozen European and worldwide retailers, collectors, and journalists descend on one of the hottest watch fairs of the decade. And we’re not talking about the daytime temperatures of the enigmatic desert, but the 6th biannual Dubai Watch Week.
Set up by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, scions of luxury watch retail in the UAE, the week has forums, talks, and displays by the top-tier brands of the industry filling the event spaces. Dubai Watch Week has become a major destination and one to rival the big Swiss events. Here are some of the best watches shown for the first time this week, jostling with the desert sun for attention.
Dubai Watch Week
Hublot Classic Fusion Black Magic
As a limited edition by the Seddiqi family with Hublot, the swathes of vivid colours make the most of the stealth-elegant all-black Classic Fusion. With clear inspiration from Arabic words and phrases, renowned artist Wissam Shawkat designed the sweeping interlaced calligraphy. A mid-sized men’s version in 42mm is complemented by a ladies’ 38mm encircled by 36 black brilliant-cut diamonds.
MB&F HM11 Architect
Dubai is all about flamboyant architecture and avant-garde technology, so the MB&F HM11 plays a fitting lead in this story. We’re unsure whether to classify this as a watch, an instrument, or a time vessel. The inspiration for this twistable wonder comes from the experimental post-modern architecture of the 1960s and lets you choose between 3 pod-like “rooms” for your viewing pleasure. The predictable hours and minutes, a power reserve, and fitting for Dubai’s fluctuating climate, a thermometer. Rotating the entire watch while you choose will also wind the 364-part movement.
Ulysse Nardin Freak [ONE OPS]
Just like the MB&F HM11, Ulysse Nardin’s Freak [ONE OPS] suits Dubai with its extrovert mechanical nature. You wouldn’t believe it by being transfixed by its twirling movement-as-hands design, but the model is 22 years old this year. That says a lot for the tech-savvy Ulysse Nardin, and the Freak is their fitting halo model. Earlier this year, we saw a gold-imbued version of the Freak. Still, this time it gets a for-Dubai understated Khaki matchup with a radially patterned dial and matching rubber strap with a frankly intriguing bezel. Made from uniquely patterned Carbonium, it is twisted to set the time on this crownless tour de force.
Fiona Krüger Fracture x Perpétuel Gallery
Performing a delicate balancing act between timekeeping and art, Fracture explores the concepts of order and chaos and their connection to our perception of time. The salmon-copper colour of the dial is dramatically intersected by a polished fissure in the dial, making you do a second take. The dramatic angular split reveals a rich green movement within, making up the two colours of the Perpétuel Gallery in Dubai. The hand-finished movement is made by the avant-garde Swiss atèlier Agenhor.
Ming 37.08 Sand
Within the realms of more affordable small-brand watches, Ming Thein’s creations have a minimalist air and homage-free design language we’re all about. This time, the dial’s the star with a literal inspiration that befits the debut in Dubai. The enigmatic dune-like surface takes some of its inspiration from the nearby windswept dunes of the Emirates, while the trademark sweep of the steel case adds to the wrist-zen. Off-white and beige-coloured hands add to a cohesive design with a soft grey leather strap, adding a tonal match to the steel case.
Bell & Ross Green Lume
On the fun end of the Dubai watch-spectrum, we find the hype-cool of the Bell&Ross BR-X5 Green Lume. Easily the most innovative of their BR models, this is the first time we’ve seen the solid photo-luminescent material LM3D layered with micro-blasted black titanium for the main case. LM3D is made from green-luminescent quartz fibres, making the BR-X5 our default choice for a night-time desert expedition.
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