Although the primary mission of the Dubai Watch Week is to educate the public about the history and traditions of fine Swiss watchmaking (see separate article), there was no shortage of new watches for fans to discover at this year’s event, including special limited editions for the UAE and some first previews of watches that will be shown at the SIHH in January.
Ferdinand Berthoud brought its award-winning FB 1 chronometer to last year’s Dubai Watch Week and there was plenty of feedback from a watch-savvy public. The brand took this into account and came back this year with two new FB 1.4 models in titanium.
FB 1.4 Chronometer in titanium, available in two different dial coloursrs © Ferdinand Berthoud
Audemars Piguet, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin all used the Creative Hubs during the Dubai Watch Week to showcase some of the models they will be presenting at the SIHH in Geneva in January. Audemars Piguet focused on new models for ladies in the Millenary collection, while Vacheron Constantin presented a full calendar Traditionnelle model in its Collection Excellence Platine line (where as much of the watch as possible is in platinum – the case, crown, dial and even the thread in the stitching on the strap!) and a Dual Time version of the Overseas. For Roger Dubuis, the SIHH will be just one among several communications platforms next year as the brand moves heavily into motorsport and the world of luxury cars with its partnership with Lamborghini. Guests were treated to a sneak peek of a new white model in the brand’s Excalibur line that uses the rubber from Grand Prix winning Pirelli tyres on its straps. Richard Mille also presented a motorsport-themed watch in the form of a limited-edition RM 055 model for the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, of which the brand is an official partner.
New Millenary models © Audemars Piguet
The full calendar Traditionnelle model and the Dual Time versions of the Overseas © Vacheron Constantin
Excalibur Spider Pirelli white © Roger Dubuis
My sorrow (as someone who likes bicycles) is that the invention (outside the layout — which might be the real winner here) from the opinion is an incremental electronic counter that Richard Mille relates to being like an “odometer.” Do not overthink this. Basically you manually enter each mile (or anything you want to rely) on the “horological odometer” and be on your merry way. Richard Mille says for example that cyclists may manually input each mile they rode after the fact. Are they going to find out this? Probably by imitating a digital device that’s documenting the quantities of miles traveled — and that can keep track of the information anyways.Richard Mille no doubt has other (let us imagine they’re nefarious) uses in mind for this particular totalizer complication. What if this were a lookout for hit guys or mercenaries to track their body counts? Or what if something much more mundane happens and individuals who own one of those rare luxuries will delight in the rare experience of this exotic fidget spinner letting you count as large and pretty much anybody can in one sitting… and then simplifying the entire to zero. C’mon, it’s roughly as cathartic as idly spending time on a casual smartphone game.Richard Mille isn’t ignorant of how the totalizer isn’t the most exciting innovation in the world of watches, but they do worry the upsides suggesting that the rollers align very precisely, that the system is intended to prevent “casual manipulations,” along with a lock to ensure overall equilibrium. To put it differently, Richard Mille wants you to be aware that the practice of pressing in digit after digit through the case button is going to feel incredible for all those rickety mechanical button fetishists (we all know that we are).
Hublot presented two special editions for the UAE that used the same idea as the Italia Independent models presented earlier this year, incorporating fabrics into the dial and strap. This time, it is the unique fabric used in the traditional ghatra of the region that is found on the dial. It was a lot more difficult to use on the dial because the fabric is very fine, but the result was well received by the local visitors, although they were as surprised as I was to discover that this fabric is actually made in Switzerland!
UAE special editions © Hublot
Hublot’s sister brand TAG Heuer also presented a limited edition for the region during the Dubai Watch Week. Unusually, the launch of the Autavia UAE edition, which was developed by TAG Heuer in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, will be staggered. Only nine were available during the Dubai Watch Week. A further 70 will be released in December and the remaining 71 pieces in the limited series of 150 will be available in the new year. With a tropical-style dial and brown colours on the bezel and strap reminiscent of the desert sands, Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holdings, is convinced that this watch will be a desirable collector’s item.
Autavia, UAE special edition © TAG Heuer
In contrast, IWC chose an altogether more refined model for its limited edition for the region, which was also produced in collaboration with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. The manually-wound Portugieser tourbillon with its distinctive green dial will undoubtedly appeal to an altogether different clientele and its limited to just 25 pieces.
Portugieser Tourbillon with a green dial © IWC