The watches enjoying the highest sales figures in the Middle East are surprisingly diverse in style. This is because the United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai, is a regional hub that welcomes people from literally all over the world (China, India, Australia etc.), and also because the resident population is constantly changing, and becoming increasingly well-informed about the subtlety and breadth of Switzerland’s watch industry.
As Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, commercial director of Seddiqi Holding (one of the region’s major watch distributors and retailers) told us: “Middle-Eastern customers – particularly the younger generation – are well-informed and very discerning. As they do everywhere, people buy a watch that they have seen someone else wearing, thanks to social media like Instagram, or after visiting a shop such as Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. To some extent, Dubai Watch Week has helped to educate people and make them better-informed, by offering a genuine opportunity to interact directly with the brands, particularly independent brands.” The growing interest of collectors in independent watch brands confirms his observation. (There is also a notable demand for steel watches.)
Richard Mille enjoys a strong position in the Middle East, with those High Net Worth Individuals we keep hearing about, as well as with fans of ultra-light watches. Here, the RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph is the most popular model, followed by the RM 035, RM 055, RM 029 and RM 030. For women, there’s the RM 07-01 and the RM 037.
IWC customers in the region are particularly keen on limited editions, as well as iconic collections such as the Portugieser. The Portugieser automatic with perpetual calendar and 7-day power reserve (adjusted by a single crown) has become a must-have for local collectors.
Mr Seddiqi adds: “Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Rolex have their own base of aficionados, which continues to grow. Overall, I’d say that there are more and more collectors. They base their choice on personal preference, and what they themselves consider to be ‘classic’, ‘discreet’, ‘sporty’ or ‘versatile’. Millennials, for example, prefer trendy watches, while conservative collectors are more likely to buy established brands.”
For Audemars Piguet, it’s one of the brand icons that stands out here, as so often elsewhere: the Royal Oak in steel is popular with many men. Women are generally more attracted to the two-tone version, closely followed by the gold model.
Breguet doesn’t admit to any particular bestseller, but some models are clearly successful in the region: the Reine de Naples 8918 in white or rose gold, the Marine Chronographe 5827 in rose gold, the Classique Hora Mundi 5717 in platinum and the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 in rose gold.
Women in the region love their watches, particularly jewellery watches. This is all to the good for Chopard, whose jewellery watches are a pillar of their collection. One of their bestsellers is an 18 karat rose gold watch from the L’Heure du Diamant collection, which features 21.09 carats of diamonds.
Piaget has a number of models that are particularly sought after: the Possession, the Piaget Rose and the Limelight Gala, along with the Tradition for clients more focused on the mechanical side. But attitudes are changing among women too, and this is partly due to the marketing efforts of the brands themselves, who are increasingly prepared to venture outside their comfort zone.
All this noted, thanks to its above Magic Mixture of pricing and recognizability, the RM011 became the most “go-to, f**k-all rich watch” of our time — and while the uncannily amazing wearing comfort along with also the equilibrium of style is what makes it the grail Are Richard Mille Watches Worth It Replica for many, it may at this stage be a bit too ubiquitous (as much as a $150,000-dollar watch can possibly be). Therefore, I imagine there to be a growing group of buyers who want all that Richard Mille as a watch brand can offer, minus the immediate attention and all that comes with that. And that is where a sleeper Richard Mille comes to the picture.The Richard Mille RM033 belongs to what’s an exclusive, although gradually expanding collection of Richard Mille watches: that of those curved ones. If you really, really know watches really nicely, then you will most likely have the ability to tell from the other side of the dinner table that this is a Richard Mille — but the most people I have met, even people that are in the watch industry, couldn’t tell that this was “an RM. “The Richard Mille branding in 12 o’clock is almost microscopic and while the big, futuristic looking Arabic numerals are very much an RM layout, they from afar I presume are difficult to tell apart from the busy looking, skeletonized movement directly behind them. There is another edition of the RM033 with bold Roman numerals all over the dial — that is a more frequently seen iteration of the RM033 that I guess a few more could have recognized out of a distance.So, while Richard Mille’s tonneau shaped watches would be, rather deservedly, said to be strings that many wear not just for themselves, but only as much for other people to view, the brand’s round watches, and especially this very RM033, is the exact opposite of all that.At 45.70mm wide and available in titanium, or 18k white or red gold, the Richard Mille RM033 is only 6.30mm thick, all cased up. Even though that renders it one fantastic thing to maintain the hand, such filigree measurements also allow the RM033 to slide under shirt sleeves with ease. The RM011 is well over twice as thick and hence a hundred times less likely to slip beneath even a loose sleeve of a shirt or jacket. Wearability we’ll talk about in only a bit, but because we’re talking exterior, let’s have a better look at the quality of execution.