New, Now, Next: Dubai Watch Week

It’s been two long years since Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons last attracted watch- making’s leading names to Dubai Watch Week, and each time the event gets bigger and bigger.

It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for, with new and exciting time- pieces coming to our shores en masse. GMT GCC has the lowdown on the sharpest and hottest wrist candy at Dubai Watch Week – and boy, was it worth the wait.

It’s been two long years since Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons last attracted watch- making’s leading names to Dubai Watch Week, and each time the event gets bigger and bigger. Proving irresistible to horology’s great and good, the uniquely Dubai combo of fabulous food, superlative hotels and an educated public of connoisseurs with the means to purchase the timepieces on dis- play makes for an horological carnival atmosphere that’s difficult to beat. Add to that the increasingly lavish and lush exhibitions and displays that watchmaking Maisons are bringing with them, this is a spectacle not to be missed. But, back to basics: what we’re really here for are the new launches that are exclusive to Dubai.
Signing more non-disclosure agreements than we had hot dinners in the weeks leading up to Dubai Watch Week, here at GMT GCC we’ve been dying to let you all in on the secret new launches – and, finally, it’s time to spill the beans. Feast your eyes on the best the top brands had to offer at this very special event, and join the scramble to get your hands on one…

Neo Bridges Aston Martin Edition
With a slick, masculine look worthy of James Bond himself, this joint effort from Girard-Perregaux and Aston Martin is sure to zoom straight out of sight once it goes on sale in December 2023. With a reimagining of watchmaking’s classic bridge structures and as a new addition to the brand’s heritage Bridges collection of timepieces – Constant Girard first sketched three parallel bridges on a pocket watch in 1967 – the Neo Bridges watch reflects the Aston Martin DB12’s sculpted contours with its skele- tonised curves and edges. At a generous 45mm and with an abundance of luminescence on its dial, this may not be a timepiece for secret agents, after all – but if you’re looking for something as eye-catching as it is tech- nical, you’d better hurry to get your hands on one of the only 250 pieces produced.

Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles
While not technically a new launch at Dubai Watch Week, it was nonetheless thrilling to see this suite of five captivating timepieces on the UAE’s shores for the first time. We might be used to small and dainty watches from the Chanel workshops, but this time around we are going big as well as going broke, at 55mm in diameter. The size is warranted thanks to the sheer intricacy of the dials – the daintiness of the black fabric strap set against the domed heft of the timepiece evokes a dressmaker’s pincushion, singularly appropriate for the famed couturier’s themed dials. Our favourite? The signature Chanel quilt- ing, dotted with baguette-cut diamonds and teeny tiny chains. Cute, quirky and elegant – we’d expect nothing less.

Van Cleef & Arpels
Ludo Secret Watch
As always, at VC&A not everything is as it seems. As the lead exhibitor at Dubai Watch Week, it was a prime opportunity to show off some signature mystery – and, typically, the Van Cleef & Arpels team did it in utmost style. The brand’s Ludo Secret creations are based on original bracelet designs from 1934, named after Louis Arpels’s pet name and giving the Maison’s craftsmen the oppor- tunity to flex their virtuosity. Minutely-set diamonds sit in rose gold, form- ing the push mechanism that opens the bracelet to reveal a secret guilloché mother of pearl dial. The brick-patterned meshwork bracelet is flexible and elegant, forming a second skin when worn. And, best of all, this tiny quartz treasure is as cute as a button. Keep it a secret? You couldn’t if you tried.

Wild ONE Gold & Wild ONE All Black
In a first for this brand, solid gold has made it on to the distinctive case design, lending a high-end edge to the Wild ONE’s sporty look and feel. The brushed and polished 18 carat red gold is incorporated not only into the case but also on the dial, in the form of hands, indices and logo. Ethi- cally sourced, mercury free and fully traceable, when it comes to their gold Norqain seem to have got it all right from the very first try. The brand’s proprietary high-tech Norteq material is ever-present in both the gold and All Black models, while an intricate three-level laser cut dial, rich in the mandala-like Norqain pattern motif, adds a fascinating point of interest. A mature step for this high performance brand.

Chronomaster Revival Edition
Sporty, fresh and undeniably Emirati, a partnership with the Dubai Watch Club collector group has resulted in Zenith’s strictly limited edition version of its Chronomaster Revival, based on the A384. The bright yellow dial screams fast cars, the matte titanium case whispers strength, and the Eastern Arabic numerals on the counters, tachymeter scale and date wheel say it all. Compact proportions and retro tonneau-style lugs complete the picture of exclusive desirability. Want to get one on your wrist? You’d better get yourself a club membership and begin vying for one of the only 69 pieces produced.

Ulysse Nardin
The Freak is back – and this time it’s operating with a military bent. The revolutionary 2001 original broke boundaries back in the day, with no dial, no hands, no crown and no worries about what watch- making purists would think. And sure enough, it pushed limits in ways that were felt industry-wide. Now it’s back for Dubai Watch Week in a fetchingly military khaki and black colour scheme, its satisfyingly marbled DLC titanium case contrasting with the deep green of the sunray-patterned barrel cover. The flying carousel movement is almost completely visible, rotating around its own axis and suspended by bridges that indicate the time. The 30 per cent recycled rubber straps give the piece some eco-cred, while the oversized silicon oscillator and balance spring add a pop of colour. As the name suggests, this isn’t a timepiece for wallflowers – and, luckily, Dubai’s extroverted watch lovers are up to the challenge.

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44_CMYK

Avenger B01 Chronograph 44
Launching a whole plethora of Avengers wrist candy at Dubai Watch Week, Breitling fans were tickled pink by the options the brand put on offer. While there was truly something for everyone, our eye was caught by the sand- coloured B01 Chronograph 44, a substantial timepiece made subtle by its styling, and still as technically brilliant as you’d expect a Breitling to be. With a 70-hour reserve and running on the powerhouse Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, this is a timepiece for fans of a sporty silhouette with technical prowess made deceptively simple. While those with an appetite for something more flashy could do worse than the Avenger Night Mission chronograph – the same guts, just with the glory turned up a notch thanks to its unmissably bright yellow hue. Avenger? I barely know her!

Rainbow Green
Unveiling yet another work of fascinating intricacy, this time Genus are making it totally Dubai, in a very sweet and tender way. Using what they call the ‘colour of Dubai’s creative energy’, this handsome green machine lifts one of the shades of the UAE flag for its Damas- cus titanium case and partners it with a moving rainbow of sapphires which form the dial’s 12 genera – the free-moving elements, indicating the tens of minutes, that are an icon of the brand. The sheer level of detail used in this timepiece is mind-boggling, but it’s been made to be worn. Despite the chunky gems, the movement is light enough to hold a 50-hour power reserve, and its 30-metre water resistance makes it lifeproof enough for everyday wear. It’s a beautiful expression of the dynamism of Dubai – you’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect horo- logical representation of this City of Dreams.

Classic Fusion Black Magic
Well, didn’t Hublot go off with a bang! Checking every box on the Dubai watch-lover’s checklist, the two funky-and-chunky timepieces produced in col- laboration with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons are a sight to behold. With artist Wissam Shawkat’s captivating calligraphy reproduced in a delightful spectrum of neon tones on the dial, the spirit of Hublot’s porthole- like Classic Fusion is still front and centre, in matte black ceramic. “We are excited to be a part of Dubai Watch Week, together with our partner Ahmed Sed- diqi & Sons and releasing two exceptional special-edi- tion timepieces,” said Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe at the launch of the timepieces. “Following Hublot’s love for the world of art, we are pleased to reveal a spe- cial collaboration to resonate Hublot’s interpretation of Arabic heritage & culture – adding a great touch to the Art of Fusion.”

Peacock Saga
Unveiling a suite of spectacular ladies’ watches at Dubai Watch Week, Bulgari defined the concept of spoilt for choice. Elabo- rating on the concept of the elegance of peacocks, five new timepieces sported everything from intricate marquetry and gemsetting to welcome complications, which are sometimes frustratingly absent from women’s watchmaking. Ranging from a petite 33mm up to a more substantial 37mm and with the natural feather marquetry a particular point of interest, the thunder was stolen by the Divas’ Dream Peacock Dischi. Indicating the time with round diamonds affixed to two mov- ing concentric disks, this is a self-winding treat for the eyes and wrist. The dial’s peacock feather inlay and cabochon-cut sapphire bezel are set off perfectly by the blue alligator strap. A triumph of colour and technique.