There are two major watch exhibitions every year — the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and Baselworld. Regional exhibitions range from the successful Salón Internacional Alta Relojería (SIAR) in Mexico, in its 10th year in 2016, to Watches and Wonders, which ran from 2013 to 2015 in Hong Kong and is currently on hiatus.

One of the newest regional exhibitions to come on the scene is Dubai Watch Week, held in the booming, high-profile emirate and organised by leading retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.

The first edition of Dubai Watch Week took place in 2015, immediately on the heels of Watches & Wonders 2015 and running concurrently with SIAR.

Exhibitors consisted mostly of small independent brands, and the dynamic, intimate atmosphere this imparted to the exhibition immediately marked it out as the bold outlier in an exhibition calendar largely dominated by large corporate groups.

Despite the scheduling clash with the biggest watch event on the Latin American horological year, which could have dampened international interest, Dubai Watch Week was quickly hailed a success and plans were put into motion to make Dubai Watch Week an annual event.

The 2016 edition of Dubai Watch Week promises to be even bigger than last year’s, with new brands joining the exhibition.

Whereas last year’s event was centred on the theme of “The Rebels of Horology”, putting the spotlight on independent brands, this year’s focus is “Masters of Time” and highlights the pinnacle of watchmaking innovation and craft.

Joining Dubai Watch Week for the first time will be brands such as Audemars Piguet, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin, horological heavyweights that provide the weight of history and patrimony alongside the younger independents who continue to be a strong part of this year’s event.

One of the biggest draws of Dubai Watch Week 2016 is sure to be the extremely limited-capacity watchmaking masterclasses held by luminaries such as Vianney Halter, Andreas Strehler and Antoine Preziuso.

Discussion forums will also be a key part of the five-day event, with topics ranging from the use of metiers d’art in watchmaking, to the evolution of the marketplace in the digital sphere.

The winners of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève will also be on display during Dubai Watch Week — the award ceremony takes place on 10 November and the pieces will go directly to Dubai afterwards.

Says Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, vice chairman of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, “Education is a key area of focus at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, as it has been our mission for more than 60 years to increase the understanding of and passion for watchmaking in the Middle East. Dubai Watch Week has education at the heart of its annual platform, through workshops, discussions, and mentorship opportunities that engage both existing and emerging members of the watch community in topics of both historical and contemporary significance to the industry.”

Dubai Watch Week will take place from 15 to 19 November 2016 at the Dubai International Finance Centre and The Dubai Mall. For more information, visit www.dubaiwatchweek.com.