How Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons led the way for luxury horology in the Middle East
Representing the very best in luxury watch retail, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and its flagship event, Dubai Watch Week, has placed the United Arab Emirates front and center as the cultural beating heart of the Swiss watch industry.
Dubai is often regarded as the de facto luxury capital of the United Arab Emirates, and rightly so, given its overall high standard of living, lavish shopping malls and the fact that it ranks among the safest cities in the Middle East, and indeed the world. So, it is known as the City of Gold for a very good reason, and one of the most prominent names in Emirati luxury that has consistently elevated the UAE, not just within the Gulf but on a global stage, is Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, which is undoubtedly the number one luxury watch retailer in the Middle East today.
With its massive network of multi- and mono-brand stores spread between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is the retail juggernaut fueling the region’s curiosity, passion and appetite for the best timepieces the world has to offer. Notably, it is through the vision and tenacity of this homegrown luxury watch retailer that the UAE frequently places among the top 10 largest markets for Swiss timepieces, with total exports in the first half of 2023 worth CHF 620.9M.
Combined with other key countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, the Middle East represents CHF 1.1B in that same period.
This burgeoning community of watch aficionados stands among the most sophisticated and fanatical in the world, thanks to the leading role Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons play in developing a strong watch culture in its territory — and this comes right from the heart of the company’s founding family. If it were not for the fascination of its founder, Ahmed Qassim Seddiqi, with high-quality Swiss timepieces in the 1940s, the company’s history would have been written very differently indeed.
So essentially, the story of luxury watch retail in the UAE is the origin story of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, a family business run by four generations of the Seddiqi family since 1950.
The first in the UAE
From the first Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons store in the old Bur Dubai Souk, the company has now expanded into a massive conglomerate with over 1,000 employees. Seddiqi Holding was established in 2007 and manages a range of businesses including Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons with more than 80 brand partners represented across over 50 stores throughout the region, aftersales division Swiss Watch Services, and Mizzen, a subsidiary focusing on unique retail concepts for luxury consumer brands such as Aesop, Orlebar Brown and Gentle Monster.
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons was the first in the UAE to represent Rolex in 1952 and Patek Philippe in 1960. Naturally, the watch industry was in a completely different place than where it is today, and consumers as well had not yet been acquainted to luxury watchmaking on an intimate level.
However, the ambition of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons was always this: to cultivate a community of passionate watch enthusiasts, to put the UAE firmly on the luxury horology map, and to show how a beautiful watch is also very much an object that can transform time into cherished moments.
Presently, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is directed by co-founder, Abdulmagied Seddiqi, who is the second of four children of Ahmed Qassim Seddiqi, and his brother Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi who takes on the role of Chairman of the Seddiqi Holding. Members of the family’s third generation have also helped manage the company in various key positions.
Its Chief Commercial Officer, Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, is one of the most prominent individuals in the global luxury retail industry, who is also shaping and developing the market for all brand partners of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.
Performing as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer is Osama Ibrahim Seddiqi, and Hassan Abdulmagied Seddiqi is the company’s Chief Human Capital Officer; not forgetting Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, who also holds the key position of Director General of Dubai Watch Week, the biennial anchor event on the luxury watch calendar designed for everyone in the industry — watchmakers, brand principals, watch buyers, watch journalists, even young children — and has positioned itself as the reference event for watch fair organizers all around the world.
Why Dubai Watch Week is the place to be
In its sixth edition now, Dubai Watch Week sets out to unite and grow the global watch community by providing the best platform on which to share knowledge, build connections, and ultimately, to celebrate watchmaking. Attracting tens of thousands of international visitors over its weeklong activation, this event distinguishes itself from other major trade shows by focusing not on sales but on watch culture.
To achieve its goal, the organizers have curated well over 100 different programs and masterclasses, forums and craftsmanship workshops, plus a plethora of music and gastronomical experiences to keep the audience engaged.
At the 2023 edition, guest speakers arrived from all over the world to provide insights from different corners of the industry along with key members of the Seddiqi management team, and VIP speaker His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications.
Guest speakers included watchmakers and brand owners such as Philippe Dufour, Max Büsser, Jean-Claude Biver, Georges Kern, François-Henry Bennahmias and more, auction house specialists from Christie’s, renowned watch collectors, and Revolution and Grail Watch founder Wei Koh.
But of course, it wouldn’t be called Dubai Watch Week without the real stars of the show — the watches. Every two years, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons unveils an exclusive collection of Dubai Watch Week limited-edition timepieces co-created with selected brand partners and designed expressly for the Middle Eastern collector.
In 2023, some of the highlights that have emerged include the Bovet 1822 Récital 15 Meteorite, the Breitling Chronomat GMT 40 in two variations, De Bethune’s DBD Evergreen, the Hublot Classic Fusion Black Magic with colorful Arabic script, and the beautiful sand- colored Ressence Type 1 DX3 featuring cloisonné enamel.
Vyntage Horology: A brand founded from passion
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons also took the opportunity to present the latest developments on Vyntage Horology, its very own brand crafted as a tribute to the modern connoisseur. Two new collections lead the charge, named Monograph and Purity, both highly wearable at 40mm and 39mm respectively, and always reflecting exquisite craftsmanship while blending tradition and innovation.
“Vyntage Horology is a labor of love,” says Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi. “It is a venture that is fueled by our family’s dedication and passion toward horological excellence, and through it, we are committed to preserving and enhancing our timeless legacy.
“The launch of Vyntage Horology further expands our offering and underscores our ongoing commitment to elevate the region’s status as a destination for horology and luxury.”
From its origin story through its formative years and right up till the present moment, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has never lost sight of its goal — to bring luxury and horological authenticity to the hearts of watch connoisseurs. And what began as one man’s passion for fine watchmaking has truly blossomed into a bastion of excellence in luxury watch retail, affirming Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons as the dazzling pride of Dubai and the UAE.
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From the Shop
|Manual winding Sellita caliber AMT5100, with rose gold plating and custom bridge for Furlan Marri; 58-hour power reserve; heated blued steel screws
|Hours, minutes, small seconds and flyback chronograph
|38mm (46mm from lug to lug); stainless steel with olive-shaped pushers for Honey Blue flyback, Taupe flyback and Tasti Tondi pushers for Salmon flyback; water resistant to 50m
|Taupe, blue, or two-tone salmon and black (Revolution edition); double printed text with pulsations scale, polished applied indexes
|Italian leather with quick release system
|270 pieces per reference + 30 collector boxes (including one of each references) in addition.