Under the sunny Dubai sky and the arch of the DIFC Gate Building independent watch brands showcased their special pieces in a great atmosphere. The Brands’ Exhibition hall was bright with smiles and loud from the chit-chat while a number of astonishing models wandered from wrist to wrist. Below are a few great creations by independents.
Sunny side up
I believe that the weather highly influences the mood of the people – more than one would admit. The Middle Eastern winter, that I had the luck of enjoying for 4 years, has a magical effect on the mind. It is like a giant eraser that can make any tangled thought yarn disappear. The tamed sunshine mixed with the scents of the souq make you part of the chilled society that happily accepts the uncertainty of today and tomorrow. Gosh, I’ve been missing this for a while!
Such circumstances and a welcoming host may provide a pleasant surrounding for an event like this. Especially, because the Dubai Watch Week 2021 coincided with the Expo 2020 and therefore the vaccination program has operated in turbo-boost in the UAE in the past months. Having over 88% of the population fully vaccinated and the potential to mingle around on open-air terraces has resulted in a relaxed and happy horology get-together. People of the watchmaking world from the greyer winter hemisphere have already been looking forward to seeing colours again and mixing with collectors and watch fans from the Middle East.
And this is exactly what independents need at an event. The opportunity to hop out to the terrace with a known figure and be seen by others as he or she is trying on your piece, is extremely important in this world. Selfies and wrist shots are made – just checkout the #dubaiwatchweek hashtag. Their interest is a reference for others and curiosity is infectious.
‘This year’s Dubai Watch Week is different…We have visitors at our booth who come to see us specifically. They’ve heard about us, read about us, seen photos and videos on social media and now they are curious to see the pieces in metal. Previously, the interest for independents was the joy of a limited collectors. Today, we are experiencing the widening of this circle.’ – says one CEO.
Please find below a subjective selection of new models by independents we discovered at the Dubai Watch Week 2021.
De Bethune DB25QP
De Bethune brought a new colour edition of the Perpetual Calendar model to Dubai (beside the 7-piece limited edition ‘UAE Hawk For Ahmed Seddiqi Sons’ which commemorates the 50 years of the United Arab Emirates).
The DB25QP’s 44mm diameter and 11.1mm tick case is made of grade 5 titanium – despite the size, it is light and comfortable on the wrist, I tried it on with the olive green textile strap. The dial’s 12 hand-guilloché sectors and the numerals ring radiate in green this time – which slightly changes its colour depending on the light. The black steel evokes the depth of the darkest skies with rose gold stars and a palladium / black oxide zirconium spherical moon phase indicator in the sub-dial at 12 o’clock.
The tiny golden pastille is the leap year indicator of the QP. The date is just below while the day of the week at 9 o’clock and month at 3 o’clock in a small aperture. Inside is the 4Hz automatic DB2324 calibre with self-regulating double barrel system providing energy for 5 days.
The timepiece will be limited to a production of 10 pieces per year.
Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.4-3
Mr. Scheufele’s ‘passion-manufacture’ showed their initial FB1 model in a combination of a bead-blasted titanium case and a silver and blue toned dial. The novelty is called Chronometer FB 1.4-3 and only a single piece was made. (Similarly to the very funky Chronomètre FB 1.6-3, which Ferdinand Berthoud created for the Art in Time gallery in Monaco.)
Thanks to the metal, the entire timepiece weighs a mere 80g. The calibre FB-T.FC-2 is visible through the layers of sapphire – not only the case back but also the half-bridges are made of the hard transparent material. The complexity of the movement’s pillar-type architecture, the signature fuse-chain and the tourbillon are in strong contrast with the demure silver-blue front, dominated by the blue and extremely long and thin central hand. It is made of bronze and treated with blue CVD.
H. Moser & Cie. Heritage Bronze “Since 1882”
The Heritage collection of H. Moser & Cie ‘revisits the brand’s vast history to inspire new timepieces’. A bronze casted, Cyrillic scripted model was fashioned in Dubai with a decent 42mm size and a greyish-brownish Blackor fumé dial. Since the bronze changes over time, every piece will develop a unique patina.
The classical case and railroad chapter meets the playful gradient dial and the three-dimensional Globolight® ceramic numerals. The 50-piece limited edition is powered by H. Moser’s HMC 200 automatic movement, which provides high-precision timekeeping and a 72-hour power reserve.
The Heritage Bronze ‘Since 1828’ will be available exclusively online, on the sales platforms of H. Moser & Cie. and Seddiqi, partner of the brand and founder of the Dubai Watch Week.
MB&F x Bulgari – Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra
Sending an impulse to the hearts of UAE’s ladies in Dubai, MB&F introduced a jewellery timepiece co-created with Bulgari. The baseline of the collaboration was MB&F’s first timepiece dedicated to women from 2019, the Legacy Machine FlyingT – one of my big all time favourites.
By an ingenious structure, the watch presents its heart to the world, but its face to the wearer only. The dial is inclined at 50 degrees in a way that time becomes a direct message even if spectators cannot take their eyes off the dance of the 60-second flying tourbillon in the centre.
The collaboration between Bulgari and MB&F is started with many discussions (some of these even at the former edition of DWW) between Bulgari’s Product Creation Executive Director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, and MB&F’s Founder and Creative Director, Maximilian Büsser. As we heard the design process was surprisingly quick – the exuberant Mediterranean style and colours of Bulgari meet beautifully with the creative world of MB&F.
The two new editions wear the signature abundant extravagance of Bulgari, who reworked the case and hid the lugs under the body of the timepiece and surrounded the tower of the movement with coloured stones. These look as if floating in the icy sea of a diamond pave. 20 pieces were created in warm tones (rose gold case and matching gemstones) and 20 pieces with cooler hues (white gold and matching gemstones). The gems are tourmaline, tsavorite, amethyst, tanzanite, topaz and rubellite (the latter is featured only on the rose gold version), of course in the amazing Bulgari-like colour selection and quality.
The models saw Dubai (and reportedly their new owners) at a private event in the Bulgari Resort Dubai.
Marco Borraccino, co-founder, creative and managing director of Singer Reimagined, brought exciting novelties to Dubai. Track 1, his extremely legible chronograph built on Agenhor’s fantastic AgenGraphe 6361, won the Chronograph Watch prize at the GPHG 2018. With his new Flytrack Mr Borraccino decided to focus on the first 60 seconds only and pair the chronograph second hand with three important dial graduations in a collection of 3 timepiece versions: Tachymeter, Pulsometer and Telemeter.
The movement is a descendant of the former and is called the AG6364. Controlled by the pusher at 2 o’clock it offers a flyback & zero-reset function and a peripheral hour indication. Interestingly, the chrono hand operates as the sweeping time second hand until you press this pusher and it jumps to the zero position. Staying motionless, it starts running as the chronograph seconds when released. You can count any number of short time intervals by pressing, holding and releasing the pusher. When done, the seconds hand can be synchronised to the local time seconds with the same pusher. The Singer Flytrack is a very clever iteration around the same function and design principle.
Photo credits: De Bethune, Ferdinand Berthoud, H. Moser & Cie, MB&F, Singer Reimagined, Loupiosity.com
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