Dubai Watch Week’s Director Melika Yazdjerdi tells Revolution about taking the Dubai Watch Week Horology Forum out of Dubai for the first time.
Horological maven Melika Yazdjerdi is on a mission to inspire passion for watchmaking. Having joined Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the Middle East’s biggest watch retailer, in 2009, she oversaw the first GPHG exhibition in the Middle East and the launch of Dubai Watch Week in 2015. Within the Dubai Watch Week, the Horology Forum has proven to fuel fierce debate, fan passions and get the watch community in a horological lather, as it brings together panels and audience members comprising watch curators, authors, experts, collectors, brands and industry professionals. Allowing free dialogue between a broad spectrum of watch industry voices, Dubai’s Horology Forum left its home for the first time this month, decamping to Christie’s London historical headquarters for two days of watch talk with the industry’s leading protagonists.
Dubai Watch Week Director Melika Yazdjerdi with (from left to right) Christie’s Head of Watches John Reardon, Vice President of Seddiqi Holding Abdul Hamied Seddiqi; Chief Commercial Officer at Seddiqi Holding Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi and Christie’s Middle East Watch Specialist Remy Julia.
Why did you decide to bring the Horology Forum to London?
First and foremost it’s the first time we’ve done anything internationally – so it’s a historical day in a historical building! The passion and drive behind the Seddiqi legacy in the Middle East is looking towards a global audience and to bring everyone in the watch industry together. We wanted to say that if people can’t come to us in Dubai, we can come to them. London was always the first choice of venue for the Horology Forum because Great Britain has such a strong legacy of watchmaking. We wanted everyone to discover the incredible British talents that existed in the past and that exist today. Dubai Watch Week will still always take place in Dubai, though!
Is there a main theme to this Horology Forum?
This event was created around the British horological legacy. We had a lot of British watchmakers and historians on the panel and we wanted to explore that British influence and topics that have never been discussed before. It’s really important to raise awareness to our audience in the Middle East that the legacy of watchmaking started in Great Britain. People like George Daniels made an incredible contribution to watchmaking.
With a lot of discussion about the changing role of watch fairs, do you think non-commercial events such as this are becoming more important, even as alternative spaces where the industry can get away from their work benches to network?
The industry needs to evolve; what was relevant 50 years ago or even five is not necessarily so today. Demographics change, audiences change. People have access to continuous, fast information and we need to keep up, whether you’re a trade show or a niche brand. There is a genuine desire for information and exchange of ideas and we wanted to make that happen by bringing a group of people together to exchange ideas without barriers or restrictions. Everyone at the Horology Forum and Dubai Watch Week has access to each other. It isn’t so common for journalists to talk to watch collectors, for example. But we wanted to make that happen, because if they’re talking to the target audience and the brands, they see both sides of the story. Everyone contributes to the conversation.