Page 108 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine VII

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S I M P LY A B U DH A B I
The company is fully committed to supporting Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, aiming to
transform Abu Dhabi into a global hub of commerce and luxury retail. We are therefore
looking at additional expansion opportunities to target the expected increase in local,
tourist and business visitors’ demands for a qualitative luxury retail experience.
Howmany boutiques do you envisage within the next five years for both
Al Manara and Seddiqi?
Location is key for both companies. We will always be in search of new venues and
opportunities that will fit our brands’ strategies. We always try to keep up with the growth
and vision of the UAE.
How important is Abu Dhabi to Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and Al Manara International
Jewellery in terms of consumer expenditure on luxury watches?
Abu Dhabi is becoming one of the most renowned cultural destinations in the region,
and that’s why we want to ensure that our customers experience the same level of service
as they would in any other capital in the world.
With the huge online growth within the luxury sector, can we anticipate
an e-commerce presence for Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and Al Manara
International Jewellery?
E-commerce has never been the main focus for either company, as this approach conflicts
with our agreements with the principal brands.
How important is the Asian market to you, especially with the influx of
tourists from China and India?
In the past few years we have seen an increase in the numbers of Chinese tourists, who
are very well aware of luxury products and what they want. As Abu Dhabi is a tourist
destination, it is very important for retailers to consider the needs of tourists coming into
the country, and to make sure that the product mix is satisfying both to local clients and
tourists.
Would Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons consider a flotation/IPO?
At the moment there are no plans for this. But no one knows what the future holds.
Luxury watches have a particular demographic, which tends to be a
more sophisticated and mature audience. What do you think can be
done to further interest the younger generations in luxury watch-
making?
The purchasing power in the Gulf region differs than those in Europe or Asia. It is very
common for teenagers or young adults to own a luxury Swiss watch. We have noticed in
past years that the awareness of our young buyers is on a par with our regular clients.
In order to attract the young potential buyers, we recently launched a new store concept
called 1915, which carries fashion and entry-level luxury watch brands. The environment
of the store is very young and dynamic, the collections are vast and up-to-date with
fashion, and furthermore, the service meets the standards of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and
Al Manara International Jewellery. Through this concept, we educate customers about
what they are buying and the functionality of their watch.
This educational aspect will help nourish a love of watches in our clients, and maybe in
the future direct them into appreciating watch-making more. It is hoped this will
eventually ignite their curiosity and drive them into exploring the high-end offerings of
watch making.
Are there any plans to expand into other regions/countries?
At the moment, our focus is the UAE.
What does the future hold for Al Manara International Jewellery?
The future looks promising in terms of expansion from a store location point of view –
with many new projects in the pipeline. We also have some very exciting additions to our
brand portfolio. Al Manara International Jewellery will undoubtedly be a market leader
in the years to come in Abu Dhabi.
Up Close and Personal
What was the first watch that you owned and do you still have it?
Yes – I still have the first watch I owned and it was a West End.
Did you purchase it yourself or was it a gift?
It was a gift from my late father, Ahmed Qasim Seddiqi.
In your opinion, what is the most impressive watch innovation brought
to market?
There are a few impressive innovations, but the ones I admire most are Patek Philippe’s
Skymoon Tourbillion; Greubel Forsey’s Invention piece #2, the Quadruple Tourbillion,
and Richard Mille’s RM56 in full sapphire.
What are your all-time five favourite watch brands?
Being in the business I’m in and having the passion I have for watches, it is difficult to
highlight just five watch brands, but there are a few which are dear to my heart and that
mean a lot to me because of the history our company has with them. They are: Rolex, Patek
Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Chopard and FP Journe.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
Travelling and fishing.
Favourite movie?
I don’t have time to watch movies. In my spare time I like to relax somewhere on a yacht,
peacefully.
Favourite book?
I recently received a very interesting coffee table book called Annual by Robert Greubel &
Stephen Forsey (2011-2012).
And finally, what do you think of our Simply Abu Dhabi publication?
I am delighted to see a lifestyle publication of this calibre emerging fromAbu Dhabi. It has
very interesting content, and the fact it has an on-line portal makes it easier to access for
everyone – especially frequent travellers like me.
Established in 1950, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is a family owned and run business
synonymous with exquisitely designed watches.
From its humble beginnings as a single store in Souk Bur Dubai, Ahmed Seddiqi
& Sons has thrived to become the largest retailer of Swiss Brand watches in the
Middle East. It now boasts an impressive portfolio of over 50 prestigious brands
across 52 locations in the UAE.
The Board of Directors and Executive Committee is comprised of the second,
third and fourth generation of the Seddiqi family. And the passion for luxury Swiss
watches is deeply embedded in Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons’ family.
Abdul Hamed Seddiqi with Philippe Stern Honorary President
and Thierry Stern President of Patek Philippe