By Salma Awwad
Emirates is one of the top 10 markets, with sales up 36% since 2011
The value of Swiss watches imported into the UAE has risen 36 percent in the last three years, putting the emirates in the top ten of countries for the luxury accessories, official figures showed.
Cumulative 2013 figures released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry have ranked the UAE as the primary Middle Eastern country for the importation of Swiss timepieces.
The total value of Swiss watches into the UAE last year was 934.1 million Swiss Francs ($1.05bn), up a staggering 36 percent since 2011 and up 9 percent since 2012, reflecting the strengthening position of the UAE’s luxury retail market in 2013.
In 2013, Asia (including the Middle East category) accounted for 52 percent of global imports. Out of this, the Middle Eastern markets absorbed 9 percent of all imports, spread primarily across the UAE and followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
Commenting on the region’s watch industry Christophe Nicaise, CEO of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stated: “The bourgeoning luxury timepiece industry is just one example of Dubai’s credibility as a stable and progressive market, with growing demand from both market segments, namely residents and tourists.
“Simultaneously, we are also seeing an increase in demand from watch brands to enter the UAE market and having such significant volumes of Swiss timepieces being offered in the emirates is a source of great pride for us. It also demonstrates that the UAE is following through with the vision of its leaders and fast emerging as a leading and progressive nation, capable of offering some of the world’s most coveted items to even the most selective taste”.
In 2013, Dubai played host to the “Oscars of the Watch industry” the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) exhibition on its first ever stop in the Middle East.
Industry events such as the GPHG have positioned the UAE as an important international market as it continues to gain prominence and stature across the horological industry.