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Salon Des Grandes Complications Elates Watch Afficionados From The Region

The mega watchmaking exhibition is reflective of Saudi people’s blossoming interest in haute horology.

HRH Prince Sultan bin Saud bin Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Cutting the Ribbon

After the successful inauguration of Salon des Grandes Complications (SDGC) in Riyadh last year, the second edition of the watchmaking exhibition took place in the Saudi Arabian capital from 16-19 April. The event at the impressive Al Faisaliah Hotel came after the other four-day spell in Jeddah’s Hilton Hotel from April 9-12.

The haute horology exposition showcases mechanical watchmaking savoir-faire and celebrates watch culture in the Middle East, offering enthusiasts from across the region an illuminating and social platform. And after the Riyadh event was inaugurated by HRH Prince Sultan bin Saud bin Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, attendees were able to appreciate some of the most complicated and valuable timepieces, including various award-winning masterpieces.

Recognised heavyweights like Vacheron Constantin, Franck Muller, Breitling and Blancpain offered visitors a show-stopping display of craftsmanship, technical excellence and awe-inspiring innovation. Newcomers and niche companies like Czapek, Armand Nicolet and Quinting also wowed with their contributions.

Some of the highlights from the different brands include Breitling’s new pilot’s watch collection, the “Navitimer 8,” and Harry Winston’s “Histoire de Tourbillon 8.” The watch figures a two-biaxial tourbillon design, unified by a spherical differential and housed in a large white gold case dedicated entirely to the grand complication. Roger Dubuis’s “Limited Edition Aventador S” model, born out of an association with Lamborghini Squadra Corse and now available in Saudi Arabia, also made waves. Additionally, Fabergé presented a special edition “Visionnaire I” that features a flying tourbillon and 14-carat baguette-cut diamond bezel, while Vacheron Constantin’s “Overseas Dual Time” has a new mechanical self-winding movement that enables simultaneous reading of two time zones by means of coaxial hands. Quinting also presented a limited edition “Moonlight,” the first moon phase timepiece where the moon revolves around the earth, accurately showing its phases.

SDCG ran in tandem with the Kingdom’s Jewellery Salon once again, with the support of the Swiss Embassy in Saudi Arabia and Visa International. The exhibition was first launched in the UAE in 2014 and has taken place every year since then. It branched out to Saudi Arabia, which was named the 12th largest export market for Swiss watches by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in January, in 2017.  “With appreciation for and understanding of fine watchmaking growing in Saudi Arabia, Salon des Grandes Complications has become a focal point for the industry,” Jean Sfeir, Watch and Jewellery Division Manager, Abdullah Said Binzagr, said. “The population is young and enthusiastic, the retail market is one of the fastest growing in the world, and the number of watch devotees is on the rise.”

Alexander Schmiedt, Brand Director Middle East & India, Vacheron Constantin, confirmed SDCG is an important event for Swiss watch companies that want to make a mark in the region by saying: “The event stands to strengthen the Middle East’s positioning as a hub for fine watchmaking. It offers an ideal meeting point, a place to discuss, learn, and to become inspired by the uniqueness that is haute horology.”

The UAE leg of SDCG will take place from October 25-29 in Abu Dhabi.

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