The new boutique 1915 is transforming the watch-shopping experience in Dubai by bringing 13 different fashion brands under one roof, adding renewed vitality to a well-established luxury brand.
The vibrant, techno-hub concept store was three years in the planning. Who are you targeting, and how?
Many people associated the brand only with expensive, luxury Swiss-made watches and didn't know we carried fashion brands with different price ranges. So we're targeting anyone who is looking for a nice watch that is not going to break the bank.
Consumers are smart; they know what's available in the market. This destination offers more choices, with prices ranging between Dh700 and Dh4,000. We also have accessories such as earrings, bracelets and rings, plus leather goods for men and women.
The shop breaks the traditional mould as well, not least by incorporating a "fashion bar" and doing away with a conventional window display. Why?
It's more friendly for everyone to walk in and find out the latest trends, colours and materials relating to watches and accessories. Our social media is also very active - we have iPads in-store and people can access our Facebook and Twitter pages and upload pictures of the watches they try on and ask for people's opinions. Our fans are involved and reply immediately.
Music is notably absent in your luxury watch boutiques, but 1915 has plenty of DJs, doesn't it?
Yes, we have actually let our fans help us choose the music. We have iPods placed around the place, playing music they have let us know they like, so the songs change all the time. We want people to feel like they are contributing to the identity of this brand.
Having been surrounded by timepieces since childhood, are you somewhat conditioned to notice people's watches when you first meet them?
Yes, for some reason it has become a natural thing. And it's not just the family - even the staff have become that way now. You can really tell a lot about a person's style from the watch they wear.
What does your watch say about you?
Today I'm wearing a watch from 1915 by Frédérique Constant. I'm very classical with my watches so this is an elegant one.
How many watches do you own?
Hmm, don't ask.
Are watches as important for Emirati ladies as they are for Emirati gentlemen?
I think for Emirati women, because of the traditional dress we wear, there's nothing that you can see more than our shoes, bags and jewellery. So watches have become important. The same applies to men because they don't have much more to accessorise with - apart from their watch, pen, shoes and car. So, you would rarely see an Emirati without a watch.
Named after the year the founder Ahmed Seddiqi was born, 1915 brings together 13 brands under the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons portfolio. The shop is now open in Dubai's Deira City Centre