Sales of luxury watches such as Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet and Tag Heuer are surging in the UAE.
Good times roll for luxury watch sales in UAE
Sales of luxury watches have continued to grow rapidly this year in the UAE as Chinese tourists flock to the country's malls in search of internationally recognised brands.
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, one of the Emirates' largest watch companies, has seen double digit growth in first five months of the year and aims to expand across the country in response to demand.
"The industry has witnessed a major increase in sales, people have shifted and are going back to the reassuring brands and ones that are well-known." said Christophe Nicaise, chief executive of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. "It's a bit like investors flight to gold and blue-chip companies after the financial crisis."
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has 50 stores across the UAE, representing brands such as Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet and Tag Heuer.
Mr Nicaise said that sales had been buoyed by tourism in the first five months of the year, with travellers from China and Eastern Europe among the highest spenders.
"They were here before, but they were just limited in their spending," he said.
According to a report released last week by Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the UAE saw growth of 81 per cent in the first quarter on the same period two years ago in 2009.
The report showed that the UAE has reached a sales value of 175,500,000 Swiss Francs in the first quarter, compared to the total global figure of 578,500,000 SF last year.