Jean-Frédéric Dufour, chief executive of Rolex, is not a man who speaks to the media, but it is occasionally possible to get an insight into his thoughts and views by simple observation or speaking to those that work most closely with the watchmaker.
Dubai Watch Week provided a fascinating opportunity to get inside the corporate mind of the world’s most successful watch brand, particularly on the issue of the secondary market.
Watchbox, a business that is still viewed by many in Switzerland as a squalid second hand dealer more akin to Del Boy than Bucherer, was welcomed with open arms to Dubai Watch Week, an event organised by Rolex’s biggest authorised dealer in the Middle East, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.
The welcome was so warm, Watchbox and its video studio had one of the biggest spaces at the show; about the same size as Rolex, which also had a stand.
It was welcome because Watchbox is now a joint venture partner of Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons, and the two companies have just opened a substantial boutique together in the Dubai International Financial Centre (pictured top); the equivalent of the City of London or Wall Street in New York.
The joint venture is arguably the most significant sign that the venerable Swiss watch industry is ushering pre-owned watch retailers in from the cold since Richemont bought Watchfinder.
It is the largest, most respected primary luxury watch retailer in the Middle East, going into business with a second hand dealer.
It is like when Mercedes said second hand cars should be sold alongside new models from the forecourts of its authorised dealers.
About time too.
And what does Rolex think about Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons forging a JV with WatchBox?
“We discussed the idea with the CEO of Rolex at a much earlier stage and he welcomed it,” Mohammed Seddiqi, chief commercial office of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, told WatchPro today.
Plus Jean-Frédéric Dufour attended Dubai Watch Week, and was taken on a personal visit to see the WatchBox boutique in the Dubai International Financial Centre mall.