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A mega watchmaking exhibition opens in Riyadh

A mega watchmaking exhibition opens in Riyadh

The Salon des Grandes Complications returns to Saudi Arabia for the second consecutive year

From established heavyweights like Vacheron Constantin, Franck Muller, Breitling and Blancpain to niche players like Czapek, Armand Nicolet and Quinting, they’ve all descended in Riyadh for a four-day prestigious watchmaking exhibition called the Salon des Grandes Complications.

The exhibition commenced yesterday at the Al Faisaliah Hotel and the watches will be on display until April 19th. This is the second year that the Salon des Grandes Complications has returned to Saudi Arabia, and this year it was decided to take the exhibition to two cities.

It first travelled to Jeddah last week, before returning to Riyadh where the inaugural exhibition took place last year.

The 2018 Riyadh exhibition was inaugurated by HRH Prince Sultan bin Saud bin Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Read: Why bespoke remains the ultimate luxury watch experience 

The Middle East is already seeing a flurry of activity in the luxury end of the watch business. Jaquet Droz recently opened its first boutique in Dubai. Rolex, on the other hand, will also be opening a new boutique in Dubai soon too.

Read: Jaquet Droz opens its first boutique in Dubai

The Salon des Grandes Complications was initially launched in the UAE in 2014. Last year it branched out into Saudi Arabia. There are a handful of other major global watch shows. These include the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) held every January in Geneva and also Baselworld which is held every March in Basel.

While the SIHH is primarily dominated by the Richemont brands, it is LVMH, Swatch Group and a number of independents that take centre stage at Baselworld.

Read: Inside Rolex’s Swiss manufacturing facilities 

The successful Dubai Watch Week has seen brands from both Baselworld and SIHH come together to exhibit in Dubai. However, it was announced this year that the Dubai Watch Week will not take place next year and will only return in 2020.

That makes the Salon des Grandes Complications all the more important for Swiss watchmakers looking to make serious inroads into the region. If you’ve missed the Saudi Arabian leg of the Salon des Grandes, there’s still hope. The UAE version of the Salon des Grandes Complications will take place from October 25-29 in Abu Dhabi. Mark your calendars.

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