Rolex and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons Have Inaugurated a New Rolex Boutique in Dubai
Building on a long-standing partnership, Rolex and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons have inaugurated a new Rolex Boutique in Dubai. Located in the Fashion Avenue, the latest extension of The Dubai Mall − the largest shopping mall in the world by total area and home to more than 150 luxury brands − the boutique represents the epitome of modern retail luxury.
Opened on 30 April 2018, the three-level structure, the world’s largest Rolex Boutique, covers an unprecedented 850 square metres of retail space, including an area devoted to a total immersion into the world of Rolex − the Rolex Experience – which encapsulates the brand and its legacy in a truly exclusive and unique setting.
“We are honoured to partner with Rolex on this major endeavour that represents a landmark for our retail operation which, over half a century, has grown from a single shop in Souk Bur Dubai to more than 65 watch boutiques across the UAE, including five Rolex Boutiques and 12 points of sale in Dubai. The latest Rolex Boutique will showcase Rolex watches in spectacular surroundings,” said Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of Seddiqi Holding. “This collaboration marks an enduring relationship and our continued passion for the Rolex brand.”
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the Middle East’s leading retailer of luxury watches and jewellery, has been the Official Rolex Retailer in Dubai for almost 60 years. The late Ahmed Qasim Seddiqi, the company’s founder, was one of the first watch distributors in the Gulf region and he built a strong bond with Rolex over the past decades, based on mutual respect and common goals.
In commenting on the launch of the new store, Jean- Frédéric Dufour, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex SA, said: “This outstanding boutique offers a total Rolex experience. We are delighted to bring the history of the Rolex brand and its know- how together in this way in association with our long-time partner, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.
THE ROLEX BOUTIQUE
The Rolex Boutique was created with bespoke architectural and design components, custom-designed by the Rolex Interior Design department in Geneva to reflect the brand image with its hallmark colours, materials and architectural features. Inspired by the design of Rolex watches, the façade of the building echoes the iconic fluted bezel, with alternating transparent and opaque elements – bringing light into the boutique and a view of the exterior from the inside. In addition, design elements were inspired by the local aesthetic and culture, infused throughout the boutique.
Following is an overview of the store’s three levels:
Level 1 − the boutique
The ground level of the boutique maintains the tradition of Rolex Boutiques around the world, with sales counters and tables and the watch collections on display. A wide range of Rolex watches offers an array of the legendary timepieces to suit all tastes and requirements.
Of note, is the chandelier that extends all the way to the top of the mezzanine level. Specifically designed for the boutique, it is handcrafted in layers of coloured glass. The spectacular glass lighting installation, made by a Czech glass specialist, is inspired by the Cyclops lens on Rolex watches that features a date display and also has a magnifying effect. This is just one example of the many specially designed features present throughout the boutique.
Pillars made of bronze and noce travertine stone from Italy create an elegant and sequenced means of separating areas within the boutique. Wall panels with gold elements surround the room, reflecting in 3D the fluted bezel of a Rolex watch. In addition, careful attention has been given to the acoustics, to ensure the comfort of customers.
Level 2 – the mezzanine
The mezzanine level is visible from the ground floor and can be accessed by lift. This exclusive area boasts a dazzling decor with, for example, walls featuring leather trim and gold-leaf detailing, images inspired by the cut of a diamond, or Rolex crowns made of gold watch indexes and appliques.
Level 3 − The Rolex Experience
On the top floor of the boutique, an immersive experience, aptly named the Rolex Experience, enables visitors to discover all the facets of Rolex. This encounter with the Rolex universe begins as customers enter a dedicated lift located in the ground- floor showroom and, via the images on special digitized screens, are effectively transported from Dubai to Geneva on the upper level where the entire floor is dedicated to the discovery of the Rolex brand: its heritage, watches, manufacture, Testimonees, sponsorships and philanthropic activities. Here the story of the brand is told in its entirety for the first time in Dubai, in a remarkable setting. The Rolex Experience includes a screening room, an exhibition space, a reception area and a lounge.
In the screening room, a film entitled The epic of the Oyster, the watch that defies time and elements features the world and history of Rolex. The film carries the spectator into the Rolex sphere from the start of its story, when founder Hans Wilsdorf created the first waterproof wristwatch – the Oyster – along its journey to the very highest summits and the deepest part of the oceans, and onto the wrists of pioneers, artists, athletes and visionaries.
In contrast to the darkened screening room, a bright space surrounded by an extra- large replica of a Rolex Oyster bracelet presents exhibitions for viewers to delve deeper into the brand and to discover its most emblematic watches and activities. Exhibition panels, which are presented in the Oyster bracelet-link structure, will rotate every few months. To mark the Rolex Boutique opening, the Sea-Dweller exhibit will be on display during the coming months.
In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf invented the Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch. Since then, Rolex has played a pioneering role in the development of divers’ watches and been present in ocean exploration with models at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Deep, deeper, deepest− the three parts of the Sea-Dweller exhibition − explore the evolution of Rolex divers’ watches, from the Submariner to the Sea-Dweller and the Rolex Deepsea, and how they enabled and accompanied the development of deep-sea diving itself.
A lounge area, made of noble materials: marble tables, stone flooring, wood wall panelling, rich fabrics, silk carpets and leather sofas, creates an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere where customers can converse, enjoy refreshments and avail themselves of a library of books and magazines about Rolex, surrounded by Rolex- related objects.
To further immerse visitors in the brand and the essence of its home in Switzerland, six screens situated around the lounge show World of Rolex films. These films depict the four Rolex sites in Switzerland where the watches are created and assembled, providing a glimpse into the workshops and the magic behind the timepieces. The films also show Rolex’s sponsoring activities in exploration, sports, the arts and cinema.
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons
The first Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons shop was located in Bur Dubai. As business grew, the Ahmed Seddiqi & sons retail presence expanded from a single shop in Dubai’s souk to a formidable network of elegant stores.
Mr. Ahmed Qasim Seddiqi maintained his focus by offering quality Swiss watches to an array of clients, including royalty and politicians. He furthered the company’s growth through his exclusive franchise agreements with the world’s leading Swiss watch companies and he safeguarded the business by keeping Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons a tight-knit family operation.
The first franchise agreement was signed with Swiss watch brand, West End Watch Co. in 1949, after which the portfolio of brands expanded to include over 90% of the world’s luxury Swiss watch brands.
Today, the passion for luxury watches is deeply embedded into the ethos of the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons’ family.
What started as one man's passion over 60 years ago is today an empire that brings luxury and honesty to the hearts of watch collectors all over the world.