Pricy timepieces on show in Dubai

Some of the world’s priciest watches are up for awards at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève this autumn.

But before the winners are announced, refined timepiece fans in Dubai will have a chance to see which contenders chime with their own tastes.

The finalists in 12 categories, from tourbillon to artistic crafts to ladies’ high-mechanical, are to be on public display from October 19 to 21 as part of the inaugural edition of Dubai Watch Week being held at DIFC Gate Village.

The watches will also be shown in Hong Kong and Seoul before the big event in Switzerland on October 29.

The panel of judges this year includes one quite surprising entrant: Eric Singer, drummer for the still-around rock band Kiss. When not wearing cat make-up, he is well-known as a watch nerd.

Singer and the 25 non-Kiss jurors will be busy indeed. While the long list of nominees encompasses 193 watches, there will still be about 72 finalists after the short list is announced in mid-September. (The exhibition in Dubai will include all the watches on the long list.)

One of the watches to watch is Audemars Piguet’s chronograph developed with the race-car driver Michael Schumacher. Stephen Pulvirent, who reviews watches for the Bloomberg news agency, said it was a lock to win its category.

Pulvirent wrote: “The Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 isn’t the most mechanically impressive chronograph, but it’s the watch from this field I’d most want to wear, followed by the Piaget Altiplano Chrono, which is razor-thin and incredibly made. The winner here, though, is an easy pick: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher. It’s one of the most flat-out impressive watches I’ve ever seen and a totally new vision of what a modern chronograph can be.”

The Laptimer has a list price of 226,800 Swiss francs (Dh850,180). Schumacher helped to come up with the idea for the watch before he suffered a head injury while skiing in December 2013. He left hospital last year and returned home. All reports indicate his recovery is a slow one.

* with agencies

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