INTERVIEW: Watch Closely Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chief Marketing & Communication Officer, Seddiqi Holdings
What led you to start Dubai Watch Week? When I started in the company in 2006, the first thing they did was take me on a three week trip to Geneva where I visited factory after factory. It really enriched my knowledge. Even though I grew up around watches, with my father in the business, it really fascinated me and I thought if it worked for me, it would work for everyone. So we started taking clients there and organising educational activities for them. But eventually we felt the need to go bigger, for the city and for the industry, and although we have a rich portfolio of brands, we wanted to include everyone. So, last year we got permission to use Dubai’s name with Watch Week and it’s been a huge success – everyone in the industry wants to come to Dubai.
Why are CEO’S and watchmakers interested in taking part? The feeling they have when they come, because it’s a non-commercial exhibition, is that it’s a very friendly environment. They get to talk on panels and listen to each other. They don’t get those opportunities when they are at SIHH or Baselworld trying to sell. We hear them discussing issues they all face in the industry, like the transmission of knowledge and the fake watch industry.
Before you came on board in 2006, Seddiqi & Sons didn’t have a dedicated marketing person. How have things changed? I started as an intern wanting to prove to them that they needed marketing and PR. Now we have a large team and do everything in-house – all the printed material, the collaterals you see, and the advertising. We also have a call centre, because as a retailer, after-sales is important.
How does it feel to work with family? I have a great support system. When I first joined, my cousins would sit with me in every meeting just to make me feel comfortable. They helped me a lot and I’m very blessed. But now sometimes they call me for advice. What are your thoughts on smartwatches? When they first started, a lot of watchmakers were angry and afraid they might replace traditional watches. But the person who wants a smartwatch is not the same person who wants a mechanical one. Now, you see that a lot of traditional watchmakers have introduced smartwatches into their product lines. But in my opinion, the technology will never take the place of real craftsmanship. Have you ever faced challenges as a woman in a male-dominated industry? No, not at all. There’s nothing that a man can do than a woman can’t. If you understand your job very well, you’ll gain everyone’s trust.
What watch are you currently wearing? A Richard Mille RM 07. I tend to go for men’s watches because of the movements, but thankfully brands are starting to do important movements for women as well.