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The time-telling devices in the region have moved beyond style statements to pieces of art and of course, big business.
August 8, 2009 11:11 by Ehtesham Shahid
Unity in diversity. There are differences though in the way industry players describe the uniqueness of these markets and how they strategize to stay relevant. Angelo Bonati, the CEO of Officine Panerai, says the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is culturally alike, and hence his company can have a unified approach across the region. “This could be much more difficult in other regions of multi cultures and languages such as Europe,” he says.
Panerai, however, has its target cut out and reaches out to the 25-55 age group of locals and expatriates with high income. Bonati calls them “people who are well educated and travelled and seek high watch making and exclusivity”. Panerai arrived in the Middle East in 2002, and the brand, by the company’s own admission, operates in niche segment of the watch industry and desires to attract connoisseurs, collectors and mariners.
According to Foe Thomas Dotzek of Al Futtaim Watches & Jewellery, it is the large number of tourists, especially in the UAE, that gives the market a further boost. “The Gulf region is unique from a watch distribution perspective because you need to cater to many different nationalities, cultures and ethnicities. Because people in this region come from all over the world – particularly here in the UAE – you are catering to a vastly diverse market,” he says.