Alfardan Jewellery recently hosted an intimate gathering for the Doha Watch Club, providing an opportunity for its members to engage, as well as share stories and experiences about their favourite timepieces.
The event held at Alfardan Jewellery inside The Pearl Island was highlighted by a surprise unveiling of the latest Ulysse Nardin collection, said director of retail operations Tarek Biour.
“Alfardan Jewellery hosted the event to engage with members of the Doha Watch Club, allowing them to discuss their passion for watches and share their favourite watch stories,” he said. “We aim to educate people and explore the idea that watches are more than just tools for telling time.”
“A watch is a statement: It’s a legacy, a memory, and it carries emotional attachment to the wearer,” Biour told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event.
“We appreciated the diversity of the club; anyone with a love for watches could join,” he added. “The club is open to growth and potential collaborations, aiming to bring all watch lovers together in one group.”
Gulf Times also sat down with the majority of the club’s founding members – Dr Abdulaziz al-Khanji, Nino Rahal, Dr Eddy Borges-Rey, and Jason Holland – who shared their passion for horology and a brief history of the club, as well as its aspirations.
Borges-Rey noted that another founding member, Ahmed Kobeissi, was instrumental in bringing together the core members of the club.
According to al-Khanji, what makes the Doha Watch Club unique in the country is the international nature of the club, which allows for a rich exchange of cultures.
He emphasised that the diverse perspectives presented in the club come from its multinational membership, thus bringing diverse points of view to every discussion or engagement.
Holland said that the club offers a unique opportunity for expats in Qatar to find a community and share common interests beyond horology and the love for different types of timepieces.
“The club provides an outlet away from work, offering a space to interact with people outside of the professional sphere,” he said. “Members can have a meal, a coffee, and engage in discussions about watches, sports, or any topic with people who share similar interests.”
Rahal pointed out that while members of the Doha Watch Club have different preferences, it accommodates collectors and enthusiasts with diverse tastes in watches.
Daily active discussions take place, primarily via a messaging platform, which is the main communication channel for the club, he added.
“The club is open to all kinds of watch brands and types. Members are always eager to learn about different watch movements, types, and brands,” Rahal said. “There are active discussions about microbrands, including their new releases and the value for money of their watches.”
“The Doha Watch Club fosters a non-judgmental environment where members are free to like any kind of watch,” he added. “Members occasionally share pictures of their watches, not to show off, but to share their passion. And this shared passion for watches is humble and varies in intensity and expense among members.”
“The club is inclusive and not limited to any specific type of watch or price range,” Rahal stated.
Borges-Rey said that the club has experienced exponential growth since its establishment two years ago, with the number of members reaching almost 60, surpassing the regular numbers in other clubs in Qatar.
“The club envisions itself as part of a collaborative landscape with other clubs, open to being part of the broader environment of watches and horology in the country, and welcoming initiatives and collaborations,” he added.
Al-Khanji said that the Doha Watch Club is anticipating a better presence during the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), which will be held from February 5-11 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
“This is the first time that the club is going to the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition as the Doha Watch Club,” Borges-Rey said. “The club has now built a good relationship with various watch brands.”
Rahal said one of the advantages of attending the DJWE is that the event provides easy access to various watch brands and showcases new novelties and models that might not be easily found in boutiques.
The event offers a hands-on experience where attendees can feel and see the watches, he said, emphasising that “buying a watch should be an experience”.
Aside from Ahmed Kobeissi, another Qatari, Saad al-Kuwari, is also considered a key figure who helped propel the Doha Watch Club to its current status, according to Borges-Rey.
Al-Kuwari lauded the club’s diverse membership, saying: “The group is not limited to locals but is a mix of expatriates and locals, reflecting the large percentage of expatriates in Qatar.”
“Qatar has a significant number of serious watch collectors, whom the group aims to bring together ... establishing the club is greatly aided by recognition from watch brands,” al-Kuwari said. “It’s crucial for the brands to acknowledge the club as a collective entity.”
“The Doha Watch Club is going through an exciting chapter, aiming to represent Qatar in the vast watch industry,” he added. “In recent years, the watch industry has grown significantly, with a 300% to 400% increase in people developing a love for watches.”
“This growth extends to watchmakers and manufacturers, and the market in Qatar has also seen a surge in interest, particularly during and after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic,” al-Kuwari said.
Related Story