The Dubai International Boat Show is increasingly becoming a globally recognised venue that attracts connoisseurs from across the world. The high-end Italian watchmaker, Officine Panerai, as a supporting Partner, sponsoring the VIP entrance and the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge, relishes the limelight
Cosmopolitan Dubai, exuding an air of modernity and affluence, enjoys a global reputation as a destination for showcasing luxury goods. As if to prove it, the recently concluded Dubai International Boat Show 2012 turned out to be a great draw, despite the financial concerns that continue to cloud the economic scene all over the world.
With a heritage that is deeply-entrenched in marine traditions and culture the high-end Italian watchmaker, Officine Panerai, was in the forefront of the Boat Show as a supporting Partner, sponsoring the VIP entrance. Additionally, since 2005 Panerai has also been sponsoring the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge, the international circuit of regattas reserved for Classic and Vintage sailing boats.
The Panerai lounge at the Boat Show offers connoisseurs an exclusive exhibition of Panerai watches, including some rare and sought-after novelties. Milvin George, the Managing Director of Panerai, was in attendance and Gulf Connoisseur had the opportunity to exchange views with him on the business situation.
Milvin says “We have been making watches for the Italian Navy since 1936. This explains the strong link between Panerai and the sea and our collaboration with the Dubai Boat Show for several years. There’s a lot of synergy between people who make watches and people who make yachts.” He adds, “This is a venue where we get to meet customers who are mariners – people in love with the sea. Over 5000 of our clients come here to enjoy exclusive previews of our novelties, which retailers will receive only much later.”
Business always seems to be good for Panerai, irrespective of whatever downturn we speak about: “For Panerai 2011 was a very good year. The UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are key markets for us in GCC. We have good retailers here with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and are opening boutiques in Jeddah, Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi.” He adds, “The Chinese market is booming and we are doing extremely well in India too.”
We mention the premium pricing for the brand and he affirms that “Panerai has always produced far less watches than the demand to ensure exclusivity. We are a technical sports brand. Our watch is a status symbol. As a part of the Richemont Group, we operate in a niche segment. Each Panerai watch has an identity.”
Indeed the Panerai identity is derived from its rich heritage of technological innovations that have given the industry a range of iconic watches in classic shapes and styles.