DWW ponders the future of watchmaking

DWW ponders the future of watchmaking

Final panel of successful event

Editor: Faizal Dahlawia

Where does horology go from here and is modernity a threat?

In the final panel of Dubai Watch Week, the future of watchmaking is discussed in detail. The burning question is: Will timepieces have as much importance for future generations as it has today and what is being done to keep this appreciation alive?

Independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour suggests that we must embrace modernity without losing sight of what makes the industry special. "We have modern technology and we have to use it. But we still have to add something, an added value. This added value is what we need to teach the future generations to keep traditions and history alive."

He added, "When I restore watches, some 100 years old, I will be surprised and I admire what I see. I hope that the guys who repair my watches in 100 years time will appreciate what I have done."

Despite technological advances invading our lives, for instance connected watches, classic timepieces do have a place in the future. "In terms of keeping a mechanical watch, you can draw similar comparisons to the Japanese sword or 'katana'," said Giulio Papi, Director Audemars Piguet Renaud and Papi, before explaining, "It does not make sense to continue doing it because the army certainly does not use it. But they continue to produce these objects because people are fascinated by the know-how to produce these objects. It is proof that we need to continue to produce traditional objects."

The future of horology still burns bright. "The interest and knowledge is growing," said Dufour. "The watch culture is growing and during Dubai Watch Week, I was surprised at what people knew and the questions they ask. It's great! They are getting more attached to these timepieces."

On an industrial level, the watchmaking community are taking steps to ensure that the art is safeguarded. "There is a committee formed and there is a watchmaking school that sets a high standard," shared Papi. "This education has been approved by the different brands and this commission decides what the young watchmaker has to learn and to know exactly what brands need."

Horology will have its place in the future, but how much tradition and technology will be mixed, we will have to wait and see.

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