Abdul Mohsen Behbehani, Director of the Behbehani Group, is better placed than most in the region to deliver an assessment of the current state of the watch sector both here and globally. The Behbehani Group’s collection of watch brands reads like the Who’s Who of the very best from the world of horology and features some of the world’s most desirable brands such as Cartier, Hublot, Korloff, Omega, Panerai. Far from a passive observer, Abdul Mohsen is actively involved in brand relationship and development. Who could be better to open our annual Watch Edition than him? 

How do you view the past two or three years with respect to the evolution of the watch sector? What are the headlines? The Swiss watch brands are exploring different approaches that will help them gain additional market share and new customers. For example, the introduction of Swiss-made smart watches, and an increase in examples of a new sector of limited edition watches – those linked through a special association with another brand or to a country. Importantly too, Swiss brands are introducing a new price entry point that is igniting new desires.

In terms of creativity, which recent models do you feel stand out as highlights? Earlier this year we visited Geneva for SIHH 2017; my personal highlights were:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time – The classic-looking dial hides a complicated tourbillon movement within a tourbillon.

IWC Da Vinci Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph – A gold-cased design that makes us precisely set the time to the very second.

Excalibur Spider Pirelli, Double Flying Tourbillon – Two watches that were developed in partnership with the legendary makers of high-performance tires, Pirelli.

Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon – A skeleton dial it houses an ambitious complication at 10 o’clock that gives the illusion of a tourbillon floating in space.

Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days 49mm – Developed the lightness and durability of its carbotech material to a high point. Limited to 50 pieces with a 5o year’s guarantee.

Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Pour Le Mérite – In my opinion this is the most complex watch of 2017

Ulysse Nardin Regatta – The patented chronograph of the new Regatta is optimised for sailing races and can be set from one to 10 minutes as a sweep countdown.

Piaget Altiplano 60 – In 2017 Piaget marks the true anniversary the watch celebrates: 60 years since Piaget released their 9P movement in 1957.

Where do you place the importance of so-called ‘smart watches’ in the future development of luxury watch brands?We believe that smart watches are attracting a lot of individuals who would otherwise have never thought of wearing a wristwatch. So, this will help the future of watchmaking and luxury watchmaking.

When you look at your brands, who is more successful combining contemporary relevance while maintaining traditions? All our brands add to our Group, each has a long history, traditions, and values. Moreover, we see different contemporary novelties from each brand every year. What do you see as the challenges that lay ahead for the watch industry globally and in the region?Globally, the challenges are the world economy and individual purchasing confidence. Our local challenges for the Group will always remain the same:

– providing the best service

– offering the right brands and the best collection

– having a different range of pieces to suit our loyal customers

How do you feel the region is placed to offer the industry security of future short- and medium-term growth? This can be identified by each brand; hence we try to follow the brand philosophy and objectives on the same.

And, specifically, what is the Behbehani Group currently engaged in with watch brands that should excite us for the future? We will have special Kuwait Limited Editions from specific brands as well as other activations with special collaborations.