Interview with Hassan Al-Akhras – The Arabwatchguide

What exactly is the arabwatchguide and who is the person behind it?

The Arabwatchguide is a blog that has started a year ago from Dubai, the city where I live and work, and it started by a young arab collector that has passion for watches, all kind, and is eager to create a community and network of watch lovers, experts, enthusiasts… that is the first in the Middle East Region and can project a proper image to the world of our community and the quality of collectors in the region

How many watches from swiss watchmakers do you own?

A little over 20 – well all my watches are from swiss manufacturers except for one brand Memorigin which is based in HongKong and has some pretty descent inhouse tourbillons that I admire.

What is your personal favorite watch in your collection?

It’s kind of hard to say I have one favorite as each watch in the collection has a certain sentimental value to me and also a different use – If I have to pick I would say I enjoy wearing my JLC Duometre A Quantieme Lunaire a lot.

Where do you see the future of collecting luxury watches in times where smart watches coming to the market with a lot of publicity?

Frankly, I don’t see the smart watches taking over the industry of luxury watches at all – eventhough I bought myself an apple watch, however , I would never wear it in replacement to a Patek for example – it has some fun and cool functional uses but if I have to, I ll just wear two watches each on one wrist. The real collectors and watch enthusiasts admire and enjoy history, heritage, manufacturing and craftsmanship of the watches, the movement, the casing… that cannot be offered by a smart watch.

Which manufacture has the best all-in-all concept in your eyes?

I admire a lot of different manufactures for the different expertise they have; I must say one strikes me as a fairly under-estimated one but with a lot of history, superb craftsmanship and stunning watches and that is Vacheron Constantin – you would think Patek, JLC or maybe even Lange & Sohne would probably be more at the forefront as they practically produce almost everything; however this manufacture has some exquisite watches ranging from monopusher chronos, perpetual calendars, stunning tourbillon and of course my all-time favorites métier d’art watches, fantastic movement finishing (even if sometimes they actually source the movements from JLC or the likes) – I have my eyes on this manufacture and expect it to rise up.

I saw that you get a Patek Philippe Worldtimer at an auction in Geneva. Why excatly you wanted this Patek?

I have always wanted a worldtimer, and to be frank with all the ones that are out there today, I think the Patek 5110G or the later versions of it are just stunning in every way – the dial is beautiful and intriguing, not complicated to operate, extremely powerful as it has the major 24 cities – for me this one is interesting because it has “Dubai” the later ones don’t have it anymore – White Gold is a material that I like as well and it gives a sense of class to the wearer of the watch. The size of the 5110G is perfect for my wrist as it is smaller than its successors and the comparable world timers from Vacheron and Lange Timezone

You are living in Dubai. What are the places to be?

Dubai is a very dynamic city with a lot to offer – so it depends on what you are aiming at and what your interest are and you will find probably find it: whether it is restaurants, art galleries, watch events, jewellery events…

How important is the Baselworld or the SIHH for you?

I enjoy both every much because you get up close and personal with all the brands and get to see their latest creations and discuss it live with their team – It is much more fun having one on ones and explore all novelties

You have already some Patek Philippes in your collection. What could be the next reference for your collection?

Probably a 5070 or an enamel dial

Have you any advices for a new watch collector?

I think for any watch collector, the journey is where the fun is, meaning don’t just rush into buying the most expensive watch out there to be seen as a collector, but build your collection gradually with passion and a sense of understanding or what you are collecting and why you are collecting them. There are many type of collectors out there, some like one brand, others focus on one complication, or want to have one of each brand out there… whatever ticks, find it and pursue it.