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LVMH moves to reassure visitors to its Watch Week in Dubai as tensions mount with Iran

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LVMH Watch Week, which takes place in Dubai, UAE, next week, will be proceeding as planned despite rising tensions in the Middle East following the killing of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on Friday.

The event brings together retail partners for Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot for the first major product announcements and strategy briefings of 2020.

It was moved to Dubai after SIHH, now renamed Watches and Wonders Geneva, moved from January to May.

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LVMH brands in recent years had launched collections from a boat moored on Lake Geneva alongside the exhibition in January but the move to May was viewed as too late in the calendar.

Jean-Christophe Babin, Bulgari CEO, who is hosting the LVMH Watch Week at the Bulgari Hotel in Dubai, has issued a statement saying that official travel advise has not changed since the assassination and last night’s retaliatory air strikes from Iran.

“Subsequent to the tensions between Iran and USA, some clients and media partners are concerned by our forthcoming LVMH Watch Week in Dubai as of next Monday. I have personally spoken with Swiss DFAE (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) having in mind that DFAE through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran represents US interests in Iran where the US have no diplomatic representation. At this stage DFAE has issued no security warning whatsoever for travelling to the UAE nor restrictions or special recommendations considering the situation is restricted to Iran and Iraq so far. They also remind us that a very large community of Iranian live in Dubai Deira making attacks on non military targets highly unlikely. In that context, and unless sudden deterioration of the context potentially impacting the security of our guests and staff, we confirm LVMH Watch Week [goes ahead]. Obviously [we are] closely monitoring the situation also with French and Italian Foreign affairs ministries,” Mr Babin’s statement says.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Rob Corder.

It would be unwise for any individual to add to or contradict expert advice from diplomats, but I can speak from personal experience about living in Dubai when conflicts erupt elsewhere in the Middle East, writes WatchPro editor Rob Corder.

I lived in the city in the aftermath of the first Gulf War that took place in 1991 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq and, short of a bit more chatter about geopolitics in the restaurants and bars, we all simply got on with life. The conflicts felt a very long way away and, we joked, who would attack Dubai when it is where most of the warring factions did their banking (and shopping for luxury watches).

Of course, anybody can be caught up in the fallout from global tensions at any time. But you are as likely to be unlucky in New York, London or Paris as you are in Dubai. You are certainly a great deal less likely to be mugged or run over by a bus in Dubai. It has almost no crime and nobody walks anywhere!

My advice: look forward to visiting Dubai. It is a wonderfully welcoming city and I guarantee when you are sitting at the Bulgari hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf with a sun-downer in hand, any conflict in Iraq will feel a very long way away.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder