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Sheikh Dr Majid Al Qassimi THE SUMMER ESCAPE ISSUE

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HEAD OFFICE Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE, Tel: (+971) 4 4273000, Fax: (+971) 4 4282261, E-mail: DUBAI MEDIA CITY SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE Tel: (+971) 4 390 3550 Fax: (+971) 4 390 4845 ABU DHABI PO Box 43072, UAE, Tel: (+971) 2 6772005, Fax: (+971) 2 6770124, E-mail: LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

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E dito r’ s L etter Welcome to Emirates Man The Summer making in A Perfectionist’s Eye on page 36 Escape Issue. This is your guide to being in the and we learn the ropes in A Beginner’s Guide know. From grooming to tech we’ll ensure you’re to Collecting Vintage Rolex on page 24. ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest Laurent Dordet, CEO of La Montre Hermès gadgets. If you’re into watches, our resident tells us what it takes to construct timepieces watch geeks will deliver all the facts you need with integrity in Honest Watchmaking on to make the right investment, we interview the page 44 and Maximilian Büsser, Founder of guys making moves on a global high-end watchmaker MB&F and local scale and we’ll tell you rolls with the times in Forcing LOOK where the coolest places are to the Change on page 40. SMART, hang out. Welcome to the club. We get under the hood For the second issue of of the latest Lego X Porsche LIVE Emirates Man, we are exceptiocollaboration in A Stylish Build SMARTER. nally proud to welcome Sheikh on page 66, highlight the latest Dr Majid Al Qassimi who speaks must-have releases in The exclusively to us about his mission to generate Sneaker Edit on page 22 and collate the best a sustainable revolution in The Environmental fragrances designed for summer fun in Summer Visionary on page 62. Fresh on page 56. Discover the coolest kit you With an approach of excellence in business, can buy in The Boys Toys on page 10, the Giuseppe Cipriani discusses heritage, focus essentials for a modern man’s beauty regime and what it means to be at the helm of a in Well Groomed on page 14 and a rundown successful restaurant empire in The Family of some of the best watches you can currently Business on page 64. The Watch Addict roadinvest in, in About Time on page 26. tests a new favourite on page 13, Ashfields Style and substance are intrinsically Consultancies’ Co-Founder Hamdan Bin linked, Emirates Man delivers both. Humaid Al Hudaidi guides us in decision Look smart, live smarter.



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The Monitor

p.10 The Boys Toys – The cool kit you need

p.13 The Watch Addict

p.16 A Gentlemen’s Word

p.14 Well Groomed – The modern man’s regime

p.17 Monitor News


Fashion & Watches


p.18 The Edit – Tropical detail from Casablanca SS21 p.20 Real Sole – Summer Essentials from Hermès for SS21 p.22 The Sneaker Edit p.24 A beginner’s guide to collecting vintage Rolex

Fitness & Grooming

p.56 Summer Fresh – The best edit of fragrances

p.26 About Time – The incredible timepieces from Watches & Wonders 2021 p.36 A Perfectionist’s Eye p.40 Forcing the Change – Interview with Maximilian Büsser, Founder of highend watchmaker MB&F

p.58 Bio Hacking – Interview with the CEO of bioniq Vadim Fedotov

p.44 Honest Watchmaking – Interview with Laurent Dordet, the CEO of La Montre Hermès p.48 The Perfect Cut – Suited & Booted is the go-to for the coolest cuts p.52 The Signature – Emirati menswear

p.61 Beast Mode – Interview with Co-Founder & Manager of The Warehouse Gym

p.60 The Summer Body – A serious summer physique


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p.68 The Wolf of Dubai – Interview with Founder and CEO of W Motors p.74 The Driving Force – Interview with the Founder and Chairman of Vista Global p.76 The rise and rise of Saudi Arabia – Interview with John Pagano, the CEO of The Red Sea Development Company p.80 Private Access – Apple introduces the AirTag 62

p.62 The Environmental Visionary – Exclusive interview with Sheikh Dr Majid Al Qassimi

p.64 The Family Business – Exclusive interview with Giuseppe Cipriani p.66 A Stylish Build – Get under the hood of the LegoPorsche collaboration


p.88 The Pad – The coolest finds to add to the mancave



p.90 Summer Eats – Dubai’s five-star chefs share their hero dishes

p.82 The Record Breaker – World-renowned artist Sacha Jafri p.84 The Art Revolution – blockchain-backed NFT tokenised digital art series p.86 The Winning Mindset

p.92 The Beauty of Ceylon p.94 The Wanderlust


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5/30/21 10:15 AM


Sure, you spent a fortune on your Megablaster 5000X Max Wireless Audio System, but does it spark joy. Downsize with this

Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth Speaker that fits, and blends, snugly on your shelf. Olufsen are experts in sound, and it shows with the Beolit 20 which plays low frequencies at 37– 20.000Hz to create a wide bass range. The

Beolit 20 design incorporates a minimalist silhouette, a stylish grille and a simplified, barely-there suite of control buttons. Beolit 20 powerful portable Bluetooth speaker in Black Anthracite Dhs3,479 Bang & Olufsen

THE BOYS TOYS Cool kit you need



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You head out to your balcony in the evening only to be confronted by a heatwave. You retreat inside only to emerge 30 seconds later with an odd-looking gadget that would look at home in a modern art museum. Is that a Dyson Pure Cool Advanced Technology Tower? Why, yes it is. Dyson popularized bladeless fans and the newest Dyson Air Multiplier technology delivers over 290 litres per second of smooth, yet powerful airflow. Adjustable oscillation pivots from 45° to 350°, to help project purified air to everyone around. Pure Cool Technology Tower Dhs2,499 Dyson


You’ve frolicked, and you’ve got a tan to show for it. Now cool down with baristaworthy iced coffee thanks to the De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine. In-built grinding sensors deliver a consistent coffee brew with just the right amount of coffee. The La Specialista is perfect for iced lattes – you only have to place the cup and select

the style – flat or foam – and just wait until the desired result is reached. If your guests ask where you learnt to make such great java, tell them you took a bespoke coffeemaking course in Milan (in truth, you only learnt through videos on the De’Longhi website). Use phrases such as “undulating rolling hills”, “endless vistas” and “la dolce vita” to overcome any skepticism. La Specialista pump espresso coffee machine Dhs3,999 De’Longhi


Travel is hectic, if not impractical, this summer, in year two AC. Wrap your head around the next best thing and try to enjoy virtual reality sightseeing, in addition to VR gaming. We recommend the Oculus from Facebook here. The Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone VR device that delivers high-quality virtual reality experiences at a fair price. Its expansive library includes games, travel content from the likes of National Geographic, as well as live concerts, films, exclusive events and more. Quest 2 Advanced all-in-one virtual reality headset Dhs1,506 for 64GB Oculus


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Your workouts will probably have to move indoors in the summer, although you are free to flaunt the gains on Insta. Among the 20 or so exercise modes in the Fitbit Sense are indoor activities such as elliptical, kickboxing, spinning, stair climber and more. And the SmartTrack technology automatically recognises and records your exercises. Don’t take the watch off after your workout as Fitbit Sense is a health smartwatch and includes tools for stress management, sleep management, heart health, SpO2, skin temperature & more. Advanced health smart watch Dhs1,399 Fitbit Sense


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Summer is upon us and while others seek refuge indoors, you head out because, in tow, is the Sea-Doo SPARK. The Sea-Doo SPARK is an affordable, fuel-efficient and light watercraft with a reputation for easy maintenance. The jet ski is powered by a fuel-sipping Rotax 900 ACE - 60 hp engine, consuming just 7.34 litres of fuel per hour. If you prefer some more muscle, the higher-horsepower, fasteraccelerating Rotax 900 ACE - 90 hp uses 9 litres per hour, still below the industry standard. Available in 2 or 3 seat configurations, the Sea-Doo SPARK is built with lightweight and high-strength polytec hull material whose colour-in moulding makes it more scratch-resistant than fibreglass. SPARK3 up Dhs26,442 Sea-Doo


The Bose Frames Tenor jolted me from my auditory reality when I got my pair a year ago. These are sunglasses that also play music through your temples, essentially. The trick is Bose’s Open Ear Audio technology that allows you to discreetly listen to music while leaving you free to engage with the world around you with nothing in or on the ears. The latest Frames flaunt polarised lenses and better craftsmanship, with a light nylon frame. The rechargeable battery can play for more than five hours. There’s an inbuilt mic, that lets you take hands-free calls on the go. Bluetooth Audio sunglasses with Mic Dhs1,049 Bose Frames Tenor


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Tudor Royal 41mm; POA available at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons

The R o adtest: Tudo r R o y al A refined dress watch with a retro feel

Tudor has been making waves now for the last five years with their amazing value Rolex-esque sports stainless steel models at a time when you cannot get your hands on a Rolex. Tudor’s Black Bay and Pelagos offer incredible value for money with the benefit of a Rolex quality and build. Is Tudor now the Rolex of the 50s and the ultimate tool watch? So what happens when Tudor move towards a more refined and dressier type collection that’s perfect for the office? Enter the Tudor Royal 41 with a dressier, more retro feel. It immediately wears like a fine timepiece. It is not immediately recognisable as a Tudor, and will no doubt keep your colleagues guessing in the boardroom. At 41mm, the watch sits well and does not feel like a 41mm due to its perfect integration with the beautifully designed five-

link bracelet. It feels like an expensive piece of jewellery and it was enjoyable to wear for the week receiving lots of positive comments – mostly of people asking if it was a Rolex or AP, which is no bad thing. The watch we reviewed was the blue dial 41mm Day-Date, although the collection also boasts 38mm, 34mm and 28mm date and time editions. All come with self-winding movements and the most interesting and cost-effective thing to note is that Tudor has chosen not to go in-house and opted instead for the T603 Sellita base movement – which keeps the cost down considerably. The watch with a screw-down crown, also has a 38-hour power reserve. The most striking part of the timepiece is the notched bezel design on 316L steel with alternating cut grooves and a polished finish. The dial we reviewed boasted a beautiful blue sun-


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ray finish with applied Roman numerals. It features the day of the week at 12 o’clock (similar to the Rolex Day-Date) and the date at 3 o’clock, with a sapphire crystal on top of it. There is a diamond option with this model too, replacing the Roman numerals for hour markers. For me, the watch already feels like a premium men’s jewellery item, so I would not go for the extra bling. The legibility of the dial with the Roman numerals is spot on and just adds to the classic retro feel of the watch. All in all, I was sad to see the end of the week and even asked the PR if I could keep it for an extra few days – I was really enjoying the comfortable, expensive feel of this extremely well-priced watch with a retail price in the range of Dhs9,000. It ticks a lot of boxes and would be a great addition to any collection.


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WELL GROOMED The modern man’s regime


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3 in 1 Face Cream, 50ml Dhs348 THE GREY MEN’S SKINCARE available at MR PORTER; Protective Facial Lotion SPF25, 50ml Dhs180 Aesop; Day Cream SPF30, 90ml Dhs157 Anthony available at MR PORTER; Sunscreen Face Stick SPF50, 15g Dhs93 Salt & Stone available at MR PORTER; SPF15 Gel, 118ml Dhs99 Hampton Sun available at MR PORTER; Rain or Shine Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 50+, 60ml Dhs120 Jaxon Lane available at MR PORTER; Sun Drops SPF50, 30ml Dhs671 Dr Barbara Sturm; Lip Balm SPF30, 4.3g Dhs23 Salt & Stone available at MR PORTER; Perfume Oil – Vetiver 46, 30ml Dhs763 Le Labo available at MR PORTER


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A Gentlemanʼs W o rd Opinions on the prevailing state of affairs WORDS: ANDREW WINGROVE



The world really has gone nuts. No sooner did the UAE and Bahrain sign the Abraham Accords with Israel, signalling a more united and peaceful Middle East, when the news came in of a developing situation in Sheikh Jarrah, aggressive policing of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan and the ensuing chaos that followed. Hamas fired rockets in retaliation, which, sadly, only led to an even greater and more ferocious counterattack from Israel. The tragedy of it all is the human suffering and the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. The world cannot just stand by and watch this anymore.

Am I the only person who missed out on Bitcoin? This year we have seen the currency rise from $36,000 to $64,000, with some pundits predicting it will reach the dizzy heights of $100,000 in the near term. Well, what goes up must come down and so it has following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s change of mind. Once Musk announced that Tesla would no longer be accepting Bitcoins for its car purchases, the currency has dropped as investors moved their funds into less risk-sensitive assets such as gold. Adding to Bitcoin’s woes is China’s recent ban on financial institutions providing cryptocurrency services, forcing the value of arguably the world’s most popular cryptocurrency further south. There’s no doubting Musk’s influence, but be careful with your money as his extreme change of support could leave you behind – and seriously out of pocket.

ON COVID-19 The world forgot about Covid for a short time, yet it is still with us. India is suffering immensely with mutations adding to the growng number of cases – let’s pray the world answer their prayers for Oxygen and aid. It starkly puts it into context that as some countries whinge about not being able to go on holiday, others struggle for air to breathe. Some positive news has come from India though, where a study by The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi observed that 97.38 per cent of those vaccinated were indeed protected from Covid-19.


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Self-reflection is a great way of realising quite how lucky we are to be living in the UAE, the second-most vaccinated country in the world. It’s a country where we are able to live, move, breathe and enjoy life. As I write this, I am currently in my UK hotel quarantine on a trip to see my family. I have read a lot of FB groups complaining about how tough this is, but I have to say having food served each day, with 20 minutes of fresh air and walking, has been fine. As long as you have something to occupy your time, the quarantine period can be a wonderful time for some self-reflection. Tip: Make sure you have a laptop/iPad/PlayStation, and a few good books. As the adverts alone on UK TV will drive you nuts, it helps to make sure your Netflix account is set up which will allow you to enjoy the UK catalogue. Personally, I have re-introduced myself to the world of gaming, as this allows me to connect remotely with my kids. The terrible thing is that I now find myself playing when they are not online. I might petition Epic Games to do a Vets (over 45s) Fortnite tournament as I feel I am being killed far too often by a 12-year-old (and others who are sometimes even younger!). Word of warning to those considering travel whilst we are still deemed a Red List country. Take a book, and be prepared for 23 hours of transit. A good book, or movie, will see you through and it will be worth it in the end when you finally get to reunite with loved ones. I have a feeling that by the time I finish my quarantine, the UK will finally downgrade the UAE to the Green List – so hopefully you will not have to do the same as I have.

ON ENTERTAINMENT IN DUBAI Great news for the events and live entertainment industry as Dubai lifts its entertainment ban and allows concerts for those vaccinated. This is great news for the industry and performers in particular who have struggled to make ends meet as they have simply not been able to earn a living. So, I would urge everyone vaccinated to go out and support the local talent and the events industry as they have done well to survive this long already without an income, and they are here to entertain you.

PARTING SHOT Lastly, can anyone explain to me why my favourite coffee Nescafe Azera costs over Dhs60 in Spinneys and is Dhs15 in Sainsbury’s? Surely, four times the price is a bit excessive. I know what I am bringing back in my suitcase.


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The unrestrained

Smoky, unrestrained Cedarwood, mysterious Guaiac Wood and provocative Patchouli lead you to adventure this summer

T H E H E R O B U YS The summer staples

Libertine candle Dhs299 August&Piers

Walker rectangular-frame tortoiseshell acetate sunglasses Dhs2,785 Jacques Marie Mage

Linen Shirt Dhs854 Canali

GAME TIME Perfect for game time beachside. Frescobol Carioca is named after the bat and ball game played on the beaches of Brazil, so itʼs only fitting the brand issues its very own set. Each ‘Trancosoʼ bat is made from five pieces of off-cut wood, so no two are the same, and coated in resin for durability. These ones are etched with the labelʼs logo and have blush neoprene handles for grip.

Perin3 stretch lyocell and cotton-blend twill trousers Dhs562 Hugo Boss

Trancoso wooden beach bat and ball set Dhs761 Frescobol Carioca available at MR PORTER

Haston logo-debossed rubber flip flops Dhs225 Orlebar Brown


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50 Lake View shirt Dhs2,594 Casablanca x Browns


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Slim-Fit Linen Suit Trousers Dhs1,275 Boglioli available at MR PORTER

50 graphic-print Bermuda shorts Dhs2,417 Casablanca x Browns

Arizona EVA Sandals Dhs155 Birkenstock available at MR PORTER


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Tropical detail from Casablanca S21

Aviator-Style Gold-Tone Sunglasses Dhs1,388 Gucci

Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt Dhs476 Casablanca available at MR PORTER

Logo patch shorts Dhs1,133 Casablanca available at FARFETCH


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New Balance 327 “Casablanca” Dhs1,187 New Balance x Casablanca available at Stadium Goods


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REAL SOLE Summer Essentials from Hermès for SS21

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991 Back sneakers Dhs920 New Balance x Slam Jam


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Forum 84 Low Dhs479 adidas Originals available at Amongst Few

Speed 2.0 sneakers Dhs3,570 Balenciaga available at Level Shoes

Retro low leather sneakers Dhs1,676 Common Projects


THE SNEAKER EDIT An exceptional edit of the best in luxe sneakers

Fastlane sneaker Dhs 3,500 Louis Vuiton

997H sneakers Dhs400 New Balance available at Level Shoes

Blazer Low '77 suede trimmed leather sneakers Dhs365 Nike

Esplar suede-trimmed leather sneakers Dhs456 Veja

Low vulcanized sneakers in leather Dhs1,330 Off-White available at OUNASS

Men’s classic Dhs189 Reebok available at Sun & Sand Sports


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A b eg inner’ s g uide to c o l l ec ting v intag e R o l ex Remy Julia, Watch Specialist and Director, head of watches for the Middle East, India, Africa, and Russia at Christie’s breaks down the basics


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It is probably the slipperiest slope in the world of watch collecting but as most seasoned experts will tell you, collecting vintage Rolex timepieces can be an immensely rewarding experience – when done right. Yes, when done right. I will emphasize this bit again because this is a world that will present a lot of ambiguities to those willing to venture in. With that in mind, here are some pointers that will help you navigate this landscape. BUY THE SELLER FIRST Given that Rolex does not provide archives or even comment on their vintage models, it is important that you trust the seller because there are too many unscrupulous traders who will either sell you a fake or a watch with swapped parts. So do a little homework, and check store or website ratings and reviews. Open a conversation and make sure the seller is able to answer all your queries. If you are not comfortable with the information you have received from the seller, don’t venture any further. CONDITION IS EVERYTHING It’s a given that a Rolex GMT Ref 1675 from 1964 will carry more than a few scratches, unless it’s spent the last six decades in a bank safe. Having said that, always look to find a watch in the best condition you possibly can, even if it means you have to pay a premium. Don’t give in to the hype and buy a “hot ticket” watch at a low price and bad condition, you would rather spend your hard-earned money on a Rolex in excellent condition. Look for tell-tale signs on the lugs – rounded edges are a clear indication that the case has been polished. If a watch has a rotating bezel, check if it turns. The serrated edge of the bezel should feel sharp, the bracelet shouldn’t be jangly and loose either.

Remember to check if the dial and hands have been re-lumed (lume plots that have been reapplied). If you are worried about parts not being period-correct, find out the production year of the watch by checking the serial number engraved on the caseband between the lugs. There are databases on the internet against which you can check this serial number and determine the age of the watch. Seek the advice of experienced collectors and build relationships with specialists at auction houses whom you can turn to for guidance and advice. DON’T BE SCARED OF SERVICE PARTS Before we go any further, it is important to understand the definition of the term “original” in the context of the vintage Rolex. A watch is considered genuine or “original” if it still has all the original parts that it left the factory with. A watch is considered genuine if it still appears as it did in the product catalogue of the year of its launch. Vintage Rolex collectors are known to sometimes treat their watches like Lego components – often mixing up parts, it’s not uncommon to find vintage Rolex watches with swapped bezels and parts sourced from donor watches. And even if these are all genuine components, non-period-correct parts in a vintage watch will affect its resale value. However, it’s also important to know that Rolex often changed original parts – hands, bezels, dials etc. – when the watch was sent in for service. For example, in some markets, watches with radium lume plots were replaced with service dials made with tritium (a less radioactive luminescent material) in the mid1960s because of existing regulations. And although these “service” parts were still made by Rolex, collectors tend to disregard watches with service hands and dials. However, increasingly we will see the collecting community becoming more accepting of watches with service parts simply because it’s that much harder to find watches with all their original parts still intact. It’s also important to remember that service parts are sometimes inevitable in the lifecycle of a watch because these objects need to be serviced. It is part of the watch’s history and as long as it is communicated clearly, I don’t see this as a problem. GO BEYOND THE OBVIOUS Most vintage Rolex collectors tend to focus on the fan-favourites like Submariners, DayDates and Daytona’s. But if you look beyond these obvious options, there are some very exciting and rare references that are going to be extremely collectable in the future. An example is the Rolex Dato Compax, a triple calendar chronograph that remains the most


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“It’s a given that a Rolex GMT Ref 1675 from 1964 will carry more than a few scratches, unless it’s spent the last six decades in a bank safe.”

complicated wristwatch made by Rolex. At the recently concluded Watches Online: The Dubai Edit, a steel Dato Compax Ref 6036 in excellent condition sold for $350,000. In my opinion, this is a reference that can one day become as hotly traded as the “Paul Newman” Daytona. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT TO COLLECT Pick a reference or model that you like – for example a GMT reference from your year of birth – and learn as much as you can about this watch before you pull the trigger. I would always recommend investing in the right books that will inform you better before you actually buy these timepieces. Study the reference and follow auction results so that you understand why some examples command a higher price than others. Once you have your pulse on the market, you will feel a lot more confident about wading into these waters. 25

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Watches & Wonders 2021 concluded in April and

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we still aren’t over these incredible timepieces WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

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Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Titanium

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton

Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition 100

I n P erp etuity Perpetual calendars are meant to last more than a lifetime – or certainly beyond yours at least. One of the toughest mechanical complications to master, these watchmakers make telling the date accurately decades from now look effortless.


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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

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Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID PAM01225 EM_0621_P26-35_Watches.indd 30

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Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, Tribute to La Côte-aux-Fées

Chanel J12 Electro

Cartier Cloche De Cartier

U nc o m p l ic ated Tourbillons, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and chronographs are all marvellous horological complications. But sometimes, all you want your mechanical hero to do is simply tell the time. Few do it better than these horology majors.


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Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Chrono

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

Zenith Defy Extreme

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41

A rac e to the f inish When it comes to timing an event, there’s still an old-world charm of looking down at your wrist and activating the chrono counter on your timepiece – rather than crassly whipping out your smartphone and doing the same. A high-end mechanical chronograph is a mandatory timing tool within any watch collection. Gentlemen, to the starting line.


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Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref 5990/1R-001

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque

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Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem

Hermès Slim d’Hermès C’est la Fête Minute Repeater

Greubel Forsey GMT Sport

Tho se w ho dare Go bold, or go home. It’s a simple mantra that these manufacturers have embodied as they make avant-garde timepieces that never play safe. Skeletons, snakes and complex celestial charts are all par for the course. Who dares wins.


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A e e t n stʼs


Discerning watch collector Hamdan Bin Humaid Al Hudaidi is supporting luxury brands to break into the UAE. Along with Co-Founder Melika Yazdjerdi, Ashfields Consultancies, is set to become a revolutionary offering within the region WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

There are mortal Patek Philippe collectors and then there is Hamdan Bin Humaid Al Hudaidi. The Emirati watch collector who previously worked with the UAE government for 17 years, and has been collecting watches far longer than that, has accumulated what many believe is one of the region’s most stunning collections of Patek Philippe timepieces – specifically vintage Patek. “I collect modern and vintage Patek Philippe, but my favourite are unique vintage pieces that could either be one-off or one of very few pieces made. I do have unique pieces in my vintage Patek collection and one of them is the Ref 1491J CC chronograph in yellow gold,” says Al Hudaidi. He explains that although this was a time-only model, the Ref 1491J CC was a special one-off piece commissioned as a chronograph. “For Charles Stern to commission such a piece, the client must have been very important to the Stern family.” Charles, along with Jean, acquired the brand in 1932, and Patek Philippe is to this day a Stern-family-owned independent watchmaker. Al Hudaidi vividly remembers his very first luxury watch. A full set pink gold Omega Constellation with a champagne dial and on a bracelet. His interest in watches has led him down a rabbit hole in which he discovered an immense passion for horology. He was, however, particularly smitten by fine independent watchmakers and has accumulated an encyclopedic knowledge about them. Ask him to name a few of his favourites, and you’re more than likely to hear names that are only familiar among the most rarified orbits of collectors. It includes the likes of Frenchman Theo Auffret whose debut watch Tourbillon à Paris has received rave reviews; the 23-year-old Rèmy Cools who has showcased his Tourbillon Souscription with a domed sapphire glass; Jean Daniel Nicolas (Master Daniel Roth) and his Two-Minute Tourbillon; Atelier De Chronometrie Barcelona who Al Hudaidi singles out for its exceptional mastery over enamelling; and Neuchâtel-based Krayon which Al Hudaidi says employs elite craftsmanship in constructing timepieces.


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“Speaking about my [personal] collection of fine independent watchmaking, it includes a Series 1 in 38 mm by Roger W. Smith, a unique Double Impulse Chronometer by Charles Frodsham, Simplicity by Philippe Dufour, a unique Anywhere by Krayon, and a unique and the first Eastern Arabic numerals done by Greubel Forsey on a Signature1,” says Al Hudaidi. It’s worth noting here that these watches in his collection are worth significant amounts. Consider that a Simplicity from Philippe Dufour auctioned for CHF1.36m in November, while a Signature 1 from Greubel Forsey starts from around $170,000. To anyone willing and interested in collecting timepieces, Al Hudaidi has some sound advice. “Make sure you collect, not accumulate. Collecting is an art. Never compromise on quality, read, ask if you need more information. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask – that is what we are here for.” Ashfields Consultancies was founded in Dubai by Al Hudaidi in July last year as a luxury consultancy. “It is the first horology consultancy in the Middle East which advises not only collectors, but also corporates to help diagnose their problems and help position or reposition them both regionally and internationally,” says Al Hudaidi who apart from being the founder of Ashfields is also its chief executive. After a 17-year career in the UAE government, where he was most recently the director of procurement, marketing and foreign contracts at Sharjah Seaports & Customs, Al Hudaidi resigned from his position in February this year to work on Ashfields full-time. He’s joined by Ashfields’ co-founder and chief strategist Melika Yazdjerdi, who spent 12 years at Seddiqi, most recently as its senior marketing and communications director. Apart from directly advising customers and building a watch com-

“Make sure you collect, not accumulate. Collecting is an art.” WATC H E S

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munity here in the region, Al Hudaidi and Yazdjerdi are also advising brands on strategies to break into the market and are delivering incisive insights into the mindsets of the luxury audience within the UAE. Ashfields is not just a horology-focused consultancy, but has expanded its reach to other verticals as well. “Ashfields does strategy and experiences – B2B and B2C. We do that for the watch industry, but we also advise clients from the larger luxury sector, for example, from the leather industry. We’re not just limited to product-related industries, we’re also advising clients in the F&B and hospitality sector, those who want to set up restaurants or offices here,” says Al Hudaidi. Apart from the consultancy side of the business, the duo has recently opened Perpétuel Gallery, an offshoot of Ashfields, as a by-appointment space within DIFC where some of the creations by independent watchmakers are available. “All the products that are sold at Perpétuel will always be exclusive collaborations with Perpétuel. We launched Perpétuel with a Baltic collaboration, a strategic decision where we wanted to focus on a product that was accessible to a lot of people because [many] have the misconception that exclusive, collectable and limited editions have to be super expensive,” says Al Hudaidi. Perpétuel also serves an additional purpose of better understanding the clients that Ashfields communicates with. “You hear the terminology ‘customisation’, ‘bespoke’ and ‘tailor-made’ from a lot of people in the luxury sector. But there are very few of them that actually understand and apply that. How can you bespoke or customise something to my needs when you don’t even know who I am? That’s the point that we’re trying to focus on at Ashfields, to know every single individual that is coming through the door.” The brands that are available at Perpétuel include Krayon, Hoffman, Atelier de Chronométrie and Théo Auffret, among others. “One of the most important projects we got involved with this year is a watchmaker called Luca Soprana who has got the rights to reproduce Derek Pratt watches. The entire allocation for those watches has been granted to us for the next five years. Any watch produced over the course of that period, will be sold exclusively at Perpétuel. “Apart from independent watchmakers, the gallery will also showcase vintage timepieces as well as other products such as those from luxury leather brand Charles Simon. We have another collaboration coming up with Charles Simon, for a product that is being exclusively created [for Perpétuel],” notes Al Hudaidi. Apart from these special-edition watches and leather goods, Perpétuel will also feature select vintage watches. “We have an amazing collection of rare and exceptional vintage pieces, such as Patek Philippe, certain important references from vintage Rolex, and fine vintage brands that occupy historic important movements,” says Al Hudaidi, while adding, “We will be happy to receive, buy, or consign pieces from collectors, if the pieces meet our required set of standard and quality.” Apart from Perpétuel, Ashfields is invested in the idea of refining and curating a base of connoisseurs in the region that will become a powerful client base for niche brands entering the region. The duo will launch Ashfields Experiences later this year. It will involve

taking groups of no more than 10 clients for a trip to an international location where they will be treated to curated experiences that money can’t buy. “We’re doing our first one in Milos in September. We have trips planned for Budapest, Scandinavia, Italy, the UK and Isle of Man. Our UK trip starts with us arriving in London, where the clients meet different individuals whether they’re artists or chefs, or watchmakers as well as other collectors. We’re mixing collectors from here and around the world, to share their knowledge and information, and to allow them to learn something and walk away with data and information with which they can make informed decisions,” says Al Hudaidi of these by-invitation-only trips. With Ashfields Consultancies, Al Hudaidi and Yazdjerdi are determined to provide a luxury consultancy that operates differently compared to any other currently within the region. “Unlike a traditional consultancy which wants to make sure that they’re constantly and permanently on a brand’s retainer, that’s not what we want to do. We want to give brands the confidence and the strength to stand on their own feet and manage their businesses on their own. A lot of times, when you look at advising brands and businesses, consulting, you always try to fix the problem without finding the root cause of the issue. For us, we want to find out what the issue is, and diagnose rather than [only] find a cure,” explains Yazdjerdi. Al Hudaidi adds, “We are here to link the wants and needs of collectors with brands and executors, making it a win-win situation.” Ashfields is triggering that winning formula, one brand and client at a time.

“We are here to link the wants and needs of collectors with brands and executors, making it a win-win situation.” WATC H E S

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Clinique Valmont, Glion, Lake Geneva Region, © NIco Schärer

My doctor prescribed Switzerland.

With its stunning scenery and high level of safety, Switzerland is a favourite with travellers. But first-rate hospitals and clinics also make it a an exclusive health destination offering excellent medical expertise in luxurious surroundings.

F o rc ing the c hang e

Maximilian Büsser is the founder of fiercely independent Swiss high-end watchmaker MB&F where wild innovation is merely routine


Crazy comes easy to Maximilian Büsser. There’s a good reason as to why he’s – affectionately, admirably and enviably too in equal parts – referred to as Mad Max among his peers. If you’re looking for the story of an independent watchmaker who has strayed as far as it possibly could from convention, and then found the audacity to push just a bit further, you’ve effectively scripted the narrative of the 16-year-old Swiss manufacturer MB&F. In 1998, at the age of 31, Büsser who had already cut his teeth at Jaeger-LeCoultre, was appointed as the CEO of Harry Winston Timepieces. The flip side? The division was on the edge of bankruptcy, with his appointment being a lastditch and desperate attempt to save it. He went on a turnaround rampage, changing suppliers, dealers, bringing out products including the now legendary Opus series – and getting a few friends – among them the Seddiqi family in Dubai – to back his vision for the brand that was a write-off among many other top retailers around the world at the time. The strategy paid off and he increased revenues at Harry Winston’s Timepieces from $8 million in 2000 to $80 million in 2005. Working within the confines of a corporate structure that stifled not only agile businessmaking decisions, but also his creativity, meant that by 2005, Büsser was left vexed within an industry in which he had proven to be immensely successful, though not entirely content. “The perception in those years was that [the industry] had never been as little creative as before. Before, when it had no money, it was way more creative than when it had a lot of it. So, it was with a lot of anger that I set on this crazy journey of doing my own thing. It wasn’t about changing the industry. It was about being proud of what I’m doing,” Büsser tells Emirates Man. That pride project was him setting up his very own company, MB&F, with the F standing for “Friends” who would become co-collaborators like Kari Voutilainen and Eric Giroud. He poured all his life’s savings – around Dhs3 million – into it, and was the only employee within his company


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for two-and-a-half years while he operated out of his apartment. One of those people who backed his fledgeling venture back then was the Seddiqi family. “I met Abdulmajied Seddiqi 23 years ago when I took over Harry Winston. And he was one of the few people who helped me save Harry Winston. Seven years later I come with my drawings of my first MB&F and ask him if he’s ready to not only order, but actually give me a little bit of money in advance, he was one of the six people [around the world] who said, ‘You’re nuts, but okay.’ ” Fast forward to the present, and MB&F is now a company with 31 employees and a dream financial spreadsheet. “Our revenue this year should be around Dhs80 million. We have never made a loss. We have no debt. We have no shareholders.” MB&F manufactures around 200-220 timepieces a year, crafted within its workshops in Geneva. While you’d assume that the watches MB&F creates, which sell for an average of Dhs300,000 a piece, would have – like many of its fellow high-end brands – faced a drastic decline in demand over the past year due to the Covid crisis, the contrary has proved to be the case. Pre-Covid, he says, he would be happy to have an order-to-delivery ratio of 1.5:1, that is for the workshop to accept 50 per cent more orders from retailers than it could produce. Over the last year however, that ratio has rocketed to a staggering 4:1 – retailers are ordering four times more than what can be manufactured. “At the beginning of last year when Covid hit, I was expecting to do a minus 50 per cent, which seemed reasonable in March last year and [I thought] we’re going to make Dhs10-12 million loss, which we could have weathered because I’ve left all the profits of the company in the company. “And in June I realised, it was actually better than business as usual. Even though 90 per cent of our retailers were closed because of the Covid measures, we ended the year at plus 30 per cent in sellout.” He says that revenues were down 14 per cent, not for lack of demand, but because production couldn’t keep up due to the lockdowns and the problems that some of its suppliers faced as a result of it.


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“We have come out with 15 new movements in 10 years. There is nobody in this industry who have done even a quarter of that in 10 years.”

“So [although] we produced fewer pieces, the sales at our retailers went much higher. All the inventory at the retailers disappeared.” There are four main families of products within the MB&F brand: Horological Machines, Legacy Machines, Performance Art, and Co-creations by MB&F. “Horological Machines are my 3D kinetic art pieces, and are the foundation of what we believe in and what MB&F is all about. I deconstruct traditional watchmaking and reconstruct it into 3D art pieces.” With watches whose inspiration come from bulldogs and frogs to spaceships and jet engines, the designs of the Horological Machines are outlandishly imaginative. “[Whereas] Horological Machines are my autobiography and my psychotherapy, Legacy Machines are my way of saying ‘Thank You’ and giving tributes to the great master watchmakers of the 18th- and 19thcentury.” Performance Art are pieces whereby he gives one of his creations to another designer and lets them have a go at it. “I give some of my pieces to artists, creators, designers, and watchmakers I admire and tell them to do whatever they want to transform it. And so, these are artistic experimentations.” The last category of products the Cocreations by MB&F wherein Büsser acts as a creative consultant to brands including L’Epee, one of the world’s oldest high-end clockmakers, Reuge which is among the only high-end music box manufacturers, and luxury pen manufacturer Caran d’Ache. “These are products that they sell, we don’t sell them. I just design it,” he explains. Büsser’s most recent creation however


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is the LMX – the tenth-anniversary edition of the Legacy Machine, a collection which is now easily recognisable due to the balance wheel flying over the dial. The first LM back in 2011, was the beginning of his obsession with balance wheels. “I am crazy about balance wheels and escapements, and 99 per cent of the time in watches they’re hidden in the movement on the back where you can’t see it.” With his friend Eric Giroud, he set about sketching a watch that has a cylinder incorporating the balance wheel, another cylinder with hour minute and still another cylinder with the power reserve. After months of agonizing over the outcome, the duo finally settled on the idea of putting two pocket watch dials, and a flying balance wheel on top of the dials. That’s how LM 1, with the world’s first vertical power reserve indicator, was born in 2011. The radical design of the LM meant that along with Voutilainen, Büsser has had to develop new calibres almost every time a new edition of the Legacy Machine came out. It has resulted in the creation of several horological firsts including the first gyrating power reserve indicator, the first split escapement, and the fastest and largest TriAx gyrating escapement. There have been seven calibres in the last 10 years, with the eight new calibres debuting in the LMX released earlier this year. The LMX features a 13.4mm balance wheel – nearly three times as large as those you’d find on typical mechanical watches – floating above the dial. It has independent dual time zones, with the two time zones displayed off dials that are

tilted requiring energy to transfer from the horizontal to the vertical planes, made possible due to MB&F’s mastery over conical gear systems. It also boasts of a seven-day power reserve. “We hope to be able to craft 25 units of this watch a year. The initial launch edition is 18 in red gold, and 33 in titanium which is a total of 51 pieces. That means it will take two years to deliver these watches.” In a bid to ensure even more exclusivity – and also availability – of all its watches among its retailers, Büsser has made a conscious decision to cut four of its 28 retailers in the last couple of months alone, and has plans to axe still more so that inventory can be distributed more effectively. E-commerce meanwhile has taken off in a big way for MB&F over the past year. “By the end of the year [we sold] two Dhs600,000 watches, and one Dhs500,000 watch online – all to customers we had never met and who had never bought an MB&F before.” The 54-year-old Büsser is already planning on calibres that will appear in 2026 and says that he’s preparing to showcase another all-new calibre later this year. When asked if he will remain an independent watchmaker, he adds, “We have eight calibres on the Legacy Machines and seven calibres on the Horological Machines. We have come out with 15 new movements in 10 years. There is nobody in this industry – even those with 50 or 100 times our revenue – who have done even a quarter of that in 10 years. So being free, is being free to create, and I don’t see why we should change that.” It’s impossible to counter that conviction.


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Hermès has notched up a reputation for itself as a serious Swiss horologist. The new H08 sports-inspired men’s collection further seals that reputation WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

H o nest w atc hm ak ing Watches were never quite a core competency at Hermès, instead has a pedigreed history in leather and silk. In fact, horology only came up in a dedicated manner on the radar of this 184-year-old Parisian fashion major around four decades ago (it’s worth noting here that first watches under the Hermès brand date back to 1928, although right until the Seventies it occupied a very small part of its operations). Looking at current creations though such as the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune collection with a dual moon phase indicator and meteorite dials, or its ultra-dressy Slim d’Hermès and also the Cape Cod or Nantucket collection for women, you’d be tempted to imagine that its horology division is as, if not more, mature than full-fledged watchmakers who have been around for centuries. Heading its watch business is Laurent Dordet, the CEO of Hermès Horloger, who joined the métier in 1995 and worked across its other verticals before taking over the horology division in 2015. “It is not the same company that I knew when I joined 25 years ago,” Dordet tells Emirates Man of how the company has evolved during his tenure. “Within 25 years, it has multiplied by 12 in terms of the number of people, turnover, and of course, the profit and share price. But the brand has


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always focused on quality, craftsmanship, know-how, creativity and authenticity.” Hermès properly broke out on the horology world stage back in 1978 when the La Montre Hermès subsidiary was established and began operating out of a production facility in Biel, Switzerland. It was then that Hermès also began to formally organise the international distribution of its Swissmade watches. Transitioning from more fashion-driven timepieces such as the Cape Cod and Medor, 2011 marked a milestone moment for its men’s high-horology collection with the introduction of the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu which even bagged the prize for the Best Men’s Watch at the Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Genève, otherwise known as the Oscars of the watchmaking world. Today, Hermès’ watch business is a force to be reckoned with. “The watch division completed around EUR200m in sales last year. We manufacture around 50,000 watches every year at an average price of $5,000-$6,000. The contribution of watches to Hermès’ overall business is around 3 per cent, quite small when you consider that the leather goods is around 50 per cent. But the contribution of watches also differs from 1.5 per cent in some regions up to 7 per cent in others.”

Historically, Dordet explains, there have been three primary markets for Hermès watches over the last 43 years – France, Japan and the US. But countries in Asia and other parts of the world have quickly shown that they too have an insatiable appetite for its creations. “China became the number one market for us two years ago. Asia, with countries including Korea and Singapore, has become the leading continent for us.” A country where it still has untapped potential is the US. Although the brand’s timepieces have been present there for over four decades, it’s still hard at work establishing its legitimacy as a proper watchmaker. “We have been proposing complex watchmaking to customers in the US only over the last decade or so. We’re talking to collectors about our legitimacy in watchmaking. It’s not always simple to convince customers who are quite committed on the categories – they go to Hermès for handbags, Chanel for ready-to-wear and Patek Philippe and Rolex for watches. It’s difficult to change that mindset.” Dordet says that he finds himself reminding his target audience that Hermès has two watchmaking workshops in Switzerland which employ 300 people. The first is in Bienne where all of the brand’s design, conception, and development takes place,


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besides its leather strap and assembly operations. An hour away, is another workshop in the village of Le Noirmont in the Jura Mountains, where its cases and dials are manufactured. Apart from the 300 employees at the two workshops, there are another 200 employees at the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier where Hermès spent CHF25m to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the movement manufacturer in 2006. At Vaucher, it is a minor shareholder along with the Fondation de Famille Sandoz. The Vaucher manufacture has several customers within the watchmaking industry. “We have developed three main calibres for Hermès in Vaucher, plus a few complications too,” says Dordet. While Hermès chisels away at entrenched mindsets in the US and repositions itself as a major within the horology space among its North American audience, Dordet adds that the Middle East is a crucial market for it too. “For me, the Middle East is one of the regions with the greatest potential for both men’s and women’s


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watches. We are present in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. In March, along with our partner Al Mana in Dubai, we organised an event for our high-horology collection called Crafting Time where we showcased highjewellery pieces and Metiers d’Art watches, all of which were well received.” Keeping up the momentum, at this year’s Watches & Wonders Geneva show, Hermès unveiled its all-new sports-inspired men’s collection called H08. Dordet explains that the collection isn’t built around extreme performance, but rather it is introducing a line that is comfortable to wear during sports such as tennis or hiking and checks the boxes of being resistant to humidity, water and is shock-proof too. The H08 collection comprises of several iterations including a graphene-composite case with a black gold-coated dial; a DLC coated titanium option in two colours; and two titanium-cased editions, one with a titanium bracelet and the other with a rubber strap. The 39x39mm cushion-shaped case

on all of them feature a manufacture calibre H1837 self-winding movement which returns approximately 50 hours of power reserve. Although the graphene composite version is priced at around $9,000, the remaining are between $5,500-$6,000 – a price-segment dominated by the likes of established players such as Rolex and Omega, and one that Hermès hopes to carve a larger slice of the pie for itself. While the H08 is positioned to allow the brand to compete with external players, it is also aimed at rejigging the internal balance of men’s and women’s watches at Hermès. “Today it is 75-25 – that is 75 per cent of our watches sold are for women and 25 per cent are men’s watches. I hope for the H08 to occupy one-third of our masculine watch sales in the next couple of years. The men’s watch segment is a smaller proportion of our business compared to our women’s watches, but the growth rate for the men’s category is super high.” Dordet isn’t narrating mere marketing rhetoric when pointing to the fact that demand for Hermés watches is high. In fact,



“We almost never buy back and we almost never destroy a watch. It optimises


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sales and reduces wastage and destruction which is in turn linked to sustainability”

according to a report by Bank Vontobel, Hermés Watches had a 2 per cent gain in revenue last year, a shock performance when you consider that Swiss watch export overall fell 22 per cent in 2020. But with demand for its watches going up, Dordet is careful not to oversupply and flood the market. “The watches that we are currently producing in our workshops are the ones that were sold last week in our boutiques in Dubai, Tokyo or Los Angeles. We don’t manufacture the watch that we want to push out next month, but rather the one that was already purchased last month. The consequence of this decision is that we drastically reduce our inventory and we can follow the demands of the market rather than the [wishful] imagination of the manufacturer. “It is extremely more profitable not only in terms of inventory, but also better in terms of sustainability. We almost never buy back and we almost never destroy a watch. It optimises sales and reduces wastage and destruction which is in turn linked to sustainability.” Dordet says that by verticalizing


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manufacturing operations at its workshops, the brand has reduced production time on its watches from six months to 10 days, allowing it therefore to be nimble and quickly replenish stock at its retail points globally. Distribution of its watches is tightly controlled at Hermés too. “Ten years ago, two-thirds of our sales were external, and one-third internal. Now we are 85 per cent internal – 85 per cent of our sales are done using Hermes boutiques only, including in the Middle East. We keep 15 per cent of the business – around 150 external doors – and it will be mainly at some airports, travel retailers, and department stores like Bon Marché in Paris, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and a few in Japan.” Clever and innovative watchmaking, with one eye on demand and supply, Dordet has a firm handle on the Hermés watchmaking business. His legacy would be to ensure that watches aren’t just an ancillary operation for the brand, but one that is at its very core. Some might argue – and rightly so – he’s already there. 47

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A PERFECT CUT Bespoke tailoring, a sharp attention to detail and superlative fabrics make Suited & Booted the go-to for the coolest cuts

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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, and how do you set the day up for success? CALVIN SMITH: Every morning, my day starts with selecting my outfit. I think about which appointments I have during the day and consider which look is most appropriate for the clients I’ll be meeting. As our clients vary in their needs, ranging from smart casual to formal business attire, we always consider which fits with that when we dress. What was the catalyst for launching Suited & Booted and how do you now work as a team? RYAN SMITH: We identified a gap in the regional market in terms of the tailoring experience itself and the product quality that was being offered here in Dubai. We wanted to offer a range of tailoring options to match the needs of individual lifestyles. We offer a modern twist on classical British tailoring, with a focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience from beginning to end. What is your approach to business and building a work culture? RS: We are at a stage where it’s incredibly important to us that our team has a personal input in the business. We have and always will be, people orientated. From staff to management, our team is the most important asset within our business and it’s key that we continue to cultivate a supportive and enjoyable work environment. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to date? CS: We got the keys to our first shop in January of 2020, and this was our first major expansion. We completed the shop fit out, but 3 weeks later Dubai went into strict lockdown. When we opened in June, we were overwhelmed with the support of the network we had built and will forever be grateful for that. You use incredible fabrics, was this a key part of the brand DNA from the outset and how did you achieve this as a new brand? CS: In the early days of the business, there was a lot of trial and error in terms of what product would work for the market, but we are now confident that we are consistently producing the best quality product to date. We have found using luxury high-end Italian and British fabrics gives us the best result and sits perfectly alongside our company ethos and brand positioning. We continually request customer feedback and use this to develop and improve our offering. Did you have any mentors in the early days and how did this help navigate the right path? CS: We are in the very fortunate position in that we have a number of extremely successful clients, which we never take for granted. It’s an amazing situation to be in, as we always discuss our long and short terms goals and take their valuable advice and guidance on the best way to move forward. Which has been the best piece of advice you’ve had in business? RS: The harder you work, the more luck you create. CS: Don’t be scared to make changes in the business. To become great, you need to be constantly evolving and improve yourself, your product and the service you provide. You might not get it right one hundred per cent of the time, but even when you make mistakes you are learning and improving.

What has been your approach to scaling the business to date? RS: We have huge plans for the future of the company. Expansion has happened naturally and over the past 12 months we have doubled in size. Our main focus is to grow in a way in which we never dilute customer experience or compromise on the quality of our product. What do you believe is the value of social media in business growth relating to luxury and which platform do you feel will next drive most success? RS: Social media is a massive part of our business and also part of a customer’s day to day life. People used to go shopping in physical stores more regularly, but are now on their phones or in front of a screen for 8-10 hours per day and can now make a purchase at the touch of a button. We have always invested in our social media channels, and we always receive a positive response which impacts engagement and sales. We run all of our own social media channels ourselves and are constantly personally interacting with our clients. You offer a truly bespoke service, with multiple fittings if required. Tell us about the process of being fitted for a suit? CS: Over the course of two to three fittings, we will build the suit to the client’s specification – the suit has been cut by our master tailor specifically to their body shape. In terms of the fit and the customisation, we allow the client to have as much or as little input as they desire – in most cases our clients ask for our expertise and styling advice to bring the look together. Our main aim is to make the process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. We often receive the feedback from our clients that they will never go back to purchasing off the shelf after experiencing made to measure tailoring. Which styles are currently driving sales? RS: Business attire is always going to be in demand, and makes up a large percentage of our sales due to the corporate environment that exists within the region. We have recently noticed a surge in demand for smart casual suits, and weekend attire such as shorts, chinos and linen shirts. These trends are relevant for both men and women. Where do you see the brand in 5 years? RS: In 5 years, we will have expanded within the Middle East region, with multiple local locations and a UK and online based operation. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in the current market? CS: If you’re looking to start a business, it has to be something you are passionate about. However difficult you think it will be, be prepared for it to be twice as hard. The highs are very high and the lows are equally low. If you have passion for the experience that you deliver and you have full belief in the product you are selling, then you can overcome anything that comes your way on the journey. This is The Summer Escape Issue – where do you love to escape to? CS: As I’m sure it’s the case for most people we haven’t had many holidays running a business and during a pandemic. We both love Italy and travel there as much as possible. It’s always beneficial for work inspiration and much needed down time.

“Our main focus is to grow in a way in which we never dilute customer experience or compromise on the quality of our product.” FAS H I O N

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The S ig nature

Founded by three friends, Signature Yashmagh aims to highlight the true grace of Emirati menswear

Signature Yashmagh is the brand aiming to redefine the perception of Emirati menswear in the region. Founded by three friends in 2019, Ahmad Al Hashemi, Meeshal Al Marzouqi and Khalid Belhoul, the trio banded together with a passion to showcase authentic Emirati culture. “With our Emirati background, we have been very dedicated to showcasing the authentic Emirati culture, the real grace of Emirati menswear and their fashion sense,” the founders explain. With the name Signature Yashmagh translating to the ‘Signature of An Arab Man’, the three founders have developed the brand exponentially in just two years. What initiatlly started as an Instagram shop, has led to a standalone store in The Dubai Mall, as well as Signature Yashmagh being sold with other retailers across the GCC. Emirates Man sat down with Al Hashemi, Al Marzouqi and Belhoul to discover the real story behind the brand and how the trio are redefining perceptions in the world of Emirati men’s fashion. Can you talk us through your careers? We are the three founders of Signature Yashmagh; Ahmad Al Hashemi, Meeshal Al Marzouqi & Khalid Belhoul, we have been friends since college and our passion for entrepreneurship brought us together. However, we have different career backgrounds. Ahmad is in the communication sector with the government, Khalid is into the energy industry also with the government while Meeshal is an engineer. We’ve worked towards our individual passions and education, and furthered ourselves to pursue these careers. We truly feel that the country fosters this love for growth and excellence in every individual, the means to work towards and achieve several goals. Throughout college, we would be seen as active members of our institutions – be it as student council members or delegating innovative activities; we ensured that there was a drive and a goal to work towards. And later, despite choosing different career fields, we decided to put together our career skills, individual and shared experience along with our passions to grow our brand. What inspired you to start your own fashion brand to showcase Emirati menswear? When we thought about entrepreneurship and how we wanted to start up our brand, we wanted a cause, a product or a story that we were passionate about, something that drove us to be better every day. This is how Signature Yashmagh was founded. With our Emirati background, we have been very dedicated to showcasing the authentic Emirati culture, the real grace of Emirati menswear and their fashion sense. Throughout the Arab world, many people wear the shemag or the headgear but the Emirati way is unique in its own way. Understanding this diversity has led to many misinterpretations about the Emirati way and style. When we decided to start our brand, we knew we wanted to come together and change that.



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Our brand Signature Yashmagh translates to the ‘Signature of An Arab Man’ because shemag or yashmagh is the headgear worn by all Emirati men, and our main vision was to bring focus onto the real Emirati style of wearing our iconic hear gear. To instil the meaning, the understanding of the culture, to highlight the beauty of our simplicity – Signature Yashmagh is just that: classic, minimalistic, graceful and of the utmost quality. How as your brand evolved since it launched? Our brand was established in 2019 and was solely an Instagram-based set up and sale point. During these two years, the brand has done commendably; sales have soared. We’ve had over 3500 orders in the first year of our brand being active and over 3000 loyal customers! This is an amazing progress rate for new business owners, considering also the advent of the pandemic. As we all know, last year Covid hit and most of the businesses had to adapt to being more virtual. However, because we were new and were operating virtually already, this did not impact our business activities. Rather we had an advantage as we had perfected our operations, our processes, platforms and delivery systems. Soon after when our customers wanted a more physical approach, a shop to visit and browse products, we opened our first branch in Dubai Mall and were selling with other retailers across the GCC so we would say our brand has evolved tremendously & positively and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for our brand. Can you talk us through what it’s been like working together over the last couple of years? Throughout these years, we have discovered new insights about the business that allowed us to come up with ways we can continue to create unique products/offerings. It has just been years of learning more about the business world and each other, we have been able to gain new experiences from the different backgrounds we come from and also diverse cultural

“The history behind the headgear is to protect from the heat and over time it has as become an unwritten signature for all Emirati men” 54

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insights while working with our customers from all over. They have helped evolve our business and us too. As we said earlier, we all come from different educational backgrounds but our knowledge from these fields has helped us create our brand as well as grow together. The relationship that started off as us being friends has turned us into being like brothers. We look forward to bringing new changes into our business and showcasing the brotherhood of the Emirati culture. What does Signature Yashmagh represent? Signature Yashmag represents our identity as Emirati men, it is our way of bringing modern minimalism to the authentic look of the yashmagh. We use only the bestsourced fabrics with efficient processes to ensure our touch of quality within every product. It represents our nation as a country that is innovative, productive, fearless and we are so proud of all our achievements that we have been blessed with since we started two years ago. We are beyond grateful to see all that we have achieved in our set of practices, ethics, operations, productions and in our rules. We want to represent all that an Emirati man is and all that our nation continues to achieve through our brand Signature Yashmagh. What sets Signature Yashmagh apart from other brands? What sets us apart from other brands is our focus on the quality of our product and our mission to shine light on the authentic Emirati style of men’s fashion. The cotton we use is of the finest quality and woven to perfection to create a smooth texture that facilitates comfort, breathability for our customers. We are so involved in giving our customers only the best experience; in line with this vision, the brand launched everything needed for a perfect yashmagh. Hence, we also provide our customers with special Yashmagh mist and shampoos to ensure that their yashmagh is kept well and offers comfort. We were also one of the first few boutiques focusing on Emirati men’s accessories and fashion especially yashmagh and the ghutra which are key to Emirati men’s fashion. What is at the core of the brand’s DNA? The core of our brand’s DNA is the representation of authentic Emirati menswear and the gracefulness it brings. We have been working on this and want to continue focusing on the quality of our yashmagh. We want the users of our product to really understand the true essence and the meaning of the real Emirati headgear for men, we want to bring this forward with class, minimalism, and great quality. Who is the Signature Yashmagh man client? Our product is for everyone. While the majority of our customers do come from Emi-

rati backgrounds who wear the iconic headgear and look neat and graceful in their day to day life, but we also have many expats and tourists that have shown interest in the Emirati culture and the yashmagh. The history behind the headgear is to protect from the heat and over time it has become an unwritten signature for all Emirati men. We wanted our product to stay true to its history and we take pride in the garment. Therefore, the signature Yashmagh man is anyone who is affectionate and interested in our Emirati culture, who wants to understand our signature and our identity. How do you approach client retention and client engagement? As we mentioned, we started online only, mainly on Instagram just out of love for what we wanted to do. We were able to get first-hand responses and feedback. This proved great because we were able to incorporate this effectively almost immediately. This tremendously helped us maintain customer relations and maintain a level of happiness with our customers. The store we opened was because we understood our customers wanted to have a physical space for a brand they have loved so much. Our clients are our family, and not just because we say it but because they’ve made themselves so. We are always interacting with them; we always have referrals from our clients – that’s how genuinely they love the brand. We also work towards launching new ranges as and when we think it’s time, again, we rely on our feedback. I think our formula is creating a great product and having your customers decide and give consistent feedback. What have been the hurdles you’ve experienced throughout your careers? Challenges and hurdles are a part of everyone’s life & careers, very important to succeed. Since our careers were so diverse, each one of us faced a different challenge. When we started the brand, it was essential to align ourselves to it and understand how the start phase would look like. AH: Time Management was a huge challenge for me, I found it difficult to allocate timing to all that I was doing and since the brand came from a place of passion, I wanted to be able to give it nothing less than my 200%. I always intend to do everything down to the dot and be on point with all my tasks, so this habit made it a little challenging for me to manage my work day in a way where I was able to do my best for everything. MM: For me it was time management as well and aligning with the others; my availability. As co-founders, we need to have regular meetings to discuss things together and for this, we need to find a time that suits everyone. This was a bit of a task; because of our separate work backgrounds and fami-


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lies, appropriate handling of time and our efficiency needed to be managed. KB: I agree with all the challenges that my friends have mentioned but I also believe that since we were and are a startup, we required more effort and more hours of hard work put into our brand. Time management, availability and operations all seem more important to a startup than others, so I feel that now we are just understanding our business and learning as we grow. On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the milestones? We started our brand right before Eid in 2019 and we have progressed so much as we are coming close to our two-year mark. The response we received in the first year of our brand itself was a very significant milestone to us and was like a tipping point for us, we didn’t expect to reach 2000 loyal clients while working virtually nor did we think that we would get orders back-to-back, but this really pushed us to perfect our products and operations. We started gaining new customers from different backgrounds and our sales were soaring, this allowed us to keep our company values intact and better our logistics activity. We are also very proud of our brand engagement with many customers coming back to us for more, this shows us that our brand is loved and in demand. Another milestone that we are grateful for is that many customers have become like family because they appreciate our quality and offering, so our brand loyalty and brand engagement is very high and we are always getting feedback from our clients, our family. Recently, a huge milestone that we achieved was opening our first physical store in the largest mall (Dubai Mall) in the world, this has made us so proud of our progress since we were able to do this just within 2 years and it is just a stepping stone to the other wonderful things we want to accomplish for our brand. This also sets the pace for other things coming; we plan on achieving another one of our milestones soon, which is delivering our orders in record time, we are almost there but we are working towards bettering ourselves and shortening the wait. What do you see for the future of Signature Yashmagh? We are so honoured and grateful for all that we have achieved in the last two years, how we started and where we have reached now makes us feel so good. Our future plans are of course to expand the brand and to be available to all our customers over the GCC, of course, the bigger goal is to expand internationally with different retailers. We also aim to just grow the brand and build an image where people can understand the essence and our mission better, we want our customers to get top quality Emirati headgears in our region as well as internationally. 55

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SUMMER FRESH The best edit of fragrances designed for summer fun


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The perfect balance between traditional and contemporary sophistication. Colonia Intensa Dhs565 for 100ml Acqua Di Parma

Dedicated to the power of natural elements. Man Glacial Essence Dhs514 for 100ml Bvlgari

This aromatic fragrance evokes the aroma of hot irons on fabric in the workshop using botanical element. H24 Eau De Toilette Dhs475 for 100ml Hermès

Refreshing as it is refined with hints of zesty citrus. Terre d’Hermès Dhs539 for 100ml Hermès available at

Deceptively subtle yet bold, this harnesses the intrigue of musk. AnOther 13 Dhs831 for 100ml LE LABO available at Harrods

Perfectly encapsulating the cool breeze, clear water, and lush foliage of the Italian Riviera. Neroli Portofino Dhs1,482 for 100ml Tom Ford available at Sephora

A masculine take on a salty, windswept sea shore. Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne Dhs630 for 100ml Jo Malone

Evoking bold, masculine confidence this has notes of Tonka as a strong base. Code Absolu Dhs545 for 110ml Armani available on

Combining notes of fresh grapefruit with a modern woody accord. L’Homme À la Rose Dhs790 for 70ml Maison Francis Kukdijan


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B io H ac k ing


CEO and Co-Founder of bespoke micronutrient, health-monitoring system bioniq, Vadim Fedotov, shares his approach to high-tech health

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine? I always start my day with an ice-cold shower – I really believe in the benefits of the cold water, especially when it touches the body as once you fight through a cold shower first thing in the morning, you automatically get a champion mindset and then I go on to my workout routine. I have been practicing intermittent fasting for the past 6 years – every weekday I use the 16:8 scheme and every Sunday evening I start my 40-hour fasting session, which ends around Tuesday lunchtime. Regardless of that, I never skip my morning workout. What was the inspiration behind starting this company? As a former pro-athlete, when I played for the Germany national basketball team and in the US, I always had a keen interest in health, biohacking and wellness. At the age of 32, being a CEO at the largest media holding in Eastern and Central Europe, I stopped feeling at the top of my performance. I went to a doctor who made me do various extensive and extremely expensive blood tests – only to conclude that “I was not ill”. I was looking for something that will help me optimise my physical, mental and cognitive abilities. This is when I realised that the market did not have a company that will strive to provide personalised solutions for people like myself. I was fortunate enough to meet my partner and co-founder of bioniq, Dr Karuzin, who helped me build the startup based on his multiple clinical trials (24+/more than 2M parameters tested over a 10-year period) and medical experience with top pharma companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. Tell us about the science behind the brand? bioniq is, first and foremost, a data-driven company – the algorithm that prescribes our clients individual supplement recipes based on a blood test has been developed throughout a span of 10 years and is based on more than 24 clinical trials executed by our medical director. We have analysed over 3 million parameters and continue to develop our smart data on a daily basis in order to provide bespoke solutions to our clients.

What is the strategy to scale bioniq globally? The UAE is our third market, as we launched in the UK in 2019 and then in Russia and we are very excited to be present here because of how dynamic the market is. We definitely see a lot of potential in the GCC area in general, as our research shows this region is suffering from various chronicle diseases such as high cholesterol and diabetes – we would like to be one of the forces to make a positive change in regard to this. We recently finalised our pilot in the US and are excited to launch bioniq in New York City later this year. Our company’s mission is to make health actionable and accessible around the world – thus, we do not limit ourselves to any particular markets, rather we are hoping to spread a healthy and sustainable lifestyle amongst all people. You use AI – can you expand on the benefits of using this? AI helps us develop more personalized solutions and scale our business at a greater speed. An individual doctor has a capacity to serve 150 clients on average – this shows you much data he has. Our company has already tested more than 3 million plus parameters of thousands of clients internationally, which means that we are able to provide our clients with more bespoke solutions using our smart database. Have you seen an increased focus on the wellness space in light of the last year? The


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pandemic has been the main driving force in the wellness and health-tech industry in the past year. People all around the world started prioritising their health regardless of their age and status. We can see how millennials have shifted their spending habits from travel and lifestyle to their health. The profile of a bioniq client became much younger – instead of 35 plus year old clients, we are now working with 18 plus clients and all of them are equally interested in preventative health. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? People overestimate what they can achieve in one year and underestimate what can be achieved over a lifetime. Young people need to understand that if you work hard, the big/good things will come with time – nothing happens in an instant moment. Thus, my advice to my younger self would be to be patient, remain focused and work hard. This is The Summer Escape Issue. Where is next on your list when travel eases or your favourite location to visit? I’ve had Japan on the top of my travel Wishlist for a while. I would also like to visit Iceland and Fiji. 59

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The S um m er B o dy Elite Dubai trainer Ahmed Gaber delivers you a serious summer physique


A strong fitness regime is key to the optimal summer physique. Elite Dubai trainer Ahmed Gaber explains the best practice approach and how much of it starts in the kitchen. “Both are physical fitness and nutrition is very important in the aspect of achieving one’s body goals,” he tells Emirates Man. “But without having a proper nutrition plan your body will never change.” Not having a proper nutrition plan is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to starting their fitness journeys. “Most people start with a very strict diet,” Gaber explains. “They believe that having zero carbs, no sugar and sodium will make them lose weight faster.” When that turns out to be a failure, they do not see any changes, they stop believing in themselves. All this happens due to not having a good solid strategy plan nor basic knowledge in the first place.” Ensuring he always advocates for his clients’ wellness and best interests, Gaber knows what it’s like to start from scratch when it comes to fitness after suffering a serious injury following his career as a water polo player. After dislocating his shoulder, he was grounded for a full year, gained weight and became depressed. However, this is what then motivated him to start studying fitness and nutrition. “I decided to study the recovery process from injuries, gain solid knowledge about nutrition and all the aspects of fitness in order to go back to my best shape,” he says. “I wanted to help people who gained weight due to stress, injuries and eating disorders, postpartum depression and hormonal imbalances.”


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THE DETOX RECIPE ∙ 100g romain lettuce ∙ 150g spinach ∙ 5g mint ∙ 50g ginger ∙ 50g turmeric ∙ 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar ∙ 500 ml lime or lemon ∙ 1 full green apple ∙ Water ∙ Ice – optional

This is exactly what he’s gone on to do – helping his clients regain their confidence, health and overall wellbeing. “My forever goal is to give people back their confidence and make them love themselves again and love their bodies,” he says. “I was once in that dark place myself so I’m empathetic to those in the same situation as I once had that difficult experience.” Amongst this 360-degree approach, each client is considered as an individual and no one is ever given the same diet or workout routine as all bodies are individual. While it can seem like a daunting process to start on a fitness journey, it’s all about controlling your mind and sticking to your goals. “Control your mind and your body will just follow through,” Gaber says. “The first week is always the hardest. Trust my knowledge and expertise and do not give up. A strong mind always leads to bigger achievements.”


5/27/21 3:19 PM


B east M o de Co-Founder & Manager of The Warehouse Gym, Kevin Teixeira shares his 18-year fitness journey What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine? I wake up around 5:30 am. I don’t touch my phone for 30 minutes as I want to allow my body to wake up naturally. I use this time to think about the day ahead and what I have to do. I find this time between states of waking-up and awake the best time for ideas and inspiration. Where did the idea for The Warehouse Gym come from? There are three CoFounders of The Warehouse Gym, we all come from different backgrounds and had different ideas surrounding what a gym experience should be. We compiled these together to achieve what you see now. Which books are you currently reading for in-

spiration? I’m currently reading a book called “Never Split The Difference”. It’s based on negotiating techniques as everything we do in life is a negotiation from business to personal life and I mainly like to read non-fiction, selfdevelopment books, to keep me motivated. Do you have any mentors or guides and how did this help navigate you on the right path? My Co-Founders are my mentors. They have been successful in their career choices, thereby allowing me to watch and learn from them. If there’s any arena where I require advice, be it work or personal, I take it from them to get a different perspective. What advice would you give to fitness enthusiasts in the current market? Being


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enthusiastic is great as it will drive you, however, you need to be good at what you do. Regardless of the market conditions, the best will be successful. How does The Warehouse Gym manage to stand out in this competitive market? We focus on not being like anyone else. Each location is unique and experienced lead professionals are at the core of The Warehouse Gym. We aim to become the Middle-East’s number one premium gym-chain. What are the key lessons you’ve learned while being in the fitness industry? The key lesson I’ve learned is that hard work pays off. Fitness has shown me that hard work pays off and you can’t half-half it.


5/27/21 3:49 PM

Sheikh Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Founding Partner at SOMA MATER, the region’s only food security and sustainability consultancy, discusses his mission to catalyse a sustainable revolution


What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine? I have started skipping for the first 30 minutes of the day, as a quick and easy, gym anywhere kind of routine. But once that’s done, I usually spend an hour reading to learn, with some deep focus time and a good coffee. Once that’s done, the day can start. How do you personally approach sustainability in daily life and how can we all drive towards a brighter future in this arena? My approach to sustainability in daily life is about finding how I can tweak and adapt my day to day activities to become more sustainable. We started off by getting rid of bottled water, even the large ones. We did away with plastic bags from shops, and each car now has shopping totes. Food waste is a major aspect most people could tackle if they put some thinking into their household. I bought a Tesla and I am looking at solar systems to take my vehicle off the grid. Its small steps and adding up all those small steps rather than simply just banning plastic straws. Which are the worst contributors to our environment and what are the small steps we can make to combat these? Food waste is a major contributor, as the whole supply chain is majorly inefficient, only for us to throw up to 50 per cent of our food away globally, that ends up gassing off in landfills. So, everything around managing the household food, and then looking at how we minimize packaging and even diverting food from landfills into other some other value at home is essential. Plastics in packaging, and the many materials we go through in the consumption every day are major landfill contributors too. The amount of carbon our cars, air conditioners and other machines push into the air can all be reduced with a bit of simple energy management and conservation. We


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even redid our landscaping to reduce our water use and still enjoy a green garden. You have worked on projects ranging across policy and regulation for agriculture, animal production, food safety, as well as conservation and sustainability. Which do you lean toward most and why? I trained as a veterinarian and started my career in the zoo and conservation field, that later grew into a larger conservation and sustainability scope. In the last 5 years, I moved to the federal government by working directly with the food and agriculture space. The trick is, it is all connected, and so I am always engaged in one side or another. I guess if I had to put my finger on one thing, it would be food security. I have been thinking about food security and sustainability since I was at university between 2000 to 2010. I wrote the primer for the food security strategy that the UAE has today and my consultancy SOMA MATER today focuses on food security and sustainability. Have you seen a change in recent years to sustainability and the approach to it? Absolutely, since the Paris agreement, the world has slowly made its transition, just not fast enough. We now have it as part of our corporate language, and it is in every government communication. We need to see the UN Sustainable Development Goals not just represent lofty government ideals, but real economy pillars. To have these SDGs as part of founding legal documents for SMEs and corporations not just as a corporate social responsibility. We have to avoid talking about sustainability as part of our culture, but rather make sustainability THE culture. It is coming and we are here to help facilitate that. Consumers are more conscious, as businesses understand the financial and stakeholder value. Now is the time for action. Have you had any mentors to guide you to

date and what was the best guidance you’ve received? I have had many mentors and still do today. I know I respond well to it and so seek guidance from many of them. There are so many, but one theme that keeps coming up is to understand what my value is. I think the best advice I got, was very early on, when my mom mentored me out of University. She had me do a SWOT analysis on myself, to understand how to play to my strengths and outsource my weakness. Still true today 20 years later. So, I now have someone to manage my time, and it turned out to be the best decision ever. The other advice was, to raise my price, until I started getting more no’s than yesses. That’s how you learn your value in the market. You have both Emirati and German heritage – has this positively impacted your ability in your chosen field? This gives me multiple advantages. Firstly, I can see things from different perspectives. I can always appreciate things from a different vantage point. Secondly, I have a different culture that I can tap into, I can be very German, and very Emirati in different situations. Thirdly, I understand and speak another language, and it is totally underestimated how much being able to speak a second or third language actually does to break down barriers. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out? Learn to build a team and apologize afterwards rather than ask for permission. Find a leader who inspires you to work to your strengths. What are the hurdles that you’ve experienced in your career and how have you overcome them? I will always rise to a challenge, but at times I could burn myself out, trying to carry everything. As a leader, you need to be able to delegate and not be afraid to task things out. I moved into leadership quickly and learned slowly how to build a team. What are the key milestones you’ve achieved? I helped establish ecotourism for Abu Dhabi, initiated the programme that led to the reintroduction of the Scimitar Horned Oryx from Abu Dhabi to Chad, lead the development of a Food Security strategy that was the primer for the current UAE food Security Strategy, along with being the youngest and only serving UAE delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health that has taken a seat at the Council on the executive board of the organization. What are your hopes for the future of sustainable food culture in the UAE? The UAE represents a beacon and example for the rest of the arid lands on the globe. What we are doing today and continue to pioneer globally, will become the blueprint to how all arid land sustainable food systems are developed.


The E nv iro nm ental V isio nary


5/30/21 10:17 AM

“To understand how to play to my strengths and outsource weaknesses.” F E AT U R E

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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? Emails, strong shower, strong espresso. Order may vary. You’ve just launched Cipriani Dolci in Dubai Mall, tell us more? The response has been overwhelming, it is an oasis of classic style and service at the doors of the Fashion Avenue. Perfect for a moment of conviviality with family, friends or colleagues at any time of the day. Simple tastes and joyful atmosphere.

What was the largest challenge to date driving the Cipriani brand and how did you overcome it? You cannot build, maintain or grow a four-generation business without challenges. This past year tested us all with a big one. We are lucky to still be here and more determined than ever. How do you generally approach challenges? I am an optimistic person. I roll up my sleeves and focus on what needs to be done to overcome the bumps on the road.

How do you think last year affected the growth of the travel and restaurant industry and have you made changes in light of this? The hospitality business has been terribly affected by the pandemic globally and the reopening has varied in timing. In the US, the government has been more helpful than in Italy for sure but our event business that is normally strong, has suffered tremendously. On the other hand, entities like Dubai


The F am il y B ussiness Giuseppe Cipriani discusses a modern approach to family business


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have managed the situation efficiently and have become attractive destinations and for many a pleasant rediscovery. We had to adapt, both the internal structure and operations but we are slowly seeing the light. Did you have any mentors in the early days and how did this help you navigate the right path? My father has been my mentor growing up and to this day is the true embodiment of our values. He reminds us all of it constantly. Which has been the best piece of advice you’ve had in business? Never take anything for granted and keep working hard. What has been your approach to scaling the business to date? I think there is still strong potential for our brand to grow in the various aspects of hospitality and in different parts of the world, so we keep moving forward. What do you believe is the value of social media in business growth relating to luxury and which platform do you feel will next drive most success? We entered the social media sphere quite late I have to say with some perplexity. For some products and a more specific demographic, it accelerates the spreading of information. It cannot substitute the depth and nuances of a real experience but can

drive curiosity. As far as the platforms go, I will divert the question to my sons. The service at Cipriani feels like family. Is this a conscious part of the DNA of the brand and how do you retain this at a global scale? “To serve is first to love” has been our motto for 90 years and we do not compromise on it. We have a great team of people working at our locations around the world that understand the importance of all these details necessary to serve our customers in a natural and efficient way. What advice would you give to restaurateurs or entrepreneurs in the current market? I honestly do not feel entitled to give advice and I try to stay focused on my business. When you travel – how do you maintain any kind of routine and what do you always need to travel with? I try to travel as light as possible and leave clothes in different cities where I have venues and operations to look after. My phone is part of my daily attire. This is The Summer Escape Issue – where do you love to escape to? I have projects in many beautiful places that also happen to be dream escapes for many like Ibiza, Venice or Punta del Este, so I happily escape to my work.


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Left page: Ernest Hemingway, Giuseppe Cipriani and barman Ruggero Caumo at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy 65

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MICHAEL PSIAKI, Design Master, LEGO Group What was the inspiration behind the latest LEGO and Porsche collaboration? This model started as a passion project of mine. We have one day a month where we are encouraged to work on individual projects that excite us. I have wanted to try my hand at a 911 and so it was on one of these days (in June of 2019) that I built a concept for this model. Naturally, I was very excited when we decided to mature it into an actual product. What was the lead time for the collaboration between Porsche and Lego? We began our collaboration with Porsche for this model in December of 2019 and then we finished the development in May 2020. What has it been like collaborating with a brand like Porsche? It was great. We worked closely with Joerg Thilow from the Porsche heritage department who shared so much knowledge with us to make sure we made the car as accurate as possible. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were collaborat-

ing exclusively online. I would share the model digitally with Joerg and we would swap out parts and try different things live onscreen, which was super helpful. What were the challenges during the development of the LEGO Creator Porsche 911 Turbo and Porsche 911 Targa and how did you overcome them? The biggest challenge was solving the 2 in 1 aspect of the model, being able to build either the Targa or Turbo without making too many changes during the building experience. We ended up needing to make a special axle that could be added into the car at the very end to have either the wide Turbo axle or the narrow Targa axle. Does the limited selection of parts, and the limited colour palette influence your creative process? The LEGO colour palette and parts palette have a big influence on the creative process. I love to have a lot of constraints when I’m designing. It makes it a harder challenge to find a solution, but it means that the final solution will be very cool.

A S ty l ish B uil d

Emirates Man gets under the hood of the latest Lego and Porsche collaboration WORDS: NEIL KALIDAS

Dhs699 LEGO® Porsche 911



JEROEN BEIJER, General Manager, LEGO Middle East & Africa Sales of LEGO surged globally in 2020 – how has brand awareness increased alongside? 2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone, however, it has been amazing to see how LEGO® as a brand increased its relevance during these trying times. I’m very proud that we have been able to engage kids and adults alike with fun & educational play experiences that have hopefully helped them to stay engaged and energized during the extended stays at home. I know in my home we have spent many afternoons and evenings as a family building either new sets or just hav-

ing fun, using our creativity and imagination to come up with amazing new builds. How do you approach client retention, and do you see any market trends globally? At the LEGO Group, we spend a lot of time perfecting the LEGO play experience, which should not only be very safe, but also fun, engaging, surprising, and suited for the target audience. We would like everyone to experience the joy of building and the pride of creation, whether they build LEGO DUPLO or the latest LEGO TECHNIC Supercar. We are constantly thinking of new ways to develop play and how to tap into people’s passion points. Some recent examples are our partnership with Nintendo, where we

created a fluid physical & digital play experience around LEGO Super Mario but we also recently launched Botanicals aimed at people with a passion for flowers and decoration. We recently ran a whole campaign that was centered around the cars – with a wide variety of cars in our assortment, we were able to connect with consumers who are very passionate about cars of different sorts. Some of the recent launches were the LEGO TECHNIC Ferrari 488 GTE, JEEP® Wrangler, McLaren Senna GTR™ as well as the LEGO Creator Porsche 911. What is at the core of LEGO, its DNA? Our fundamental belief is that the best way for children to learn is through play and hence,


from the LEGO owner family down to all levels of the LEGO Group, we want to help all children grow and develop to their full potential through play. Through LEGO Play we know that children build many critical skills that will be needed in the 21st century like creativity, critical thinking and problem solving to name a few. We are constantly adding, changing and evolving our portfolio with new themes and play patterns, which means that whether you would like to re-create your version of the city of Dubai, drive your favourite LEGO Supercar or dance with LEGO Minifigures to the tunes of Taylor Swift with LEGO Vidiyo, we have you covered. 67



The young Dubai-headquartered hypercar manufacturer, W Motors, is seeking a spot on the global motoring map



It was an outrageous scene – taking a hypercar and simulating a jump between two towers in Abu Dhabi – that required an equally outrageous supercar. Good thing then that the Fast & Furious franchise narrowed it down to the W Motors Lykan HyperSport for that scene in Furious 7 where Vin Diesel at the wheel, and Paul Walker riding shotgun, did just that. Dubai-headquartered W Motors made its entry into the world of rarified and hyper-expensive supercars with the Lykan HyperSport in 2013. The 780hp Lykan, with a torque of 960Nm, is capable of a top speed of 395kph and a 0-100kph time of 2.9 seconds. The handcrafted full carbon fibre body was made all the more spectacular with its diamond-lined headlights. All-in, the $3.4m ride limited to only seven units, was a statement of intent by the brand’s dynamic young founder and CEO Ralph R. Debbas. Debbas, who studied automotive design at the Coventry University School of Art and Design, established W Motors in 2012 and attempted to position it as the first Middle Eastern company to design and manufacture high-performance luxury sportscars. “It was a gigantic task and a dream back then,” says Debbas of the work that lay ahead when he founded his company. “It was a company that was formed by investing $5,000 of my own money. We got an injection in 2013, from a private bank as a seed round. We got bought out in 2017, and the company grew. In 2017, we became a cash flow positive company growing from its own internal money.” W Motors is a relatively small company with around 50 employees in the UAE and an average turnover of around $25m a year.


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The Lykan was its first product and was followed by the Fenyr SuperSport which had a soft launch in 2018. Boasting a twin-turbo flat six-cylinder 3.8-litre engine capable of delivering 800hp and reaching 100kph from a standstill in 20.8 seconds, the Fenyr is limited to 100 units and deliveries of this $1.6m hypercar have begun. A special-edition 101 Fenyr SuperSport was created and offered to the winner of the raffle prize of the Dubai Shopping Festival in May. To achieve its engineering and design ambitions, W Motors has curated a global network of partners including Magna Steyr, Studiotorino, RUF Automobile and AKKA Technologies, amongst others. As Debbas explains, engineering company Magna does W Motors’ feasibility engineering, certification and assembly, whereas RUF in Germany produces W Motors’ engines and chassis. “One of the latest partners we have is QEV Technologies which is developing our electric powertrain for our EV supercar coming out this year.” While the fiery combustion engines of its first two hypercars put W Motors onto the global motoring map, its future will be something quite different. “We have our electric supercar, which is the vision and statement for the company that we are turning 100 per cent electric in the next few years. W motors will be a full EV brand in the next couple of years.” There will be 250-plus units of the supercar EV, boasting 1,600hp, four motors, and a 0-100kph time of 2 seconds. “It’s more technology oriented when it comes to software, the power select and it’s autonomous ready too. It’s going to be priced from $650,000 up to $980,000.” “There is a plan for an EV SUV as well which is already in the pipeline and being


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designed,” adds Debbas. Post the electric SUV, he says that W Motors intends to debut a hybrid vehicle in 2023, priced at the $400,000 range, and which along with the electric supercar, will replace the Fenyr. But W Motors is intent on becoming a staging ground for much bigger plans that Debbas has for the motoring world. In 2016, he teamed up with Chinese entrepreneur Alan Wu to establish Iconiq Motors that was aimed at developing electric and autonomous driving technologies. One of the first products as part of that collaboration was the Iconiq 7 MPV which is in production in China. “We are not part of the company, we’re just a consultant designing, developing and producing for them in China. We’re currently working on the next model for Iconiq which is a smaller MPV, as well as an electric SUV under the Iconiq brand. And we’re looking to do cross collaborations and have high-end products purchased by Ico-


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niq under licence by W – so we will develop them here, produce them in Dubai, and sell them to the Chinese market.” In March this year, W Motors entered into a JV with another company called China Dynamics, with W Motors being the majority shareholder. A company called LOKI (Low Emission Kinetic Energy) has been formed as a result of that JV. “LOKI will be the first manufacturer of electric green energy commercial trucks and buses in the UAE and the Middle East. We will design and manufacture them here. We will be focusing on school buses, garbage trucks, security vehicles, construction vehicles, delivery vans – all of them electric and at affordable prices. We’re going to offer them either as direct sales or fleet management by the company – so we lease them to companies and we operate the fleet from W Motors.” Another Special Projects Division within W Motors creates special-purpose

vehicles such as the Ghiath Beast Patrol SUV which was built for the Dubai Police. It is a full-fledged production vehicle, with the Ghiath also including an armoured vehicle which will be commercially available. “Ghiath is not only about an SUV, but a full line of special purpose vehicles [including] electric bikes, electric pickup trucks, off road vehicles and special purpose government, police, and rescue vehicles as well.” To realise Debbas’ ambitions of manufacturing vehicles within the UAE under the parent company and also its joint venture manufacturing plans, W Motors began construction on a 12,000-square-metre facility last year at Silicon Oasis in Dubai. Construction is expected to be completed by Q4 this year with the facility then able to manufacture the Lykan, the electric supercar and also the special-purpose vehicles. “We’re consolidating all the expertise unde one roof. So everything we currently operate out of Italy, Germany, and Spain, will now take place in Dubai at the Silicon Oasis facility. It will be a complete turnkey solution for anything related to mobility. With the new factory coming in, we are going to localise 90 per cent of our engineering in Dubai, so it will no longer be spread out internationally.” In a far-reaching move, Debbas says that he will also offer the facility to other manufacturers or entities to produce their vehicles. “We’re offering a white-label factory for anybody to come in and use it, such as governments that want to build their cars. They have the workshop, the service centre and can utilize all our expertise for our teams.” With lofty plans in place, Debbas is ensuring that the company is adequately funded too. In 2019, W Motors became the first private company to deposit its shares in Nasdaq Dubai’s CSD (Central Securities Depository). It also established a holding company, W Motors Automotive Group Holding Limited, in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Debbas is currently in the midst of a capital raising round to the tune of around $50m for which he is he tapping international institutional investors. The big prize though will be the moment that Debbas manages to take his firm public – but he’s in no particular rush to do so. Tentatively, the plan is to list on the New York Stock Exchange by around 2024. The immediate priority though he says is to realise the product plans for W Motors, its JVs, and also enter all the markets that it intends to over the next three years. How will he know when the time is right to list that IPO? “Once we reach $100m-plus revenues a year,” says Debbas. Not bad for a company that started with a $5,000 investment.


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The D riv ing F o rc e

Thomas Flohr, Founder and Chairman of Dubai-based Vista Global, is pioneering change in the aviation industry WORDS: AMY SESSIONS

The world’s first private aviation ecosystem integrates a unique portfolio of companies offering asset-light solutions covering all key aspects of business aviation and includes VistaJet, the first and only global business aviation company, which has seen an upswing in operation post pandemic that looks sets to stay. What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? I usually fly about 250 days a year, but still try to keep a routine. Last year it was even more important to have a routine – especially as it is many years since I had been in the same place for an extended length of time. When at home, each morning I get up at the same time, eat breakfast and then walk a few steps to my office next to the house. I take a quick lunch break


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away from the office before working again until returning in the evening for a workout. What is your approach to business and building a work culture? At Vista we have a startup mentality, but also a global mentality. With our structure, everyone is responsible for driving success, and our colleagues are fundamental to our business – we have always worked as one combined team and have an internal trust across teams which has proven itself even more over the last year. I had the initial vision, however, as a collective we have made Vista what it is today. What was the catalyst for launching VistaJet and what have been the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Prior to VistaJet, I was in asset finance and flying hundreds of hours each year. The only way to be in multiple meetings in multiple countries in one day was

to fly private. However, I was surprised by the amount of time that business jets would sit idle – the average utilization of a business jet is 250 hours per year, yet commercial planes are used around 4,000 hours a year – and the lack of consistency from one to another which meant that as a customer I didn’t know what would be waiting for me on the tarmac. I saw very early on when I entered this industry that it was extremely inefficient and backwardslooking. When I see waste, I become ambitious – if something doesn’t make sense, it’s a natural inclination to challenge it. So, I saw an opportunity to offer an alternative. I founded VistaJet in 2004, introducing a new way to fly – access to an entire worldwide and branded fleet, paying only for the hours flown with guaranteed availability and no asset risk. Then, in 2018 I formed Vista Global Holding


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to consolidate the fragmented industry and offer all clients the full range of business services on a global scale, through our VistaJet and XO brands, and now also Apollo and Red Wing Aviation. Over the last 17 years, we have transformed the company from a European startup operating two aircraft into a leading global air mobility group with over 2,000 experts and more than 170 jets covering and connecting every continent. How do you approach challenges? With every challenge comes opportunity. We are not afraid of change. We always look at what we can influence, identifying possibilities and searching for the solution. To date, we have weathered many global and regional economic storms and emerged stronger. From launching a company at the end of the .com bubble crisis to navigating Ebola, the financial crash, the EU debt crisis, Arab Spring, crash of the oil price combined with the Ruble depreciation, Brexit and the annexation of Crimea, Vista has proven resilient. The last year hasn’t been any different. Our reason for resilience is that we operate in the right aircraft class, have the right business model being asset light, and have the global infrastructure and contacts that have taken 17 years to build. How do you think last year affected the growth in the private aviation industry? The unprecedented events have redefined the global aviation landscape and resulted in a significant shift in perception towards private travel. It is a pivotal and exciting time in our sector and we are extremely aware of the critical, growing role private aviation will play as part of the global economy for years to come. Since commercial airlines have been limiting service to certain areas and at times retreating fully from some of their operating regions, there is continued reliance on private travel as health and safety remains top-ofmind. One of the key draws for new users in the current climate, is the small number of touchpoints when flying private – 20 as opposed to 700 when flying commercial. Safety and travel have become one in the same, and the private aviation industry experienced a sharp rise in first-time fliers over the past year, including a 29% increase in new Members at VistaJet and 3x at XO – which is still a fraction of the potential market of private jet fliers, with a 90% opportunity as only 10% of those who can fly private do. Vista as a business and concept has demonstrated its robust nature through its flexibility, global infrastructure and floating fleet which can move to where the demand is, and has continued operations throughout the pandemic without retreating from any markets. Whenever you see a business jet in a location, you know that business is being done. The explosion in demand has continued into 2021 with increasing requests from both corporates and private individuals wanting to travel

safely and without delays across the globe. Did you have any mentors in the early days and how did this help navigate the right path? Unfortunately, no – it was rather the absence of a mentor that made me think and work harder. Do you see any trends in clients from specific markets in terms of requests? We see continued demand across the globe – particularly as countries continue to open ahead of the summer months. The Middle East specifically is consistently one of VistaJet’s leading markets, with the most popular flight routes being to Russia, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and the UK, with inter-Middle East flying from the UAE to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also key routes. While there has been some interruption to and from certain destinations in recent months, the UAE remains particularly active, accounting for 34% of the total flights in the market. In fact, we’ve recently seen Dubai become VistaJet’s number one hub in the world for the first time, which can be attributed primarily to the Emirate being able to stay open for business continually since the summer. We have also seen a surge of 49% in corporate interest globally, with the US driving this influx, as teams need to get to multiple locations around the world to ensure business continuity. Your content is tailored to the individual clients onboard – how do you approach this accurately? Our clients are at the centre of everything we do, and their needs dictate the services and new travel solutions we offer so they are fully supported and feel at home wherever they are. We understand that every passenger is different, and that their needs on each flight may be different, so we are mindful of that for each and every time, and for each and every passenger. We have dedicated teams who look after every request and our Cabin Hostesses at VistaJet are trained by the British Butler Institute, Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and Norland College – so if you are travelling with little ones, pets, would like a Michelin-starred dining or wine tasting experience, or need the fastest WiFi available in the industry for your business meetings in the air, we provide the highest level of service on every flight. Our support doesn’t end there – we recently created VistaJet’s Private World, a global travel programme which offers Members rare and unfettered access to VistaJet’s preferred partners, from the best suites in the most in demand hotels and resorts, to destinations that are out of the ordinary to ensure total privacy, such as estates, islands and yachts. We always say yes, whenever it is safe to do so – even if it might take days to fine tune a flight, we are happy to make our clients’ life simple. Where do you see the industry in terms of advancement in 5 years? People are seeing the


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“When I see waste, I become ambitious — if something doesn’t make sense, it’s a natural inclination to challenge it.”

true value of business aviation – more corporate and private individuals are choosing the benefits of flying private and I believe this is going to continue into the year ahead. Mobility is a key trend for luxury – with global infrastructure, flexibility and guaranteed expertise. Executives want to be as efficient as possible and as mobile as possible. Its very technology driven. It’s about having information at your fingertips and booking immediately – you book right there online. They also want to know what’s out there, where the best restaurants are in every location. It’s all about bespoke, hightouch experiences. This is where I believe this industry is going. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in the current market? Agility and adaptability are key. Those businesses who have been nimble, particularly over this past year, are the ones that are going to succeed. Continuing to focus on what clients want is also fundamental – our business is about making flying simple and whatever that means today, we will adapt and stick to our promise. This is The Summer Escape Issue – where do you love to escape to? I hope I will get a few days off on some small Greek islands with just some local restaurants and beautiful turquoise waters.


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The rise and rise o f S audi A rab ia

John Pagano, the CEO of The Red Sea Development Company and Amaala, is playing a crucial role in determining the kingdom’s future spot on the global luxury tourism map WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

In 2017, John Pagano was made an offer he could hardly refuse. It was none other than Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, who asked the veteran property developer to come on board and lead the kingdom’s flagship Red Sea Project. “When I was approached about coming to Saudi Arabia, at first I wasn’t that interested. But they persuaded me to come. I met His Royal Highness, and I was honoured to have the future sovereign of this country directly ask me to lead what is a very near and dear project to him. It wasn’t just the project that attracted me as much as the effect that the project would have on helping transform the country and to bring it into a [new] era,” says Pagano. Pagano is the CEO of The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) that is spearheading the regenerative tourism mega Red Sea Project, which is a part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030. The development, aimed at attracting UHNWIs to a country with an enormous and vastly untapped potential for tourism, will have its own airport, ultra-luxury hotels and cutting-edge mobility solutions – spread out across 28,000 square kilometres. For scale, that’s a little smaller than Belgium. The former director of London’s Canary Wharf, who saw the London development project from its inception in the Margaret Thatcher era and spent 23 years with the


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group, was already retired when he was approached to lead TRSDC. While the Red Sea Project is its current flagship, Pagano didn’t get involved just to execute a single project, but rather create a regional real-estate giant. “The Red Sea Development Company is not a project company. It was never intended to be just the Red Sea. I wanted to build a real estate champion for the kingdom, to be able to not only do the Red Sea, but other projects starting domestically – Amaala is the manifestation of that vision – regionally, and potentially globally too.” In January this year, following the roaring success that the under-construction Red Sea Project has already enjoyed, he was additionally appointed as the CEO of Amaala – another ultra-luxe project located further up the Western coast of Saudi Arabia. More on that soon, but first the Red Sea. The first phase of construction at the Red Sea Project is well underway. The team aims to deliver 16 hotels, of approximately 3,000 hotel rooms, an international airport, and a new village to house the approximately 14,000 people that are going to live and work at the destination. “We hope to complete the first few hotels at the end of next year, and then the balance of that phase by 2023,” says Pagano. While the scale and ambition of the project is impressive, its trump card really will be its positioning as a global reference


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“Our focus at the Red Sea is primarily on nature, ecotourism and sustainability. The main focus for Amaala is on arts and culture, and a very strong emphasis on wellness.”

regenerative tourism project. There were conservation scientists, rather than just engineers and architects, who were brought on board at the earliest stages of the project. “The islands that we chose to develop on were borne out of a very detailed planning exercise which was to create a computer simulation, where we divided up the entire lagoon into 30,000 squares assigning a conservation value [to every square].” Each island was therefore assigned a conservation value, and the islands where construction would have the least impact on its flora and fauna were selected for development. As Pagano explains, there are 90 islands that are a part of the Red Sea development, with plans to build on no more than 22 of them – leaving 75 per cent of the islands untouched. Sustainability was a waypoint, regeneration is the goal. “Sustainability is simply distilled down to not making a mess of the place, whereas regeneration seeks to leave the place better than when you arrived. The goal we set for ourselves was to actually increase the conservation value of the destination by 30 per cent over the next couple of decades.” For an area that is rich in marine biodiversity, mangroves, seagrasses and marine life including the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle and green turtles, it’s difficult to understate the importance of regenerative tourism in this area of the kingdom. As part of the regenerative tourism concept, Pagano says that while the area can accommodate 10 million visitors a year, he will be limiting it to a million visitors, “based on our environment-caring capacity.” The 75 per cent of the islands on which construction will not take place will be set aside as conservation areas, to which access will be restricted for guests visiting the area. “There is an island called Al-Waqadi which is a favourite nesting site for turtles. We’ll bring people there to experience it, but under very strict and controlled conditions.” Amaala, the project that Pagano is now directly overseeing, differs from the Red Sea Project in its mandate. “Our focus at the Red Sea is primarily on nature, ecotourism and sustainability. The main focus for Amaala is on arts and culture, and a very


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strong emphasis on wellness,” explains Pagano. The first phase of development at Amaala consists of six hotels and roughly 1,000 hotel keys, the construction of which is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024. “Subsequent phases will be built out by the end of 2025, and then ultimately the entire project by the end of 2027 which in the aggregate will be about 3,000 hotel rooms across around 25 hotels.” Between the Red Sea and Amaala, Pagano will deliver around 11,000 hotel rooms. If you think that’s an unreasonable amount, he cites an example of an area of roughly only 50 kilometres along the French Riviera, including Nice and Cannes, which has around 40,000 rooms between them. In a bid to attract tourist by the droves, Saudi already introduced its first international tourism e-visa in September 2019, and by March 2020 said that it had issued more than 400,000 tourism visas. While Saudi, under the leadership of the current crown prince, has taken several steps to modernize its approach to societal and cultural rules, Pagano says that special economic zones within the Red Sea and Amaala will serve a similar end. “These special economic zones allow us to create a business-friendly regulatory environment to attract investors. In addition, it allows us the ability to have more relaxed social norms and we can have different rules that apply within the zone.” Both the Red Sea

Project and Amaala are financially backed by the Public Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund. “With the Red Sea, our equity is committed, so we have the capital to build the first phase. I am signing a debt financing package raising SAR14.1bn. I’ve awarded SAR15bn, including a PPP contract [with the Acwa Power consortium]. To date, I’ve already spent SAR4.5bn.” Pagano’s PPP contract signed with Acwa Power last year was a monumental one. “The consortium will build our utility infrastructure, including power, white water, wastewater, municipal waste and district cooling. The power is 100 per cent renewable energy – the largest tourism destination in the world to be powered exclusively by renewables. We’re building the largest battery storage system in the world too. We have the largest district cooling plant, powered by renewable energy in the world,” says Pagano. Amaala is a smaller-scale project, and the equity for it has already been committed by PIF. “In time, we’ll be tapping the debt markets to raise debt financing. We’re looking and talking to green mobility providers to provide terrestrial, air and marine mobility solutions for the destination.” Together, the Red Sea and Amaala are poised not just to become a magnet for tourists over the course of this decade, but are being conceived as a means to transform the trajectory of a country where around twothirds of its population is currently under the age of 35. “For me, [the projects] are about bringing a new generation of young Saudis into not only the tourism industry, but also the real estate and development space. One of the greatest prides I have is that we launched an elite graduate programme where we’re hired 30 people last year, trained them and they became full-time employees. We did it again this year. Last year, we had 16,000 applications for 30 places. This year we had 23,000 applications. For me, the greatest satisfaction I would have is for these young Saudis to really grow and become the leaders of this business taking it forward.” The Saudi Crown Prince knew precisely back then the ramifications for his kingdom of the offer he made to Pagano.


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P riv ate A c c ess

Apple introduces AirTag, an iPhone accessory that provides a private and secure way to easily locate the items that matter most

AirTag Loop White Dhs129 Apple

AirTag Hermès Bag Charm Orange Dhs1,199 Apple

The Design. Each round AirTag is small and lightweight, features precision-etched polished stainless steel, and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. A built-in speaker plays sounds to help locate AirTag, while a removable cover makes it easy for users to replace the battery. The Magic. AirTag features the same magical setup experience as AirPods —


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just bring the AirTag close to your iPhone and it will connect. Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choosing. The Precision. Each AirTag is equipped with the Apple-designed U1 chip using Ultra Wideband technology, enabling Pre-


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AirTag Hermès Key Ring Fauve Dhs1,399 Apple

cision Finding5 for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users. This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range. As a user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope, and then will guide them to AirTag using a combination

of sound, haptics, and visual feedback. The Privacy. AirTag is designed from the ground up to keep location data private and secure. No location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is endto-end encrypted so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and


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no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it. Expanding the Find My ecosystem customers can personalise AirTag with free engraving, including text and a selection of 31 emoji, when purchasing from or the Apple Store app.


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way I could make sense of the world really in my mind was through art, so when I was painting and drawing things made sense to me. Art helps me feel I fit into the world and that’s why I continued painting and it’s the only place really where things made sense. So I developed that for, I guess, a sense of necessity rather than anything else and it became very explorative of emotion and expression.


The R ec o rd B reak er World-renowned artist Sacha Jafri is here to change the world one incredible piece of art at a time


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After school, I went on to study Fine Art, Art Theory and Art History at Oxford University. From there, I got into the Royal Academy in London and by age 22 I had my own studio and I just started painting. I got very lucky, my first exhibition I had at age 23 and a lot of celebrities turned up – Madonna and Guy Richie, Sadie Frost, Kate Moss, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Michael Kane. I think their interest in my work obviously helped springboard my career, and at a very young age, I had quite a lot of attention, which can go one of two ways. Luckily, I didn’t really let it affect me, and it just supported me as a platform for more people to see my work. I learned a lot from Mr Nelson Mandela, I worked closely alongside him and that really inspired most of my philanthropic journey, which began with George Clooney, John Prendergast, and Mr Mandela, and that really inspired me to realise that art can be something more than an aesthetic, it can be more than a trigger to shock, it can be more than a platform to evoke conversation and political satire, it can actually do more. It can elevate the soul, it can inspire us, and most importantly, it can help do good for humanity. I also worked closely with Prince William, helping with his charities on mental health, closely with his father, Prince Charles in the Prince’s Trust, supporting various children’s charities, closely with UNICEF, with the Global Gift Foundation, with a lot of charities around the world. I found that when I was creating work that also helped less fortunate children and linked to humanity my work became better, more interesting, more poignant and seemed to have a purpose that I was interested in pursuing. You recently broke the world record for the world’s largest painting. What brought about this project? I felt that humanity wasn’t going in a very good direction. I had the biggest year of my life in 2020, where I was doing the Japan Olympic painting, a painting for the Expo in Dubai, and I was doing my 18 Year Retrospective world tour, which was going to 35 cities in 28 countries, and it was obviously a huge year for me. I have studios in Singapore, London, New York and Dubai and I work out of those cities. I was in Dubai and then lockdown happened, and I felt something very significant changed. I embarked on this journey and I wanted to evoke real societal change, I wanted to try and make a change that was very poignant, and I felt that change needed to be made, but could be made because I felt that we owed it to all those people that have lost their lives, and those families that have been torn apart to make a change, and if we couldn’t make it now, we never would.


Can you talk us through your career – how did you find yourself in the world of art? I went to Eton College, a school in England and I got an art scholarship there. I mainly played cricket and did my art – they were my two big things. I had a love of art, I would guess from age four, but I was heavily dyslexic, the world really didn’t make sense to me and I found things very difficult. School was a challenge and the only


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Can you talk us through the inspiration behind ‘The Journey of Humanity’? The first section of the painting was the ‘Soul of the Earth’, and how we can reconnect to the soul of the earth. The reason for that was because I felt we had as humanity become very disconnected from ourselves, each other, our creator, whoever he or she is to us, but most importantly from the soul of the earth, and when humanity becomes disconnected from the soul of the earth, we have a far bigger problem than COVID-19 can ever give us. It’s the end of humanity. We talk a lot about how our planet is being destroyed, but what we don’t realize is how humanity is crumbling, and we need to concentrate on that as well. The two are both as important as each other. I wanted to shine a light on the state of humanity and how we might be able to improve, with love and empathy, treating everyone equally. I put a call-out to the children of the world where I got all their artwork and pasted them into portals within my painting, and that was a beautiful thing because it encapsulated a moment in history of what was in these children’s hearts and souls around the world. Children from every walk of life, from orphans in refugee camps to the privileged in the Western world sent their artwork. And that became something so beautiful and so powerful, and that just kept inspiring me to keep going when I felt at many moments I couldn’t. And with that, a simple message became clear, which was, if one man could spend 20 hours a day for 8 months creating this painting, which ended up being just under 18,000 square feet, imagine what 7.5 billion people could do together, if we stop the nonsense, the discrimination, the hate, the judgment, the manipulation, the lies, and we united, imagine what we could do. I really focused everything I had, not only with the painting, but with everything I did outside of the painting on trying to create a platform that could unite humanity and give us hope as a united force. Did you expect the painting to be auctioned for such a high value, $62 million? No, the original plan was to do six auctions around the world. Our target that we said to Dubai Cares when we approached them, we said we would hope to be able to raise $25 million for you, and they actually said, well, it would be amazing if you could raise $30 million. And so, we said okay, we’ll give it a shot! People thought we were crazy… how can you set yourself a target like that in a time like this? So, we embarked on this journey and I created the painting, we had a tiny team of four people, Falguni Wheadon, Simrin Vaswani, Pyong Sumaria and Lori Moggy and they are the

people that gave their time for free, they gave their heart and soul for a period in total of 15 months. But without them, we wouldn’t have achieved what we achieved. We had this understanding that we wanted to be able to raise that money for Dubai Cares, for them to then distribute those funds to UNICEF, UNESCO and The Global Gift Foundation, who were three charities that we believed in. That was the goal. The painting took seven months to create, but then it took another five months to cut it up, roll it, stretch it onto stretchers, catalogue each and every bit, number each and every bit, and then hang the final creation, my artwork and vision for my Painting, ‘The Journey of Humanity’, in the Atlantis the Palm ballroom. So, if you imagine I painted for seven months, I then spent the next five months cutting it, stretching it, hanging it in Atlan-

“I was blown away. It was very emotional. It just made me feel very grateful to be honest, because the painting sold for $62 million.” tis, and then we came to auction and we had a lot of interest, but we sort of said between ourselves, the team that is, if we had a bid over $30 million for the entire painting, which was the commitment we’ve made to Dubai Cares, we would then sell the painting as one, but we didn’t expect it would necessarily happen! And then on the night of the auction we had that bid of over $30 million, so we did the auction of the whole painting as one, and we actually were astounded. I was blown away. It was very emotional. It just made me feel very grateful to be honest, because the painting sold for $62 million. It was a beautiful auction with people bidding on the phones, on the floor, between each other, and it went to someone in the room, which was fantastic. But the nice thing is the guy that bought it, he bought it because he wanted the painting to remain as one. And that’s a beautiful thing. You have clients the globe-over. Which other projects have been ambitious to date? I have a 25-year career as an artist, and I


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have a lot of buyers, and collectors around the world. That’s sort of the type of artist I am, and I’m lucky that I have interest in a lot of different countries, which I feel really grateful for. I think that’s the whole point of being an artist really, to spread your work around the world and hope to engage in as many communities, and cultures as possible because then maybe you can make a difference as an artist. I’m very fortunate to be in that position. There are a lot of big projects that I’ve done and there are a few more coming up. I’ve done commissions for some reasonably incredible people including Mr Mandela, Virat Kohli, David Beckham, Roger Federer. I was commissioned for the painting to celebrate the 25 years of the British Premier League, the painting to celebrate the anniversary of Wimbledon, the Lawn Tennis Association in England, a painting to celebrate the Grand Prix in Monaco for Prince Albert, a commission to celebrate the Hundred Greatest Living Muslims for Prince Charles. I did a beautiful project for Prince William at the Saatchi Gallery, where we raised a lot of money, and that’s what my work’s always been about and will continue to be about. What would you say have been the milestones in your career? Recently in Dubai, I did two special pieces specifically for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 100 Million Meal Campaign, and we managed to raise a huge amount of money from those two paintings, which is such great news because I think it’s a fantastic cause that can help a lot of children around the world. But it’s still the case of fine, feed them today but what happens tomorrow? The reason why I got involved and felt that the project was really something quite superb was the fact that it’s linked to the UN’s World Food Program, and World Food Bank aiming to end world hunger by 2030, to completely eradicate hunger and malnutrition throughout the poorest communities of the world by 2030. What do you see your next big project being? My 18 Year Retrospective is currently on view at the Leila Heller Gallery in Alserkal. It is the most stunning Gallery and I’m so happy to be there for people to see my work. Leila Heller has a beautiful soul and the Gallery has an incredible energy. As far as things coming up in the future, I’ll be doing something for Tokyo for the Olympics and for Expo 2020. I’ll be continuing with my 18 Year Retrospective world tour, and I have a very interesting collection inside me that I think is going to further amplify my message from ‘The Journey of Humanity’, which is really to try and embrace every culture of the world, every community, to try and connect us as one humanity. 83

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The A rt R ev o l utio n

Artist Kristel Bechara has created a storm with the Middle East’s first blockchain-backed NFT tokenised digital art series – and she’s only getting started Break out a calculator – and take a deep breath. When Christie’s listed its first purely digital artwork called Everydays: The First 5000 Days which was authenticated by a blockchain-based non-fungible token (NFT) system in February this year, it did so for a mere $100. By the time the gavel fell, artist Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, had secured a staggering winning bid of $69,346,250 for his work. Punch in those numbers and you’ll find this to be an over 69.34 million per cent increase from the initial listing price. It made Beeple the third highest-grossing living artist for a work sold at auction – behind Jeff Koons whose Rabbit steel sculpture that hammered for $91.1m in 2018 and David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) that sold for a little over $90m that same year. Expectedly, there has been pitched debate within the art world whether Beeple’s digital art, essentially a Jpeg, can even be classified as a genuine piece of art. Those who are convinced that NFT-backed digital artwork is


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not merely a case of the Dutch Tulips, have scrambled to enter the booming market. Among them is Dubai-based artist, Kristel Bechara, who recently became the first Arab female artist from the Middle East to sell an NFT digital artwork. Before we get to Bechara, the milliondollar question – or perhaps the 69-million-dollar question – is what is an NFT? In a nutshell: Non-fungible tokens are immutable blockchain-backed certificates that attest to the authenticity of a particular piece of digital work. The certificates are unique and cannot be tampered with after they have been created. The most commonly used blockchain platform for NFTs currently is Ethereum, which uses the Ether cryptocurrency to transact. The NFT tokens can be applied to a piece of music, an online article, or even a tweet – just as much as they can to digital art. Lebanese artist Bechara recently became interested in digital artwork. But she has been a professional artist for over a de-

cade now. “I’ve been influenced by my late father, who was a surrealist artist and a sculptor. I was always encouraged to create art and express myself, so I grew up nurturing this talent.” Making a career as a fulltime artist wasn’t always on the cards for Bechara. In fact, for the first five years after moving to Dubai in the early Noughties, she worked as a graphic designer for a technology company. But by 2008, buoyed by a desire to make a career out of what had only been a part-time hobby until that point, she quit her job and became a full-time artist. Operating out of her studio in the Oryx Tower on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, the recurring theme in Bechara’s work over the last few years is feminism. Apart from the creation of photographic imagery using oil, acrylic and giclée printmaking mediums, she says her style involves stencil-like drawings that “are combined with modern mixed media lines to form multi-layered fantasy paintings.” Some of her most notable collections include the Ask a Woman


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that dwells on the thoughts and feelings of women, with one of the paintings within this collection depicting Sophia Lauren holding a multi-coloured doughnut just before devouring it, and another one called Tres Joli Bigoudi which is an image of Angelina Jolie with can-sized curlers in her hair. Dwelling further on the theme of iconic women is Bechara’s other collection called Inamorata. It includes painting of Frida Kahlo, Brigette Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy, among others. Bechara’s art has also been used to make powerful social statements. In 2019, she created a commissioned painting called She Is King that covered only 52.4 per cent of the canvas. It was a deliberate attempt to


highlight that, on average, women get paid 47.6 per cent less than male artists. That painting is currently located within the Standard Chartered Bank HQ in London, while you’ll find other examples of Bechara’s work in galleries and private collections around the world. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with stay-at-home orders issued last year in most countries, has had a crippling effect on the arts. Bechara used the period though to work on an all-new collection called Psychomachia. “It was a traumatising time and I moved my studio to my home. I was able to work for long hours and poured myself into my work to create this collection. I worked on the Psychomachia collection over nearly 11 months and it consists of 26 paintings. I like to think of it [the Covid-19 pandemic] as one that wasn’t easy, but I found peace when creating this collection.” But it’s her latest collection showcased earlier this year, her first-ever NFT tokenized digital art series, that has stirred the art world. Called the Beauty in Diversity & DeFi collection, the first creation was the NFT-backed Satoshi Nakamoto digital artwork that depicted an image of the presumed creator of Bitcoin. That piece of art was made available on the NFT marketplace,, and sold in under 24 hours for 1.10 Eth (approximately $1,950). “The NFTs are smart contracts on the blockchain that no one can edit or delete after it has been created, so it lends authenticity to a piece of work. The NFT can also include the details of the artwork including where was it made, the location of it, and it


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will also include information about when it changes hands and is re-sold, so you can easily track the provenance of it,” says Bechara. But one of the biggest revolutions for artists adopting NFTs would be for them to enjoy lifelong royalty fees for their work. The NFT, adds Bechara, allows the creator to earn a fixed percentage of royalty on any subsequent resale of the piece, provided that a provision for it has been entered into the NFT contract. “When creating the NFT, the creator can specify up to a maximum of 10 per cent royalty fee on an artwork. Therefore, each time it is resold and changes hands, the artist will be paid the percentage of royalty fee specified within the NFT smart contract.” Building on the success that her art has had on the blockchain, starting in April this year, Bechara now offers cryptocurrency payments for all her artwork including the physical ones as well as digital artwork. She has also offered her clients the option of printing out a very high-quality version of the digital artwork they purchase from her and have it shipped to them should they want something to show on their walls. Bechara vigorously defends the medium of digital art and its standing within the sometimes highfalutin art world. For her, the process of creating digital art is in no way inferior to traditional artwork. “I use the same unique style for digital art as I do with a canvas. The process is the same, but the tools are different. So instead of a canvas, I use a tablet, and instead of brushes, I use a Wacom pen.” The Psychomachia collection is currently on display at her new gallery space which opened this year within the Gate Avenue of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This month, the Psychomachia collection will be replaced by Tribute to Masters – think Rafello Santi’s angels, Auguste Rodin’s Despair and Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait, among others –with Bechara having recently added new paintings to this collection. In Bechara’s world, digital and traditional artwork can and does co-exist harmoniously. Bechara followed up the digital Satoshi Nakamoto artwork, with three more digital art pieces including the Byzantine General’s Shield, Fomo, and Don’t Defy Defi – Elon Musk, all of which were listed on the NFT marketplace Incidentally, it was Dubai-based company 3F Music that purchased Bechara’s Byzantine Shield – days before it purchased the NFT version of Kevin Roose’s New York Times column for $560,000. Bechara’s got the right captive audience hooked for her digital NFT artwork. She best keep a calculator at the ready. 85

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The W inning M indset The British & Irish Lions Rugby Union team’s key leaders share their approach to adopting a winning mindset this season






Phillips was capped 94 times for Wales (including Grand Slams in 2008 & 2011) and 5 times for the British & Irish Lions, with over 300 professional club appearances for teams in Wales, England & France

Head of Sports Broadcasting at ARN, McHardy has established himself at the ‘Voice of Sport in the UAE’

What’s your approach to health and fitness? Being a professional sportsman for almost 20 years meant that I took health and fitness for granted, as I was training or playing rugby every day, working with nutritionists and conditioning coaches. Since retiring, moving to Dubai and becoming a father, I understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping fit is still a key focus and drive for me. My weekly routine still involves a daily 5k run as well playing touch rugby and football every week. I am also a keen golfer so as the body gets older I am still able to keep the competitive spirit in me alive. How would you define the champion mindset? My upbringing in a small West Wales farming village, my values, my dreams and my focus are all factors in the winning mentality that I apply to everything that I do and who I am. It comes from within as that drives me to be the very best. Who do you predict to win the Lions tour this year? As I discovered when I played there in the 2009 series, South Africa is the ultimate challenge – especially with them being the current World Champions once again. It is the ultimate accolade to be selected to be a British & Irish Lion and this pride and determination will see the Lions win a brutal and extremely close series 2-1. I think the fact that South Africa have not had the same level of competitive matches over the past year due to the pandemic will give the Lions the edge, but it will be very close. What benefits has being based in the UAE brought to light? Dubai is now my home and gives me the opportunity to start a new chapter for my family and career. The huge expat community and Welsh language society have welcomed us with open arms and I am keen to give back by sharing my knowledge, skills, experiences and stories to them.


What’s your approach to health and fitness? I’d be lying if I said I had much of a plan! The key for me is balance and keeping it simple. As people who know me will testify, at least, I’m not a gym-bunny. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to the gym. My idea of a physical workout is a game of golf which I’ve become obsessed with since becoming a father for the first time and also due to the pandemic. It provides me with a little escape from the the stress and strains of everyday life. As for my approach to overall health, I’m not one for the latest dietary fads as I tend to keep it clean Sunday-Wednesday and then indulge over the weekend. How would you define the champion mindset? It’s quite simple, a champion never quits. They may lose and that’s OK, we’ve all been there after all, but learning to cope with setbacks and obstacles is at the core of any champion. The other key attribute is sacrifice. I’ll always remember swimming legend Michael Phelps telling me why he never took a single day off in six years. ‘Because I got 52 days extra each year over my rivals.’ It’s that sacrifice which separates the good from the great and who am I to argue with the most decorated Olympian of all-time. The mindset of a champion is flexible and strong. Champions harbour the ability to cope with setbacks and obstacles, while they also have the strong will to succeed and overcome any failures that come their way. It is their strong belief in themselves or a higher power that keeps them mentally adept and resilient. Who do you predict to win the Lions tour this year? I’ll whisper it quietly, but I really do fancy the Lions to maul the Springboks and win the series, 2-1. South Africa’s chronic inactivity since winning the Rugby World Cup in November 2019 plays into the hands of the tourists, as does the absence of spectators due to the pandemic. Those factors alone means its the Lions’ best chance of success since their last triumph in 1997. 87

Wassily™ Chair by Marcel Breuer 1925 Dhs10,625 available at Knoll


The coolest finds to add to the mancave WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS


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Bookstand – Clear Dhs370 Assouline available at AMARA

From top: Large Arc Floor Lamp by Gepo Amsterdam, 1960s Dhs5,740 available at; Martinelli Luce Cobra table lamp, white Dhs3,160 available at

From left: MALM Bed frame Dhs845 Ikea; Helmut Newton: Autobiography Dhs87 available at; New York by New York Book Dhs970 Assouline available at AMARA; USM Nightstand P2 Storage System Dhs3,530 per piece available at


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SUMMER EATS Dubai’s five-star chefs share their hero dishes

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Chef Patron at LPM Restaurant & Bar The Hero Dish The Seafood Paella – one of 10 dishes that I created in celebration of LPM Dubai’s 10year anniversary.


Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI The Hero Dish Our Squid Ink Spaghetti is one dish everyone needs to try this summer. It includes shredded crab, shrimp, Korean chilli flakes, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese and crispy shallots.

CHEF GIAMPIETRO GIUSEPPE Head Chef of Scalini Dubai The Hero Dish

During the hot summer days, I love to focus on citrus flavours and light, refreshing dishes. My hero dish would be the Artichoke Salad, it has a delicate and fragrant taste that invigorates the senses. A delicacy that Italians have enjoyed for centuries, artichokes have a tender texture and unique, unmistakable taste.


Concept Creator of Gaia and Carine The Hero Dish Summer is a time to celebrate the outdoors and soak in the beauty of nature. When the weather gets warmer, I love to focus on fresh seafood, balanced with citrus and light spices that enhance the natural flavours with an intense, invigorating taste. Our Harissa Prawns are a tender and succulent dish, with a little kick and hint of spice.



Chef at Bella Restaurant & Lounge The Hero Dish

tuna, scallops or seabass, cured in the acidic juices of citrus fruit and delicately combined with an array of vegetables or fruit and herbs to give contrasting textures, colours and flavours. Our Tuna Watermelon Ceviche is the perfect refreshing dish for a warm summer evening. It is a tantalizing mix of fresh Yellow Fin Tuna from the Maldives, adorned with sweet and vibrant watermelon in a delicately spiced and zesty lemon sauce.

MANSOUR MEMARIAN Chef at Palazzo Versace Dubai The Hero Dish

Bella’s hero summer dish is a favourite with many of our guests already, Insalata Bella – the signature Bella Salad. This light yet flavourful citrus salad is the perfect dish to enjoy in the summer.

Salad Chupan is the ideal summer dish. Refreshing, colourful and requires only a few ingredients. The watermelon is quickly panseared to create a sweet and juicy crunch and placed aside a creamy homemade Persian cheese topped up with crunchy walnuts, candied olives and cress.



You will find an abundance of mouthwatering Ceviche’s on our menu throughout the summer. Guests can choose from chilled

Burrata au Melon which is comprised of compressed melons, wagyu coppa, toasted hazelnuts, cantaloupe dressing and basil.

Head Chef of Iris The Hero Dish

Head Chef at Bagatelle The Hero Dish


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ST E V E N N Y U G E N Chef at Indochine DIFC The Hero Dish

The aptly named summer rolls are a perfect starter. It’s a fresh roll filled with fresh seasonal vegetables, vermicelli, and Vietnamese herbs. They’re not fried so they make a very nice light start to any meal. My other go-to summertime dish would be our Sea Bream Carpaccio. It was based on the original Fluke carpaccio from the New York location. It’s light, refreshing and very addictive.


Chef at Thiptara, Palace Downtown The Hero Dish Our Mango Sticky Rice is a must-have for summer. It’s the ideal dessert to indulge in, but is also not too heavy during the warmer months.


Chef at LDC Kitchen + Coffee The Hero Dish The Strawberry Cheesecake Eton Mess consist of fresh berries tossed in sweet strawberry reduction, cheesecake mousse, hazelnut crumble and crispy meringue – a perfect summer dessert.


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THE BEAUTY OF CEYLON AMAN, superlative in every sense

Whether you prefer contemporary or colonial, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination to unwind and explore.


Sitting alongside Sri Lanka’s sundrenched south coast, amongst lush jungle, Amanwella is a contemporary beach retreat with an attention to detail in terms of service and aesthetics that is unlikely to be surpassed. A private beach, infinity pool, coconut palms and revered temples reveal themselves leaving you in awe, ensuring you’ll want to return. THE MUST-DO: A leopard safari at Yala National Park


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Amangalla lies within the ramparts of Sri Lanka’s 17th-century Galle Fort, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Offering views of the Fort and harbour on one side and the hotel’s lush gardens and swimming pool on the other, the historic residence presents loftyceilinged suites, elegant fine dining and a tranquil spa complex known as The Baths. THE MUST-DO: Try the crab curry – otherworldly.

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The W anderl ust Immerse yourself in an aromatic, sensory experience at these luxurious resorts 94



Below: Fuchun Resort, Hangzhou, China; Blanket Hotel & Spa, Munnar, India; Right: Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka

ELEWANA ARUSHA COFFEE LODGE, TANZANIA This resort is hidden amongst one of Tanzania’s largest coffee plantations. Comprising of 30 Plantation Houses that radiate out into the evergreen coffee fields, Arusha Coffee Lodge has been designed around the original landowner’s home that dates back to the early 1900s. For more information visit



CEYLON TEA TRAILS, SRI LANKA Former residences of British tea estate managers, this Sri Lankan Resort has now been converted into opulent bungalows which make the Ceylon Tea Trails perched at an altitude of 1250 metres in the Ceylon tea region. When visiting, guests can replace their usual morning coffee routine and immerse themselves in the delicious teas of the region. The central Sri Lankan Ceylon Tea Trails sit on a working tea estate, and use the nearby resource to offer quality brews and tea infused cuisine. For more information visit

FUCHUN RESORT, HANGZHOU, CHINA Set in the Chinese countryside, two hours from Shanghai, Fuchun Resort is tea resort which embodies the true meaning of tranquility, peace and refinement. The Hangzhou region is famous for its tea, which the resort regularly pays homage to, and guests can even take part in harvesting of the tea, but only in April and May when it takes place. However, regular tea appreciation sessions take place at the resort all-year round and guests can relax in the resort’s luxury spa, enjoy the walking trails and take part in Chinese calligraphy and painting workshops. For more information visit MAYFAIR TEA RESORT, SILIGURI, INDIA This resort is India’s first Boutique Tea Resort which welcomes everyone to “an experience of luxury that is unlike no other”. The structure was built in the 16th century with Tudorstyle architecture and features vintage furnishings, classic centuries-old collectibles, chequered black and white flooring carved with Italian marble. Guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in the history of tea in the region with many different activities available. For more information visit


BLANKET HOTEL & SPA, MUNNAR, INDIA On a leafy hill station surrounded by tea plantations in Munnar, India, this resort immerses its guests in the lush greenery of the region. With 42 rooms, the hotel encourages its guests to truly switch off and enjoy all that nature has to offer in the region. For more information visit



Original Cabin in Mars Orange Dhs3,990 Rimowa

TO SPACE AND BEYOND Against the backdrop of the successful Emirates Mars Mission earlier this year, this Rimowa Mars collection allows you to thoroughly enjoy some terrestrial summer escapes of your own


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Emirates Man - June 2021" The Summer Escape Issue"  

The Summer Escape Issue.

Emirates Man - June 2021" The Summer Escape Issue"  

The Summer Escape Issue.

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