A Flying Visit to the UAE

October 11, 2022 International

Last month Clockmakers Ben and Tony returned from the United Arab Emirates where they were carrying out pre-planned maintenance work. Reflecting on the trip, Ben describes how he and Tony had flown in to undertake services on the bespoke centrepiece clocks Smith of Derby had created for the Waldorf Astoria group of hotels, first at the Waldorf Astoria at the Dubai International Financial Centre and then at the Waldorf Astoria in Ras al Khaimah.

The clock at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre

When entering the hotel lobbies Ben, who hadn’t yet started working for the company when the clocks were made, describes both clocks as having stunning designs, albeit different in theme; with the Art Deco style of DIFC contrasting with the more traditional but opulent look at RAK. According to Tony, so much gold leaf was required in the process of making the Waldorf Astoria RAK Clock that at the time we used up the UK’s entire supply of champagne gold leaf.

The clock and ceiling above at the Waldorf Astoria in Ras al Khaimah.

Following their visit to Dubai and Ras al Khaimah, Ben and Tony then flew to Doha in Qatar to construct a traditional pillar clock. This was in the middle of a roundabout on The Pearl – an artificial island completed in 2006 spanning nearly four square kilometres and home to 27,000 residents – a roundabout on the road leading down to the Amir’s third palace. The pillar clock was part of a string of construction jobs in Qatar in preparation for the upcoming Football World Cup.

Ben Lee

The range of work our clockmakers and engineers undertake in different parts of the world reflects the variety of skills in our team and the enthusiasm amongst our clients for quality time-pieces, no matter the time-zone. Ben has gained valuable knowledge from the experiences in the UAE. His accompanying Tony, an experienced member of the team, is testament to Ben’s sustained progression and our company’s commitment to fostering talent and ensuring the knowledge of clock manufacture and care is passed on to future generations. With Ben’s father John, still with the company after more than 50 years we are proud to call ourselves a family company – in the fullest sense.

About the author

Nicholas Whitworth: