Editor’s Note: This CNN series is, or was, sponsored by the country it highlights. CNN retains full editorial control over subject matter, reporting and frequency of the articles and videos within the sponsorship, in compliance with our policy.
Dubai is set to add another towering figure to its skyline.
The Aeternitas Tower, officially unveiled at a launch event last week, will be the world’s tallest residential clock tower at a staggering 450 meters (1,476 feet) tall — more than four times the height of London’s Big Ben, and just 22 meters (72 feet) short of the world’s tallest residential building, the Central Park Tower in New York City.
Set to become the world’s second-tallest clock tower (after the Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia), Aeternitas Tower is the result of a partnership between Dubai-based real estate developer London Gate and Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Franck Muller.
London Gate purchased the plot of land in Dubai Marina, which already had the beginnings of an unfinished 106-story structure — and knew that the tower’s monumental size needed a striking facade, said Tom Hill, media relations coordinator for the developer.
“We believe the clock will be seen from six kilometers away because of the sheer height of the building,” said Hill, adding that the clock face will be an enormous 40 meters (131 feet) tall and 30 meters (98 feet) wide.
“We wanted to do something different that hasn’t been done before in Dubai,” said Hill.
A timeless tower
The residential tower comprises 649 units, with a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartments, in addition to villa and mansion duplexes.
With housekeeping, a concierge service, and a 24-hour valet and porter, residents will have access to hotel-like services and facilities, but with the privacy and comfort of home.
Its shared amenities range from health facilities, including a gym, padel court, spa, yoga studio, and swimming pool, to arts and culture spaces such as a cinema, music room, and library.
The project will be handed over to residents in 2027, according to London Gate.
The tower’s name means “eternity” in Latin, and is inspired by the Franck Muller Aeternitas watch collection — one of the brand’s most complex designs which features an “eternal calendar,” said Erol Baliyan, managing director of Franck Muller in the Middle East and Africa.
The Swiss watchmaker sees its step into real estate as a move that will help create a monument that “mirrors the brand’s innovation, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance,” said Baliyan.
Aside from the striking clock face (inspired by Franck Muller’s art deco-style Long Island Collection, which has irregular squashed and stretched numbers in a rectangular case), the watchmaker will infuse its design ethos throughout the residence, said Baliyan.
He highlights luxury materials like brushed and polished metals, that will be contrasted with marble surfaces, textured fabrics and bold colors. Meanwhile, in the lobby and reception, the signature oblong face of the brand’s Curvex watch is represented with curved walls, archways, and oval furnishings.
“Attention to detail is paramount, with meticulously crafted joinery and carefully arranged lighting and furniture, ensuring a refined ambiance,” said Baliyan.
A booming market
The Aeternitas Tower is part of a growing trend in Dubai. Luxury property is booming in the Emirate, and branded residences — collaborations between designer brands and property developers — are surging in popularity.
As of October 2023, there were 51 completed projects in the city, a figure that is expected to double by 2030, according to Savills Research, with brands like fashion house Karl Lagerfeld, car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, and hoteliers 25Hours all announcing residential projects in the past year.
London Gate began phase one of its sales last week, with one-bedroom apartments starting at AED 1.6 million ($435,600).
“We’ve had an unbelievable level of interest since the launch,” said Hill, adding that in the first two days, London Gate sold around 30% of the initial 30-floor release, including all the available one-bedroom apartments.
Hill believes that one factor driving interest is the tower’s location in Dubai Marina, where there’s a scarcity of sites for development, adding that an “iconic tower” like the Aeternitas is the first project of its kind to break ground in the district past few years.
While this is London Gate’s first branded residence project, it won’t be its last, said Hill, adding that the company will announce its next branded partnership by the end of Q1 this year.
As a rapidly evolving market, property in Dubai is often sold off-plan, with buyers waiting years to see their purchase. This is where branded residences provide an extra layer of security, particularly for overseas buyers, said Hill.
“When you have a brand as world-renowned as Franck Muller, for example […] you have that peace of mind that you’re going to be handed over a world-class product,” he added.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com