The attention of the watch industry turns to the UK in the anticipation of the fourth annual SalonQP, the only British event devoted solely to fine watchmaking. In the organization of the nation’s leading watch publication QP Magazine, around 50 high-end brands will be displaying the latest jewels of horology from 8 to 10 November in the Saatchi Gallery in London. Salon QP will showcase new exciting watches from around 40 high-end manufacturers, including some of the industry’s giants, alongside the independent and original watch manufacturers. The event will also include the latest products by the domestic watchmakers, as well as numerous presentations and discussions which will be attended by some of the leading authorities in the field. Besides, there will be a preview screening of The Watchmaker’s Apprentice, a documentary about the legendary watchmaker, late Dr George Daniels, and his only apprentice, Roger Smith. Featured by JLC’s Spherotourbillon, Tag Heuer’s Mikrotourbillon, Urwerk-210 and Harry Winston’s Opus 12, SalonQP in London will be displaying around 1,000 high-end watches in total.
After the last year’s edition of the fair that featured the record numbers of both exhibitors and visitors, SalonQP will once again be organized in the Saatchi Gallery which is located in Chelsea, the upscale area of Central London. The fair in the organization of the QP Magazine and its editor, James Gurney, will round up a wide and diverse selection of contemporary horological marvels. Such variety is caused by the fact that the list of exhibitors does not only include the industry’s giants (such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin) and independent brands that emerged relatively recently (for example MBF or Urwerk), but also the timepieces with wide array of designs (including classic styles, opulently decorated and quirky futuristic pieces). Regardless of the watches styling, as well as the size and the tradition of the exhibiting brands, all of the displayed timepieces are made in accordance with exceptionally high standards and can be considered as the pinnacle of the current watchmaking.
Stars of the Show
Despite the overall high standards of construction, four of the exhibited pieces are expected to be the most interesting to the visitors, and are marked as the stars of the show by the organizers. The first of them is Jeager-leCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon, firstly presented at this year’s edition of SIHH in Geneva where it stole the show and was proclaimed as the watch of the show by many pundits. It is a groundbreaking watch that features a multi-axis tourbillon which is much more capable of coping with the harmful effects of the gravity than the regular tourbillons are, and it features a dual-wing movement with the separate power sources for timekeeping and for complication.
The next star of the London event is TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS, the only mechanical chronograph that features both an extremely accurate stop watch function with the precision of 1/100th of a second and the tourbillon complication. As one of the highlights of the show, the organizers also marked the new piece by Urwerk UR-210 we recently reviewed. It features yet-unseen power efficiency complication, supplemented by the extraordinary large minute hand and the brand’s characteristic satellite hour display.
An innovative display of time is even more evident in the fourth watch that will be in the spotlight at SalonQP – Harry Winston Opus 12 timepiece. This amazing watch that was developed in the collaboration with the renowned watchmaker, Emmanuel Bouchet, lacks the traditional hour and minute hands. Instead, time is displayed with the use of markers, each including a blue hour and minute hands (shorter for hour) that flip from the neutral position at the appropriate moment.
Top-Notch British Watches
As it is quite appropriate for the country with such a rich horological tradition, distinguished by some of the most significant timekeeping innovations, SalonQP will also be displaying new timekeepers created by seven British watchmaking brands: Bremont, Speake-Marin, Thomas Mercer, Graham London, Robert Loomes & Co, Schofield and a new brand Meridian that will present its first model at the event.
A regular exhibitor at SalonQP, Bremont, had a lot of success in the previous edition of the event and its limited edition marine chronometer had one of the most exciting unveiling, since it was made in the collaboration with the legendary musician Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones who was also present at the Saatchi Gallery. For this year, the company founded by brothers Giles and Nick English has prepared The Victory Watch that includes components made from wood and copper, originating from the HMS Victory. It is a historic vessel, known best as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Part of the earnings from the new Bremont model will be used to fund the refurbishment of the battleship.
Peter Speake-Marin and his brand will be displaying its new Spirit watch, made, as all of the watchmaker’s products, with the accentuated personal and sentimental touch. It is a timepiece that sports a traditional British approach to design that features discrete elegance. Speaking of a typical British product, this sort of quality will be most notable in Robin watch by Robert Loomes & Co. Each of its components is entirely made in the UK. Robin’s beating heart is a revamped 1950’s English movement (originally produced by Smiths and worn by Edmund Hillary on his conquest of Mount Everest), the strap is made from leather originating from cattle grown in the vicinity of the brand’s Stamford workshop, and even sapphires are cut and polished in-house. SalonQP will also feature a premiere of Meridian Watches which still remain mysterious, while the only known traits are a military styling and that they are handmade in Britain.
A Tribute to George Daniels
Apart from the displayed timekeepers, SalonQP offers a preview screening of a film about one of the biggest horologists of modern era, George Daniels (best known as the inventor of groundbreaking co-axial escapement), who was one of the participants of the event in 2010. The documentary named The Watchmaker’s Apprentice is a tribute to the remarkable career of the late watchmaker and a story about his professional and personal relationship with his only student, Roger Smith. The documentary includes the final interview with Daniels before his passing, and the screening will be opened with a few words by the legendary watchmaker’s only apprentice.
All in all, the upcoming event in London will feature a diverse selection of top-notch timekeepers, a lot of additional activities, and a relaxed atmosphere where visitors are not pressured to buy the items. With such an approach, it is bound to attract a high attendance and intrigue the interest of watch aficionados not only in Britain, but all over the world.