Whilst the big news regarding UK based horological events was the postponement of Salon QP until 2020, 300 collectors, enthusiasts and a smattering of journalists, plus 18 independent brands, were present in the centre of London last night to celebrate all that is good within the non-Bond Street realm of the watch industry.
In the same way the AHCI booth in Basel was formed through the mindset of collective promotion, so too has the Watchmakers Club emerged. One of the issues that arose from the popularity of Salon QP was a sense of there being a significant number of guests present (on the opening evening in particular where champagne flows endlessly) more typically seen at a Central London freebie night out. Big brands started to appear more frequently muscling out the independent makers. Last year for example, I walked past the zany, yet ultra talented Konstantin Chaykin and the upcoming young genius that is Cyril Brivet-Naudot, in London for the first time, looking rather forlorn as they had been almost secreted away in a corner of the venue where footfall was low.
Salon QP is under new ownership so it has been argued that the new proprietors, Hearst, are still finding their feet. The Watchmakers Club though was created as a tight contingent of independent creators who had previously noticed fewer actual watch collectors appearing at Salon. What began as in informal gathering just before Salon began turned into a biannual event arranged by Dave Brailsford of Garrick Watch Co (they produce around 30 watches in the East of England and partnered with Andreas Strehler to design and manufacture their latest movement). The beauty of the event is fourfold: access to all timepieces present with brands often bringing their flagship offerings; limited number of invitees, obviously not so great for those who don’t manage to get on the guest list, but once you’re in, there’s plenty of time and space to see everything (it starts at 3pm and goes on till late); a rotation of brands so with a 6 month gap between events the chances are that within the year one can experience well over 20 different independent brands; and finally, and I think most importantly, the event tries very hard to avoid talk of business, so you won’t really see retailers there.
Certainly an event that those in London around November time, should try very hard to attend. It presents a really interesting model for the watch industry especially seeing as the event is free and so is bar most of time! Not a profit making endeavour, rather an arena for real watchmaking and watch talk.
Here follows a photographic replay of some of the highlights of the evening beginning with the Garrick S2. I very much hope you enjoy the images.
Till Lottermann’s futurology: A most creative way to repurpose built in obsolescence. Base movement is a Unitas 6497. Till was presenting with International Watch Seminar, a small organisation that arranges weekend programmes for enthusiasts and keen amateurs to build their own watch.
Sparkling aventurine dial on a Czapek & Cie Quai de Bergues
Another variation of the Quai des Bergues with a ‘secret signature’, here displaying a quote from David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’.