The Watchmakers Club

Jun 06, 2019,16:51 PM

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.



Next, some beautiful finishing from Lonville, a brand started in 1873 and that had been dormant for 50 years until it was rebooted in 2015.

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’.

Patrik Sjögren of GoS watches (Gustafsson and Sjögren was in London again presenting some new outstanding Damascus steel dials with finer lines than have previously been seen on the watches dials.

273° Saphir fume by Zeitwinkel containing calibre ZW0103.

An outstanding unique Sauterelle from Andreas Strehler with in house damascus steel case. 

Some images of Andreas's Transaxial Tourbillon with remontoir d'egalite. 

Moritz Grossmann's long awaited hammer winding Hamatik: beautifully executed and complicated to match with more parts than the Benu tourbillon. Technical and aesthetic triumphant. 

And of course, the Cornerstone.

HYT. Astonishing.

Armin Strom and mirrored force resonance.

I never get bored of marvelling at the work of Jean March Wiederrecht, this time in Faberge's central jump hour Visionnaire DTZ. 

Retrograde peacock feathers: a first. 

Louis Moinet's Spacewalker 'Alexey Leonov' with hand painted dial and flying tourbillon. 

Not exhibiting, but still worth grabbing off a stranger to photograph: Manufacture Royal Androgyne Tourbillon

Cyrus and Jean Francois Mojon of Chronode with their Klepcys Vertical tourbillon with double retrograde indicators and a quick correction pushers for the hours. It looks as if Santiago Calatrava designed those 2 central bridges. Remarkable architecture.

And finally, a watch I had never seen on anyone's wrist outside of a show: Konstantin Chaykin's Joker. 

More posts: Andreas StrehlerBallon BleucalatravaFlying TourbillonHYTKonstantin ChaykinMoritz GrossmannZeitwinkel

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Comments: view entire thread


Thanks so much for sharing this event with the community! Great reporting!

 By: halgedahl : June 6th, 2019-17:40
More commentary later as I have time. FH

Hate how the big guys/companies squeeze out the small guys.

 By: DruidPadj : June 6th, 2019-18:03
Even when the small guys started an exhibition/exposition. If this succeeds on its own terms it will be wonderful.

We can only hope that's the case.

 By: Baruch Coutts : June 7th, 2019-00:57
Naturally, the independents struggle to garner the attention they deserve, and this type of event is significant in terms of exposure and, I think, format: a completely open and friendly occasion to go hands on with serious watchmaking and horological inn... 

I think everyone needs some retrograde peacock feathers in their life!

 By: Jay (Eire) : June 6th, 2019-18:54
Thanks for the photos, many interesting pieces. London might be on the cards for November!

Thank you Baruch!

 By: Spangles - Mr. Tabby : June 6th, 2019-19:21
Great report! Was Charles Frodsham there, by any chance?

Truly my pleasure.

 By: Baruch Coutts : June 7th, 2019-01:03
I meant to post the list of exhibitors (it is on the watchmakers ckub website in case you'd like to get an idea of the breadth of work on view). Richard Stenning of Frodsham was in attendance as an observer. I overheard a conversation with Richard and ano... 

👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 [nt]

 By: Spangles - Mr. Tabby : June 7th, 2019-03:36

My pleasure, believe me! [nt]

 By: Baruch Coutts : June 7th, 2019-01:03

Thanks for this great and comprehensive reporting

 By: BjoernM21 : June 6th, 2019-22:58
I admire particularly the quality of the photos considering the usually difficult light situation at such exhibition venues. The remark about the Independents being shuffled into "corners" when part of a main stream watch show is so appropriate. Looking b... 

You are most welcome Bjorn.

 By: Baruch Coutts : June 7th, 2019-01:18
There's a trick with regards photography: last year's venue had such poor lighting that a request was made for lightboxes in the exhibition space and the organisers duly obliged. There were 2 at the event, but they were so busy that it's likely to increas... 

Excellent photo report.

 By: VMM : June 7th, 2019-01:22
Thanks for sharing all those beauties with us. Vte

Great report and thanks for sharing

 By: Watchonthewrist : June 7th, 2019-03:23
To bad i didnt had the chance to be there this time , hope i will get a chance again in November 🙏🏻

I will 😉👍🏻 [nt]

 By: Watchonthewrist : June 7th, 2019-06:56

Thank you so much for this post....

 By: darmatgre-1 : June 21st, 2019-12:57
Loved every scan of it. Darren

A pleasure Darren. [nt]

 By: Baruch Coutts : June 27th, 2019-14:10