The SalonQP 2017 was held in early November in its usual place, the Saatchi Gallery in London. The list of exhibitors that was set up is symbolic of the crisis that this type of event is going through in Europe. Major brands, with very few exceptions, are no longer involved, especially for budgetary reasons, what gives a strange feeling to visitors and raises the question of the economic balance of such an organization. Nevertheless, the SalonQP is doing very well thanks to a strong presence of high quality players of the independent watchmaking field. I can only welcome such gathering because once again, the SalonQP allowed me to meet brands that are not very visible in other circumstances. And what's more, some novelties have been presented for the first time at the Saatchi Gallery. So, even if the SalonQP doesn't have the same dynamic as a few years ago, its visit is nonetheless mandatory for any amateur of exclusive watchmaking.
The Saatchi Gallery:
I propose you my selection of watches that have marked me during this last edition. I will do my best to come back to some of them in detail in the coming weeks.
One of my favorite watches was the AdC 4 from the Atelier de Chronometrie (based in Bercelona). This stunning cloisonné enamel dial that does a slow revolution is poetic and fascinating. This revolution is not a complication since it doesn't display anything specific but it animates nicely the dial.
Akrivia with its AK-06 demonstrates once again that a tourbillon is not required to create a spectacular watch. This novelty presented in Basel is my favorite Akrivia piece. It is really eye-catching with a focus on the power reserve mechanism.
Armin Strom presented during the Salon two dial variations of its Mirrored Force Resonance. I really like the enamel one but the blue guilloché is very appealing too:
One of the most spectacular watches of the year is undoubtedly the Bovet Recital 20 Asterium. The top of the dial makes us travel in space and we almost forget the tourbillon! The picturial report doesn't show it but the back is even more beautiful. A two-side beauty.
David Candaux presented at the Saatchi Gallery a version with a steel case and a platinum dial of his Tourbillon 1740:
Coming from Austria, here comes Carl Suchy & Söhne with the well-known Walz No. 1 and its original "second display". The watch is animated by a Vaucher movement and Marc Jenni participates in the development of the brand.
Do I need to present this watch? It's one of the stars of the year! Konstantin Chaykin's Jocker puts its creator under the spotlights and that's good! I do hope that the Jocker will make his creativity more known and appreciated by the watches collectors.
Christian Van Der Klaauw is the brand specialist of astronomical watches. The Planetarium is unique and gives the unique sensation of having (wearing) several planets (and the Sun!) on the wrist! The complication is certainly very slow but extremely fascinating. You don't feel the weight of the world... but of the Solar System!
Czapek enlarged its Quai des Bergues collection. The basic of the collection now comes with a 38,5mm case (I found it perfect!) and with a set of guilloché dials. Once you are used with the new size, you really find the original 42,5mm size... too large!
The Emile Chourier Voie Lactée also offers a celestial walk. This watch, along with the Ice Cliff is the most emblematic piece of the brand.
The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronographe is also an important watch of the year thanks to its superb and innovative movement from Agenhor. The central display is very convenient and intuitive.
Fugue is a young French brand that offers a practical concept of personalization. Thanks to a clever system that requires no tools, the owner of the watch can change the strap and the caseside in a few seconds.
Neymar is in Paris and Gaga Milano, the brand of which he is ambassador was in London. The Skull-Pture is for me the most interesting watch in the collection. We recognize on the picture the typical details of any Gaga Milano watch: the large size, the original and prominent lugs and of course the large crown of 12 o'clock.
One of the local exhibitors was Garrick , the brand from Norwich. It presented this very interesting S1 prototype that foreshadows an open-dial watch. I remind you that Andreas Strehler is involved in the technical development of Garrick's movements.
It is always a pleasure to meet Patrik Sjogren in the corridors of the Salon. I took the opportunity to observe one of the latest GoS watches, the Sarek Akka with an engraved bezel.
Girard-Perregaux was one of the few major players to participate in the event. The year was marked by the Laureato collection and the manufacture presented in London the new black ceramic version of the Laureato Automatique. A very appealing piece.
Habring didn't do thingsby half measures! Maria and Richard presented a salvo of novelties including the Doppel-Felix, a split-second chronograph featuring a peripheral date:
This nice version of the Erwin dead-beat second hand is dedicated to the English market:
The Repetition (based on a Dubois-Depraz 5 minute repetition module) is faithful to Habring's spirit with a very pure and strict aesthetic approach. Please note that the watch offers a water resistance of 30 meters.
Jacob & Co didn't have a specific booth but participated in an exhibition dedicated to astronomical watches. And undoubtedly both Astronomia watches which were exhibited surprised and amazed the visitors. I have to confess that I love the Astronomia Solar. I find it easier to wear... and even reasonable!
Stefan Kudoke has a clear speciality: skeletonized and engraved watches. His most famous watch is the KudOktopus but he also has another favorite animal: the panda.
The Lang & Heyne Georg is for me the most beautiful rectangular watch of the year. A strange version was presented during the event: in order to meet the request of a customer who had difficulty to handle the crown and wind the watch, Marco Lang added a crank to make the winding operation easier. The result is strange but has its own charm. The customer agreed on the fact that this transformation could be communicated so it wouldn't be a surprise if this version of the Georg leads to several similar demands.
Logan Kuan Rao is a young Chinese watchmaker based in London. I met him in the corridors of the Salon and I could appreciate the remarkable work done on his Orca movement:
After disappearing in the early 70s, the brand Lonville is reborn from its ashes with several models including the Virage, animated by a Schwarz-Etienne movement:
MB&F is faithful to SalonQP. This year, Max Büsser and his team presented the brand new LM SE which has already been the subject of an article on PuristSPro.
It was again in the corridors that I discovered the Ming 19.01, the latest watch from Ming Thein and his friends. If 17.01 had not fully convinced me, it is not the same with the 19.01. I really like its dial and since it is animated by a Schwarz-Etienne movement, it becomes even more seductive. Actually, it offers an unique dial rendering I found very appealing in the metal.
Manufacture Royale is one of the pillars of SalonQP. The brand gave a broad overview of its collection with a focus on two pieces: a unique piece of the DNA and a "khaki" version of the Androgyne Royale:
In a more reasonable price segment, Nomos unveiled new versions of its dials with a silvercut style in its At Work range:
Pita's Molinos Orbital is a new proof of Aniceto Pita's talent. The watchmaker from Barcelona goes to the basics and offers a watch that is both simple and complex at the same time. A true achievement:
The Twenty-One is a very important watch for Rebellion because it is offered at a much more affordable price than the superlative pieces in the collection. And since it embeds a useful complication (the display of a second time zone), it becomes the most relevant way to enter the world of the brand.
Reservoir made its first steps in Basel. The young French brand explores several worlds (cars, aeronautics, marine) to put on stage jumping hours and retrograde minutes displays. The Tiefenmesser Bronze is for me the most successful piece of the collection:
Schofield was back this year at SalonQP! Beyond the partnership with Simon Cudd around a full range of straps, Giles Ellis unveiled the Telemark, the new watch in the collection which features a date display. Obviously we recognize the typical design of the brand inspired by English lighthouses.
Schwarz-Etienne increases its visibility every day. The SalonQP gave it the opportunity to present two versions of its Small Second Retrograde Tourbillon, one in white gold and the other in steel.
SuisseMecanica presented an "all black" version of its SM8 chronograph. The touch of originality remains with the crown guard sliding along the case side. The watch is faithful to the very qualitative rendering of the brand.
Another star of the event was without any doubt the Alfred watch by Urban Jurgensen. Despite its more reasonable price, it contains everything that makes the success and interest of the UJ watches. A very beautiful classic watch.
Unsurprisingly, the UR-105 CT was the key watch of the Urwerk exhibition. The ability to open the case and to discover the particular finish of the display mechanism based on the carousel and its satellites makes it very attractive. It is my favorite UR-105.
Vault is a very ambitious new brand: the proof is the involvement of Andreas Strehler in the development of the movement. The time reading is both classic and original since the movement also rotates over time. Moreover, two Vault watches will not display with a similar way the same time and this is the basis of the concept. Time is after all a personal perception and Vault emphasizes this idea.
Finally, a SalonQP without Kari Voutilainen wouldn't be a true SalonQP! Kari put the smile on a lot of faces once again with his new decorative approaches on existing models.
As you can see, despite notable absences, the SalonQP managed to offer a high quality set. All I can wish now is that the organization team manages to maintain the economic balance of the event in order that it can get sustainable perspectives. I hope that its owner, The Telegraph, will continue to support it without hesitation in order that watch lovers will be able to enjoy this beautiful autumn event in the coming years.