Exhibitions A weekend of firsts at SalonQP
Aside from presenting for the first time models never before seen in the UK, or even in Europe, SalonQP this year also served as a showcase for the best in British watchmaking as well as a launch platform for new brands.
Watch aficionados from around the United Kingdom converged on the Saatchi Gallery in London over the weekend, attracted to SalonQP, where the winners of this year’s Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (GPHG), as well as a number of other intriguing models and brands could be seen for the first time.
Although he grew up in the world of Swiss watchmaking, Alexandre Meerson is now based in London. As a successful consultant to the luxury industry, he has called upon the best names in his address book to help him produce his first collection of wristwatches, using fine Vaucher movements.
Another convert to watchmaking is former acoustic engineer Hannes Bonhoff, who also launched his eponymous brand at QP. Completely forsaking hands, his watches feature two patented developments: an integrated single-piece leather strap and a unique interactive time display that can only be read by turning the bezel.
Emmanuel Bouchet of Centagora, the company behind the Harry Winston Opus 12, also launched his eponymous brand at the show.
Unmissable on the left-hand side as soon as you entered the show was Jeanrichard, which took advantage of its partnership with local English Premier League club Arsenal to launch a new limited-edition Terrascope chronograph in single-weave carbon in the colours of the team. Former Arsenal forward and England international Ian Wright, one of the latest friends to gravitate around the brand, came to the show to help Jeanrichard CEO Bruno Grande present the piece.
Armin Strom tied the second launch in its new Skeleton collection to SalonQP. After presenting the Water and Fire models in the element-themed collection at the SIAR in Mexico last month, the brand presented the second two models, Earth and Air, in London, with the latter sporting a fetching new grey alligator leather strap that will henceforth be used on all the Air models.
London-based Hoptroff showed off the first atomic wristwatch to the public for the first time. This limited-edition of 100 pieces condenses the technology introduced in the brand’s No. 10 pocket watch (the world’s first atomic timepiece) into a double-dialled wrist format that offers accuracy of 1.5 seconds per thousand years (or 1 second per hundred years in low-power mode). Company founder Richard Hoptroff also added to his long list of inventions (a tide-height complication, a complication that points the way to Mecca, an analogue indication for share price fluctuations…) by presenting the world’s most accurate quartz movement, which deviates less than one second per year.
Gilles Ellis, founder of British brand Schofield, has been a regular speaker at the seminars held every year during SalonQP. This year, the subject of his lecture was “The Devil is in the Details”. But details were precisely what the new watch presented by the brand at the show was lacking. The Beater has a totally understated look with just two hands and, according to Mr Ellis it is “bombproof”. He also revealed that he plans to develop a limited edition using Christopher Ward’s British-made SH21 calibre in-house movement.
But one of the stars of the show, and the darling of the British media coverage, was the Montblanc Metamorphosis II. On show for the first time in Europe, the piece’s mechanical ballet as it effortlessly switched between two different faces captivated the numerous visitors to the show.
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