My journey began by coach from Leicester to London Victoria where I met James (itskibblewatches). Its been a while and it was great to catch up .Off we go to the Premier Hotel, set our bags and dig out the black suit and dicky bow for the Black Tie evening due, can’t wait to see what this years event has in store.We arrive a little early so take a short walk and snap a couple of pictures.
The tickets are scanned and we’re in. To be met with champagne, very nice. In the first room we saw glass cabinets with Rado, Panerai from the late 50s.
Next a lovely lady showed us pieces made from the metal of old cars on show was a supercool P51 Mustang , a original Mini and finally a Porsche 901 really great dials and an interesting take on recycling with each piece unique some with more rust (Patina) than others .
Next was MB & F James wore the Horological Machine No.1 incredible design as always.
Walking on we met Jane Burton from Czapek Genève she showed us some award winning pieces each built to a very classic design and beautifully crafted.
This year we noticed the rooms were more spaced with fewer Brands and the displays were much smaller than last year. Gone were the Travel case maker who used aircraft aluminium and the Chopard watch maker with his white coat and tools showing us the way in which to properly service a watch and some great advice? This was such a shame.
Next came Arnold &Son wonderful Tourbillon pieces.
Manufacture Royale where they take skeleton design to another level.
On show in the cabinets next blew me away! Schwarz Etienne incredible La Chaux- De-Fonds using cut Moreno glass , stone , and Opel I had the pleasure of trying on the pieces and wow gorgeous the Opel just springs to life in the light . The Tourbillion showed off the micro rotor and the seconds hand that flicks back at 60 seconds.
Our walk continues to a very unique case design by Fugue who have created a system where you can push out the centre part with the dial and reverse it to protect it , they had 3 types of metals currently used Psd , stainless steel, rose gold . So you can change the outer part of your case to suit your mood. We spoke to Leopoldo Celi the Founder
Next we spoke to the guys at Emile Chouriet Genève they had dress watches with a fantastic hand design in the shape of tuning forks and a dive watch 300m .
It was then time for the Black Tie, White Dial talking about dress codes and our interpretations, an interesting conversation each of the 3 panel members having their individual take on it. Personally I was disappointed not everyone was wearing a traditional Black Tie and suit for the event, next year it will be jeans and t-shirt for me.
We met with one of James friends from Portugal Diogo (daily.diogocosta) such a nice guy made you feel very relaxed and he has the same drive and passion to succeed as James. He was wearing a wonderful 1996 Seiko 2 tone which was in excellent condition.
Off we go taking our time with talking to the designers and creators of the watches. Absorbing their conviction that they are making, some of the best horology in the world.Our first port of call was Konstantin Chaykin @k_chaykin a Russian maker inspired with DC Comics the Joker a very eye catching piece.
Then back to Czapek taking more pictures and reveling in the shear quality of them.
Following on we spoke to Estelle d’Hubert of Schwarz Etienne and tried on a Roswell inspired piece in the case shape of a UFO really cool.
Fugue was next with their unique pop out case design where we spent time with the designers and creators taking pictures of the concept drawings to final production and at £1600 to £1700 I think they will do really well.
A highlight for me was meeting the guys from Carl Suchy & Sohne here they have a very long history of Suisse Horology with people such As Sigmund Freud owning a pocket watch and receiving a Royal seal and medal. The designer was able to explain his ideas and processes in creating their latest design where the seconds is a rotating disc at the 6 o’clock the dial has vertical lines one lighter than the other creating a pleasing illusion as it rotates.
The designer along with Robert Punkenhofer the owner, James on lighting and Diogo as photographer.
Fears came next and James had been speaking with Nicholas Bowman – Scargill the 6th generation of the Family now heading the Brand. It was fantastic to briefly meet. They launched some new pieces and were very busy with interest which was fantastic to see.
Kudoke a very talented silversmith who creates some of the most amazing dials you will ever see from Pandas, Peacocks, bears, dragons , lions to tattoo tools if you have a design in mind he will make it and bring it too life in a very time consuming incredibly unique way .
It’s Saturday and sadly the last day of the event and my time with James. We are to meet some of the Redbar gang, great bunch of enthusiastic collectors who enjoy nothing better than to talk about watches. @Enthusiwrist , @degriffstraps .
After introductions we walk through showing the guys around like tour guides.
I stood trying to take pictures of the incredible Bovet Recital 20 the second iteration of the Earth, Sky, Universe this time this piece is looking down from the skies to the earth , I was unable to get a decent picture so in a rather loud voice made my observations and the guy very kindly apologised and said he would take it out of the brightly lit case and put it on a table for us to view and what an incredible experience I’ve never seen craftsmanship like it with its various complications. I videoed his presentation .Which I shall treasure.
At 1 o’clock two talks would begin on what are collecting and the second on vintage collecting. So we all sat and listened to interesting views on the psychology behind collecting and the thrill of the hunt for that one special piece that we aspire to get one day.
The vintage talk started obviously about the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona that fetched the incredible 17 million at auction just recently and whether we will ever see it again the panel believes it might come up for resale in maybe 3years time I personally hope we do see it again and it’s not going to sit in a vault for eternity. On collecting the panel suggested a few brands to maybe pickup as investments such as early Omega Speedmaster, Zenith El Primero, Universal Genève , and many others as ones to look out for .
So my visit to SalonQP comes to an end I hope you’ve enjoyed my walk around and hope to catch you there next time.