The fine watch exhibition SalonQP is back at London’s Saatchi Gallery, filling three floors with over 75 of the world’s most covetable brands. Here are five reasons why you can’t afford to miss out…
SalonQP isn’t just where brands launch their new designs for the first time, it’s often where they unveil completely new developments in watch-making itself. From creative craftsmanship to stunning skeletons and tourbillons, we promise there is enough creativity to fill your whole day.
And before you rush to your favourite brands, don’t forget to check out the ‘Gems of Time’ and ‘Inside a Second’ exhibitions for a little watch discovery. Department store Harrods will also be there showcasing some of the most impressive watches from its Fine Watch Room. What more could you ask for?
SalonQP doesn’t just house timepieces for the wrist, it also shows off new creative concepts, such as the Arachnophobia table clock by MB&F (pictured above). The brand founded in 2005 with the motto “a creative adult is a child who survived” and we can’t think of anything better to bring out our inner troublemaker. The piece comprises 218 components created by a Swiss atelier, and the time is read from the domed dial forming the spider’s body.
If you’ve got a hankering to see what’s inside some of the fabulous watches on show, keep an eye out for Arnold & Son’s Time Pyramid (above left). Inspired by antique pyramid clocks, the piece is part work-of-art, part time-keeping masterpiece with a completely open, multi-layered architecture. We’re fans of the golden sunburst engraving on this piece too.
Perhaps tourbillons are more your bag? Well, don’t let the unusual shape of the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière (above right) fool you, because behind the seven curved sapphire windows is an enormous flying tourbillon. It has a brilliant retro dial too.
Watch out for: Gronefeld, Rebellion and Antoine Preziuso
Britain’s greatest living watch-maker Roger W. Smith (above) sent shivers of excitement through watch collectors when he announced he will launch a new range of watches at SalonQP this year. Early insights suggest he’s redesigned his admired Series 2, produced his Series 1 in a round case and added a Series 3 calendar watch and a Series 4 with new complications. Go and have a look if you want to see watch experts act like teen fans at a One Direction concert.
The Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindriques Geospheres Vasco de Gama (try saying that after a couple of glasses of wine) is also a must-see, featuring two hand-painted domed hemispheres that take over the dial (above left). It also features a magnificent tourbillon which occupies the other half of the watch. The result is a beautiful ‘oh my goodness look at that’ watch that displays the time around the world against the globe’s longitude. We’d book a holiday just to look at it more!
Younger members of the watch world will also show off the fruits of their labour this year, like Rexhep Rexhepi and his Akrivia Tourbillon (above right). The hand-wound, 100-hour power reserve watch has a hand-crafted tourbillon and central jumping hour complication, plus it chimes on the hour. This is only Rexhepi’s third creation so it’s well worth a look.
Watch out for: Zenith, Chopard and Bremont.
SalonQP isn’t completely focused on once-in-a-lifetime watches, because it also welcomes many brands that prove design, quality and style can all be wrapped up with accessible pricing. Having feasted our eyes on Tudor’s new, limited edition Glamour Date collection with Violet Lizard-leather straps, we’ll be honing in on the boys’ options at SalonQP, including its North Flag (pictured above) and Pelagos collections with its first-ever in-house movement.
There’s also our favourite Nomos Glashütte, which will be showcasing its automatic Metro Neomatik Champagner with a 35mm case, curved sapphire crystal glass and a splash of neon peachy pink on the dial (above left). Plus, we’ll be hot-footing it over to specialist watch dealer Page & Cooper, which currently stocks Autodromo – a cool, vintage racing car-inspired brand with motor references across the dials, straps and cases (above right). Who said cars were only for the boys?
Watch out for: Bell & Ross, Georg Jensen and Christopher Ward
Whether you want a splash, a jolt, or a burst of colour SalonQP’s got bags of it. We’re particularly taken with this Americana-inspired Harry Winston Opus 14 (above), which manages to be clever and playful all at the same time. The mechanical movement is housed by an 18ct gold case, with sapphire crystal glass and jukebox-themed decorations. There’s only 50 of these in the world too, so feast your eyes at SalonQP before they end up on the wrists of collectors.
Of course, SalonQP wouldn’t be SalonQP without some high jewellery watches and 2015 is no exception. Our highlight is this Piccadilly Princess Royal Emerald Green one-of-a-kind watch by Backes & Strauss in collaboration with ethical gemstone expert Gemfields (pictured above). It was created using 245 Zambian emeralds with 10 different cuts totalling 31.91 carats! You can see more like this at the exhibition’s dedicated ‘Gems of Time’ show, which has an ‘Art of Colour’ theme this year.
We will also be keeping our eyes open for the colourful creations of Orolog by Jamie Hayon. The brand’s Swiss-made chronographs feature royal blue, green, white and classic black straps with stainless steel, rose gold and yellow gold cases. You can see some of our favourites in the pictures above…
Watch out for: Piaget, Bulgari and Sarpaneva
Pièce de résistance
With SalonQP it’s almost impossible to pick one stand-out watch – there are just so many great ones on display. Making a play for the top spot has to be Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Michael Schumacher Concept Laptimer, which was created in response to a request from F1 driver Michael Schumacher prior to his skiing accident. Currently, it is the only chronograph in the world capable of properly timing and recording laps.
We’ll also be studying the 2015 winners of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, which will be on display for the first time at SalonQP. The Ladies Watch Prize winner, Hublot, will present its Big Bang Broderie, pictured above left, that mixes carbon fibre with hand-embroidered silver to create a skull dial design. The watch took 11 months to create and just 200 will be made for lucky customers.
The Ladies’ High-Mech Watch prize went to Fabergé and its Lady Compliquée Peacock (above right). This truly stunning watch sees the feathers of a peacock expand on the dial as the minutes move on, only for the fanned wings to ping back into the start position when the hour ends. This incredible timepiece is complemented by mother-of-pearl, platinum and diamonds.
Come and join us at the Saatchi Gallery from November 12-14 2015.