SalonQP

SalonQP – Photo by The Kalory Agency

In its fifth year, annual horological event SalonQP has established itself as the London stage for luxury and independent brands to showcase their finest haute horlogerie and new innovations to an audience of journalists, industry stalwarts and members of the public. Held across three days at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, Eve’s Watch went in search of new women’s watches, marvelled at the complexity of diamond setting and generally fell in love with a whole host of amazing timepieces.

Champagne in hand team Eve’s Watch wandered the halls of the Saatchi Gallery hoping that we would make it across three floors of horological heaven before our heels hurt. We didn’t and left hobbling to the nearest restaurant to refuel and take stock of what we’d seen.

In what is still considered by many as a male dominated industry, we were not surprised (if not a little disappointed) to find certain brands had decided not to showcase their ladies collections or were only showing a single piece. However, those that did certainly made it a worthwhile visit.

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Naturally our first port of call was the ground floor, home to the very finest historic watch houses such as Jaeger-LeCoultre showcasing its historic ladies collection, including beautiful pieces featuring the brand’s famous Calibre 101, the smallest mechanical movement ever made. The show stopping Reverso Cordonnet Duetto was a highlight with its exquisite gem-setting for which the brand is renowned. We were also treated to a display of dexterity by the manufacture’s Master Setter where we saw first-hand the level of intricacy and time required to set diamonds individually by hand.

Over at Hermès the charming Daniel Talens enthralled us with the story of its enchanting Arceau Le Temps Suspendu model, so named because the wearer can stop time at the touch of a button. Time remains suspended for as long as you wish to enjoy, say a massage, or simply take time out of your day (literally)! The exclusive complication tracks time using its central second hand which quirkily runs anticlockwise until the wearer decides it’s time for normality to resume, at which point the hour and minute hands flick to the correct time as if nothing had ever happened. This is Alice in Wonderland on your wrist. The brand’s other novelty for ladies is the Pendentif Boule, a watch encased in a beautiful pendent necklace with a diamond setting and alligator back which is available in novel colours like raspberry – absolutely delicious!

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With its Happy Sport collection currently celebrating 20 years, Chopard was most definitely on our radar and we were delighted to be introduced to its new Happy Sport Automatic collection which on the wrist is even more delightful than we imagined. Upon talking at length with Vincent Lapaire from Chopard we were heartened to hear that the brand had developed the mechanical version purely based on demand from its female customers who are appreciating the value of a mechanical movement over quartz.

Continuing our journey into the midst of ticking treats we spied the wonder of the Altiplano at Piaget featuring the world’s thinnest self-winding movement; the beauty of intricate engraving and enamelling at Jaquet Droz; a beautiful array of Girard-Perregaux Cats Eye models; the Ulysee Nardin Jade with its unique gemstone horns; the extravagance of the Cecil Purnell Lucky Lady with its four leaf clover design; and the unisex simplicity of the Nomos Glashütte Tangente in support of Doctors Without Borders.

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Whilst not targeted at a female audience, some timepieces deserve a mention for their ingenuity or sheer audacity. Since first clapping eyes on the Ressence brand we have been intrigued by the design of Benoit Mintiens’ Type 3 model, which features an entirely unique way of displaying the time and a mechanism that utilises magnets to control indices, which float in oil to create the illusion they are displayed directly onto the sapphire crystal glass – fascinating stuff. In total contrast the 60mm Zenith special edition Montré D’Aeronef stood out from across the room, its sheer size and diamond encrustedness blinding us from across the room. Having wrestled this onto my dwarfed wrist I was allowed mere inches away from the Zenith guards, so heavens knows the value of this audacious piece, but we can only surmise it is designed with an ostentatious rapper in mind.

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Another year over, we came, we saw and we reported. From the watches themselves to the watchmaking techniques on display, SalonQP has certainly delivered, we just hope that next year more brands choose to showcase their women’s collections. If they do then I for one will definitely be opting for flats!

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