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PREVIEW: Who to see at Salon QP 2011


New venue, new British brands and a must-see line up of timepieces.

Now in its third year, Salon QP has become the go-to watch event for collectors in the UK. This year the consumer show is back at a bigger, and some might say better, venue with some of the finest haute horology and watchmaking from worldwide brands including Bremont, Cartier, Harry Winston, Piaget, Speake-Marin and Maitres du Temps.

There will be several must-see highlights at the show including Bulgari’s Kaleidoscope, which allows visitors a chance to see the intricate mechanics of a complicated watch movement and an exhibition from the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

Expert watch service and repair experts will be on-hand to give advice, there will be chance to take part in a watchmaking masterclass with Jaeger-LeCoultre and many of the brands’ watchmakers will be at the show to offer more information about the timepieces on show.

Salon QP is emerging as an important event not just for consumer watch fans but for the watch industry in the UK. While there is no trade taking place at the show it is an important networking event and a chance to meet with brands without the pressure to place an order. And in terms of bolstering the watch knowledge of retailers or store staff it is a fantastic opportunity to do so whilst having fun.

While many brands will hold back major releases until BaselWorld or SIHH, some are endeavouring to offer exclusives for Salon QP, giving visitors the chance to view archived collections not usually made available to the public.

This year Salon QP has moved to the Saatchi Gallery in London’s Chelsea – a bigger space, a more dynamic environment and a fitting location to celebrate watch artistry. Read on for WatchPro’s preview of this year’s Salon QP event which will take place this month.

Bremont clock gets the Ronnie Wood treatment

Bremont will unveil a special edition of its Marine Clock that has been hand painted by Rolling Stone guitarist Ronnie Wood. The rock’n’roll legend has created 14 of these unique Art Clocks, which are specially adapted versions of the Bremont B1 Marine Clock. The artworks on the dial and internal case depict different periods of Wood’s life. He says: “I am so happy to be involved with Bremont on this exciting adventure.  I feel there will be a magnificent opportunity through my art to show what has influenced me throughout my life, which includes my water heritage, my well-documented life in music and, of course, my abiding passion for horses.” Wood says he has always loved timepieces and now has the opportunity to thoroughly indulge himself through working on this collaboration with Bremont.

Cartier brings fine novelties to Salon QP

Luxury watchmaker Cartier will present 10 fine novelties at Salon QP, including the Astroregulateur and the Multitime Zone (pictured), the latter of which depicts the time lag between two cities as a complication. Cartier will also present pieces from its Cartier D’Art Collection, with the must-see timepiece featuring a Roman mosaic dial. This year Cartier has created six new timepieces for Cartier D’art Collection, reinterpreting traditional crafts including enamelling, engraving and wood carving into timepieces with gold cloisonné creations, miniature stone mosaics, overlays of enamel and wood marquetry. The Fine Watchmaking Collection will include some of this year’s new movements, including the Astroregulateur, unveiled at SIHH.

Bulova adds Brandson sparkle to new lines

Bulova will be bringing some celebrity sparkle to Salon QP as it unveils its new marketing imagery featuring self-made billionaire Richard Branson, who is the American watch brand’s ambassador. The tag line of the campaign reads “Swiss made, self made”. The brand will be hoping to use the shots to capture the imagination of watch fans at the show. It will also show off its new Gemini range (pictured). The collection is named after the groundbreaking NASA space program that prepared the way for the Apollo missions to the moon. A highlight of the range is the Gemini Valjoux 63C107, featuring the renowned ETA 7750 self-winding mechanical chronograph movement, in stainless steel with anti-reflective sapphire crystal, exhibition screw-down case back, locking deployment buckle and water resistance to 50 meters.

U-Boat designer Italo Fontana to join Salon

Italian watch brand U-Boat will use its appearance at Salon QP to show off new 2011 timepieces, some of which have not been shown in London before. Italo Fontana, the grandson of the brand’s founder and its current designer, will be at the show to talk visitors through the collection. The Golden Arrow (pictured above) should prove to be a highlight of the collection after it “took BaselWorld by storm” according to the brand. The watch is limited to just 99 pieces worldwide, and is described by the brand as personifying Italian chic with a contrasting design of solid black enamel dial and luxe 18ct gold touches.

English watchmaker to use show as launch pad

New English watch company Schofield will use Salon QP as a launch pad to unveil its timepieces to the watch market. Its first model, the Signalman (pictured), will be on show in two editions – the GMT and the DLC GMT with a power reserve. The company aims to present an “understated Englishness” with its timepieces, which it says have been designed for active gents. The Signalman watches boast Swiss Soprod 9335 automatic mechanical movements, and both timepieces are limited to 300 and 100 units respectively. All aspects of the design have been considered, from the Côtes de Genève, perlage, and blued screws to the Superluminova dials and wearable 44mm case size.

MB&F founder to take new machine to salon

MB&F founder Max Busser will be at Salon QP armed with the company’s most recent launch, the Legacy Machine 1 (pictured), which was unveiled last month. He will also show three of the manufactory’s other horological machines, a must-see for any collector wishing to experience some groundbreaking watch design and technology. Busser will host a talk at the show about the birth of his brand and how it has developed.

The Best of the Rest at Salon QP

Hermes will host a collection of this year’s favourites at Salon QP, including its Cape Cod Grandes Heures and Arceau Temps Suspendu. The Basel favourites will be shown in London for collectors and enthusiasts to get a closer look at, having only just arrived on the market.

Heritage Watch Manufactory, which launched last year in Neuchâtel will bring its watches to London for the first time at Salon QP, showcasing three of its timepieces made with HWM’s own in-house movements. Karsten Fraessdorf, master watchmaker at the independent brand will be present at HWM’s booth, on hand to explain each of the company’s fine adjustment mechanisms which he himself masterminded.

Meccaniche Veloci will ride into Salon QP with its Quattro Valvole collection of watches, bringing the one-of-a-kind timepieces from the Quattro Valvole Only One collection. As the brand celebrates its fifth anniversary, Meccaniche Veloci has launched the Only One collection in celebration of its trademark timepiece. The collection of watches continues with the brand’s design based on a four-valve engine piston but has developed these with a play on materials used in racing and air travel, combining bright colours with titanium cases.

Frederique Constant will bring four of its collections to Salon QP, including its Amour trio of watches, designed in collaboration with actress Shi Qi. The company will show off timepieces not yet available in UK stores alongside limited edition models made with silicon, including a new tourbillon and its present flagship model, the Maxime.

De Bethune will bring four timepieces to Salon QP – the DB25T, DB25QP, DB28 and DB28T. The four models have the eye-catching, space-age looks of De Bethune, with tourbillons, titanium cases and platinum and silicon balance wheels.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Mikgrograph 1/100th Second Chronograph will make an appearance at Salon QP, offering collectors and enthusiasts a chance to see the timepiece that was a world first. The timepiece is the first ever column wheel integrated mechanical chronograph with 1/100th of a second display by a central hand. It will be accompanied by timepieces from the Carrera Heritage Collection.



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