Photo Report From World Time UK

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Last Saturday saw something of a momentous occasion – at least for me anyway. For the first time in almost two years I was at a watch show. World Time Uk is a London watch show organized by the Diver’s Watches Facebook Group and has been steadily growing since its debut event in 2017. London’s watch enthusiasts finally had the chance to gather en masse and examine watches from some of the smaller and newer brands, with representation from some of the larger independent players in the dive watch game too.

Sinn, Christopher Ward and main sponsor Doxa were three of the most well-known names attracting watch enthusiasts through the doors (and all three stands were well worth spending some time with) but I was equally looking forward to seeing some watches in the flesh for the very first time, and to meeting the people behind other brands who I’ve been communicating with for several years.

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I was particularly keen to check out the Time+Tide x Doxa SUB 600T, and the watch didn’t disappoint. This 200-piece limited edition is a throwback to the SUB 600T reference of 1982 which came to define the “Aubry era” of the Doxa brand. I’m very happy to see this more angular case shape make a reappearance, and the ‘pacific’ blue works well. Here’s hoping for future releases in all of Doxa’s standard colorways!

 Direnzo have forged a fairly distinctive style through their previous four watches, and the new DRZ05 Solaris is a continuation of that evolution. This 39mm dive watch with internal bezel combines dial elements, hand shapes and index configurations from previous models to create a piece that seems both retro and modern at the same time. Despite the venue’s low lighting, the deep red and blue fumé dials really stood out.

 Isotope are another brand with a strong identity. A brand where every watch looks like an Isotope no matter how different they actually are. Nevertheless, I have never got to experience one before, nor seen one that really jumps out at me and makes me want to buy it on the spot. That changed with their new HydriumX “Will return”. With a lumed dial and bold, red hands based on the familiar “Will return” door sign this is a really fun piece with the same quality and attention to detail as Isotope’s other watches.

There were of course a few other pieces that made lasting impressions on me too, but more than individual watches themselves was the feeling of being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts who are able to get fully…enthused. Catching up with fellow watch geeks let us all feel normal again. While we are fortunate that much of our research, social interaction and even purchasing has continued unabated over the last 18 months, I found that it’s only being back at an event like this that we can appreciate what we’ve been missing. I’m not the only one.

“It was exciting to be back at shows like this. Brands need it as much as consumers. As a consumer, nothing beats trying on an “ok” watch that you’ve heard of or saw pictures of, and then realizing how it just clicks with you. From an “ok” looking watch, it turns into “I need this so badly”. You only truly get to experience that when you get to try on watches. After all they are made to be worn.”

@A.Rai on Instagram – favourite watch of the show: Hanhart 417 ES

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“Great to get hands on with watches again and especially being able to talk direct to owners. For me, that’s a really important element when mostly microbrands are bought from the internet. To be able to speak with owners and share their thoughts, especially on new releases, is great. It was nice too to see some of the more established brands like Sinn, and proves there is plenty opportunity to mix, regardless of the size of the brands.”

@Stonehead8887 – favourite watch of the show: Sinn U50

It’s easy to only view shows like this one as great for the consumer. The watch brand owners and representatives I spoke to were as full of energy as the enthusiasts. Getting an image of a watch in front of potential customers is arguably easier than ever now, but really grabbing the customer and letting them wear your creation is a sales pitch like no other.

“I think events like these are very important to us microbrands, as they provide opportunities for enthusiasts and fans to experience first-hand the quality and feel of past and future timepieces of my collection as well as to receive direct, face to face feedback, which is pretty much impossible via the usual online channels.”

Sergio Di Renzo, Direnzo Watches

“People were forced to buy online during the lockdown and we have seen more confidence in our higher priced products. Having said that, some people still like to see a watch in the flesh. We offer personal meetings with myself to our customers and also we see shows like this as a great way to invite our existing customers and meet new customers in a personal setting. This nice thing personal meetings and events like these is that you have no pressure to buy like you have in a traditional shop”

Matthew Humphries, MHD Watches

Over the last 5 years I have been to countless enthusiast meetups and handled hundreds of brands. I’ve been loaned scores of watches, and owned/flipped many more. Even so, this show was the first time I’ve worn a Lorier, appreciated the design language of Isotope or been blown away by the colours of the Studio UnderdOg “Watermelon”. Long live the watch show!

Brad stumbled into the watch world in 2011 and has been falling down the rabbit hole ever since. Based in London, Brad's interests lie in anything that ticks, sweeps or hums and is slightly off the beaten track.
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