W&W’s Highlights From This Year’s Salon QP

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London’s annual luxury watch show returned to the swanky Saatchi Gallery in early November, and despite being noticeably smaller than in previous years there were still ample interesting, unusual, beautiful and breathtaking watches to consume an entire Saturday afternoon. The absence of some of the larger Swiss brands resulted in the focus firmly placed on the smaller, independent labels—both young brands still breaking into the market and already established boutique watchmakers.

Stunning Habring2 Chronos

Primarily going in with an open mind about what I wanted to see, I did, however, make a beeline to the ever-popular Nomos stand to check out the impressive “At Work” series, and to the Silvercut variants in particular. Each of the Tangente, Orion, Metro and Tetra models now houses the automatic DUW 3001 caliber in a larger 39mm case (33mm for the Tetra), and while the Metro is now an almost perfect under-the-cuff office watch, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well the stylish brushed finish works with the Tangente. Ordinarily I would think the cleanness of the Bauhaus dial and indices should not be meddled with, but if anyone could make such a thing work it’s Nomos. The “At Work” series is covered in more detail here.

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Moving on to something a little different, Konstantin Chaykin’s Joker was another timepiece that was being handled and wiped clean all day long. Starting out life as an ETA 2824-2, the K07-0 caliber runs two hour and minute discs which masquerade as pupils in the two eyes, with a deep red moonphase “tongue” below. The additional crown on the left hand side of the case is a pusher to advance the moonphase, and it also matches the regular crown (time setting and winding) on the other side to form the ears. Despite the eccentricity, the Joker somehow still manages to straddle the line between absurdity and allure. Only 99 pieces are being made, with a price tag of 6,999 EUR (roughly $8,100).

The Joker

Fears are a young British brand making their second appearance at Salon QP, and it was only last year that they unveiled their first model—the Redcliff. The original Fears watch company was first started in the 1840s and ceased trading in the middle of the 20th century. The Fears name has been resurrected by the original founder’s great-great-great-grandson, and this year they have added a second time zone variant to the quartz Redcliff line, as well as presenting their first mechanical watch.

The Brunswick takes its name from the area in Bristol, England where the Fears Export business started in 1920 and is heavily influenced by a silver cased watch produced by the brand around that time. This vintage-styled watch features a beautiful enamel dial sitting inside a 38mm cushion case and is powered by the hand-wound ETA 7001 movement. Although the case is much larger than the original historic model, the size is still small enough to work perfectly with the overall aesthetics of the watch. The Brunswick is available for pre-order at under $2,000 and is expected to be delivered in early 2018.

Fears Brunswick Handwound

Excessive and extravagant watches are fairly easy to come by at Salon QP, and one watch that fits the bill is the oddly named Rebellion Weap-One. A sapphire tube houses an asymmetrical flying tourbillon with a roller at either end, with one roller on the left displaying hours and another roller on the right for minutes. The necessary speed differential between the rollers at either end results in the tourbillon suspended between them rotating on multiple axes. If the extreme looks alone didn’t make enough of a statement, the 70m length and 26mm height will. For those still tempted, the price is a rather steep 450,000 CHF (roughly the same in USD).

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Whether it’s a beautifully crafted dial from Kari Voutilainen or a well sculpted case from a more affordable brand, some watches need to be seen in the flesh and handled to really appreciate them. This certainly holds true for REC watches. The small Danish brand give new life to the chassis of classic, but neglected, cars by using them as the inspiration and dial material in their watches. Both the P-51 and 901 models, featuring materials from a Ford Mustang and Porsche 911, respectively, have been covered here, but it’s not until you can see them up close and personal that you can really appreciate the individual dial character of the P-51 or the fantastic case construction and details of the 901. Both watches were huge hits at the show, as were the straps options also available.

The Resevoir: Jump hour, retrograde minutes, power reserve

Finally, one of the nicest surprises of the show came in the form of a jumping hour from Reservoir. The brand produces watches with either an automotive, aviation or marine theme and all feature the same complications and dial layout. In the lower half of the dial sits a jumping hour display, with retrograde minutes being displayed around the perimeter of the upper two-thirds of the dial. The minute marker scale echoes the instruments of a cockpit, dashboard or bridge. At the bottom of each dial is a power reserve display, either using a gauge and needle or a number of dots to indicate the remaining power within the barrel.

The movement is based on the ETA 2824-2 with an exclusive 97-part module added to power the three complications seen on the dial. The submarine themed “Tiefenmesser” variant seems the most complete, coupling clean and legible dial markings with a bronze case. Prices start from around $3,600.

The scaling down of the Salon QP show this year may have shifted the spotlight towards some of the lesser known names in horology, but it’s fair to say that the watches and creators on show were more than qualified to whet the appetite of London’s watch-buying public.

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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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