The Inaugural Evening Of The Watchmaker’s Club
The Inaugural Evening Of The Watchmaker’s Club by Sam Kessler
As a member of the press – as much as watch press is a thing – I’m in a pretty privileged position. I often get to handle some really exceptional pieces from equally exceptional watchmakers big and small, usually around a glass or three of champagne. Understandably there are plenty of collectors out there more than a little bit green about it. Those that attended the Watchmakers Evening on the 1st November however, far, far less so.
I went to last year’s yet-to-be-named Watchmakers’ Club Evening which was held in a lovely wine bar in Mayfair. It was small, quaint and a little too intimate and comparing it to this years is like comparing a local Morgan lover’s rally and the Goodwood Members’ Meet. They’re both good, this year’s event was just a different animal entirely.
For one, despite upgrading to The Library members’ club near Covent Garden, the 155-person capacity was nowhere near enough. People were being turned away at the doors as early as 8:30, an hour after the start.
That was due in part to various bloggers, and to the Watchmakers’ Club Founder – and our host for the evening – David Brailsford and his curated guest list. Whichever way word had gotten around, it did so among the right people.
But word of what, you ask? Well, it’s not often ten independent watchmakers come together under one roof, particularly one as interior-designed to the hilt as the Library. More enticing than that was the chance to actually handle their finest pieces, glass cases be damned.
The pieces in question ranged from under £1,000 to those coasting close to £100,000, from brands as diverse as Fears (revived heritage, accessible prices) to the undisputable master of the moon phase, Andreas Strehler.
Just so I cover all bases, the other 8 attendees were as follows: Christiaan Van der Klaauw, Czapek Genève, GoS, Mortiz Grossmann, Pinion, Garrick and Vault.
If you’ve not heard of all of them, don’t worry not all that many people here in the UK have. Some are understandable; Christiaan Van der Klaauw and Andreas Strehler make a scant handful of pieces a year. Moritz Grossmann is huge outside of our fair isles. Given their reception at the event, they’ll probably be huge here too soon enough.
Of the ten brands, no less than half were showing new pieces, including Fears’ first mechanical timepiece, Garrick’s guilloche and skeleton watches and the V1 from Vault. In fact, it was the first time I’d ever seen anything quite like that last, a watch inspired by a bank vault mechanism that shows the actual time slightly differently from watch to watch.
Even those not launching new pieces got some valuable face-to-watch-face time. Van der Klaauw and Moritz Grosmann seemed to have the best night; there were only three places you could guarantee a crowd all night, those two tables and the bar. Given that 80% of the guests were serious collectors and the others were freeloaders with a press pass like myself, that’s some impressive one-on-one time.
The big question is, after all the hands-on time and copious numbers of Curios Brews, was it a success? I’m willing to hedge my bets and say… yes. Unequivocally yes. If you didn’t make it this year, just do yourself a favour; make sure you’re on the guest list next time.
For more images please check out our event gallery HERE