The Independent SalonQP
The Independent Salon QP
Doomsayers really like predicting the end of things. In the run-up to this year’s Salon QP there were rumours about its downfall abound, enough for me to expect a wild-eyed bearded guy with a sign spelling out ‘THE END IS NIGH!’
That’s not quite how things went, at least from my perspective.
Granted this year was a floor down but that wasn’t such a bad thing to be perfectly honest. The reason there was so much doom and gloom approaching London’s seminal watch exhibition was that the big names had pulled out.
By the big names I, of course, mean Tudor, Hermes, Jaeger-LeCoultre… the big boys. It must have been a bit of a blow to QP for sure, but not quite the death-knell that everyone was expecting. After all, who goes to QP for the big brands?
These are brands that you can see and get hands-on with anywhere. Just pop in to Watches of Switzerland Regent Street and you’ll have more than your fill. Where Salon QP excelled was in the independent brands and the otherwise undiscovered.
The top floor – this year the second rather than the third – was as vibrant as ever, crowded even with far less floor space for not that many fewer people. Fuelled by a decent run of champagne it was buzzing the whole night, especially around the old guard of independents like MB&F and Urwerk.
Downstairs there were a fair few new brands and, of course, the Watchmakers’ Club holding court in a corner to themselves. Given the success of the Watchmakers’ Club Evening the night before it goes without saying that they had a fair few visitors, particularly to come see the new launches at the stand.
A couple brands from the night before had their own stands – Czapek & Cie and Fears (the latter enjoying the shade of their own palm trees – but that corner was the only place to check out Vault’s new V1 and Garrick’s two new releases: the Portsmouth Guilloche (which I happen to have on loan; loving it) and the skeletonised S1.
It wasn’t just the launches that drew the crowd though. It’s not often you see the kind of collaborative effort that the Watchmaker’s Club represents. At the very least, you don’t often see that many exceptional watches in that small a space.
Overall it was a very different Salon QP this year. It wasn’t necessarily worse, just different. It was smaller and more intimate than ever, but the exhibitions were still well-curated thanks to Mr James Buttery and the talks were interesting, particularly a snapshot on modern black tie hosted by The Jackal’s Alex Cvetkovic.
Whether or not it’s at the Saatchi next year – I’m guessing probably not – I’ll still be looking forward to Salon QP 2018. At the very least, it’s the perfect dose of watches, wine and (provided I’m around) good company.