With just a week to go until we fling open the doors of London’s Saatchi Gallery for the 10th edition of SalonQP we take a look at the headline watches being exhibited by some of the world’s biggest and most respected manufacturers
By James Buttery
Taking pride of place within SalonQP’s exploration-focused Adventure exhibition, Breguet will be showing its new Marine collection – in celebration of its support for marine conservation project Race For Water – including the bold Marine Chronographe 5527 and surprising Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 which as well as boasting a chiming alarm complication includes a second time zone and date display.
Vacheron’s extremely dapper FiftySix collection, inspired by back catalogue pieces from 1956, has been a real talking point this year. Visitors to SalonQP will be able to see the entire collection, including the FiftySix Tourbillon, within our Atelier Gallery. The Maltese-cross shaped bridge of a Vacheron Constantin tourbillon is unmistakable, and the workmanship within is superb. To misquote Casino Royale, there are tourbillons and tourbillons. This is the latter.
While Bremont’s recently revealed, Concorde-containing Supersonic Limited Edition is certain to be a big draw there’s plenty more for fans of the Henley-based watch brand to see including the U2/51-JET, most recently seen on the wrist of Tom Hardy in the hugely successful film Venom.
As our Air Time exhibition looks back at the parallel, often intersecting, histories of aviation and timekeeping, so too Longines revisits its past with the Heritage Military, a recreation of a 1940s watch made for the Royal Air Force. Taking applied patina to extremes, the dial of each watch is hand sprayed with a fine mist of black paint to recreate the “foxing” found on original dials, something which also makes each new watch unique.
Not only will SalonQP host a live talk on the history of Vintage Panerai by James Dowling, but the contemporary brand will also be exhibiting some of its more modern, innovative watches from its Luminor Submersible 1950 collection. Panerai’s BMG Tech watch is notable for its liquid metallic glass case while the PAM 616 Carbotech opts for a unusual form of carbon fibre for both its unique finish and strength.
Visitors to SalonQP will be treated to a rare glimpse of two limited edition creations from Montblanc’s Minerva-inspired 1858 collection. A triumphant tribute to Minerva’s 1920 monopusher calibre 13.20 movement, the latest 1858 Monopusher Chronograph was announced this year in a series of 100 pieces with a green sun-ray brushed dial and Minerva-signed chronograph movement. Also on show will be the brand’s compass-packing, titanium monopusher pocket watch with vivid dial of Dumortierite stone.
Not only will Bulgari be bringing a brace of Octo Finissimo watches, both in the original titanium as well as this year’s barnstorming sandblasted 18ct rose gold version, but SalonQP will also play host to the Octo Harrods limited edition, a watch exclusive to the famed Knightbridge department store with dial and strap in a shade of green which is almost, but not quite, the same as the retailer’s signature green. That’s deliberate, according to Bulgari – and it’s a knockout either way.
Fans of the upper echelons of haute horlogerie will be in for a treat at SalonQP as Jaeger-LeCoultre exhibits two outstanding minute repeaters. Polar opposites in style, the white gold Hybris 11 (part of the Hybris Mechanica range) is an ultra-thin minute repeater with flying tourbillon and a masterpiece in understated watch design while the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication makes it very apparent just how complicated it is with its orbital tourbillon which travels around the dial over the course of a Sidereal day.
SalonQP is delighted to play host to officially the greatest watch in the world right now, at least according to the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve. Bovet’s Recital 22 Grand Recital, which scooped the coveted Aiguille d’Or earlier this month, certainly packs in the complications with perpetual calendar, tourbillon, moon phase, retrograde minutes, power reserve and Orrery.
Fans of pilots watches will be clambering for a view of IWC’s contribution to our Air Time exhibition which includes the much-admired (if somewhat torturously named) time-only Mk. XVIII Tribute to Mk. XI and a chronograph which, with its matching green fabric strap could be viewed as something of a companion piece, even though it actually references IWC’s first Pilot’s Chronograph from 1994. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph has been a US exclusive over the summer, which explains why we haven’t seen it before, but we’re already huge fans.
Also taking part in SalonQP’s celebration of the pilot’s watch is Breitling, which will showcase the eternally-popular Navitimer alongside this year’s new Navitimer 8 collection. It will also be displaying its Emergency range in the Adventure gallery, as we highlight the roles watches have played in exploration over the years. From the Breitling Explorer Squad, we have Inge Solheim appearing at SalonQP on Saturday 24 November to talk about his experiences as a polar guide and adventurer.