8 Reasons To Visit SalonQP In London, The ‘Goldilocks’ Watch Exhibition
by Ian Skellern
The sixth edition of SalonQP opens its doors on Friday, November 13 (or even Thursday evening if you’re one of the lucky few attending the opening cocktail party). It’s worth looking at why this exhibition has become such a favorite for horophiles, brands, watchmakers, and journalists alike.
So here are eight reasons why you might consider making a trip to London’s chic Sloane Square for the UK’s premier watch exhibition:
1. It’s in London
I like London . . . I lived there for a couple of years and worked there for a few more. I always enjoyed the fact that so much was concentrated in such a small area. London is easy to get to, easy to get around in, and at this time of year the wondrous Christmas decorations are up and in department store windows. An important factor for many of you reading this will also be that the population (generally) speaks understandable English.
If you are already located in London, then SalonQP is a no-brainer. And if you are outside London, I recommend using SalonQP as a good reason (as if any is needed) to visit the city.
2. It’s in Sloane Square
Not only is Sloane Square the temporary home of SalonQP, it’s also not far to the theaters of the West End, Harrods, the Science Museum, and the Natural History museum, all of which are well worth a visit.
3. It’s in the Saatchi Gallery
It’s worth visiting SalonQP just for the opportunity to experience − and it is an experience − the Saatchi Gallery for contemporary art. And while I think that this serendipitous little fact wasn’t known to the organizers of SalonQP when they moved the exhibition to the Saatchi Gallery a few years ago, “Saatchi” is the Arabic name for “watchmaker” or “watch dealer”!
Not only is the Saatchi Gallery a beautiful gallery for presenting watches − many of which would qualify as contemporary art themselves − its situation is absolutely ideal. While only a few minutes’ walk from the Sloane Square tube station, high-end shopping boutiques, and the Peter Jones department store, the Saatchi Gallery, which faces a sizable expanse of pristine grass, is behind a large wall and virtually invisible to the busy crowds nearby.
4. SalonQP is “Goldilocks”-sized
SalonQP is a “Goldilocks”-sized watch exhibition in that it isn’t so large (like Baselworld) that it’s impossible to see everything, and not so small that it’s not worth the bother of going. You could walk around the whole exhibition in 30 minutes, but can comfortably spend a few hours (and easily longer), especially if you stop and talk to a few watchmakers and sit in on a seminar or two.
SalonQP is large and busy enough to attract big brands as well as small ones, and you can see everything handily.
Here is a tantalizing list of brands that will be present at this years show: A. Lange & Söhne, Akriva, Alexandre Meerson, Alpina, Andersen Genève, Angelus, Antoine Preziuso, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Ateliers de Monaco, Audemars Piguet, Autodromo, Backes & Strauss, Bell & Ross, Bonhams, Bremont, Brüggler, Buben & Zorweg, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Christiaan Van der Klaauw, Christopher Ward, Chronoswiss, De Bethune, Dennison, Dietrich, F.P. Journe, Fellows, Ferdinand Berthoud, Frédérique Constant, Garrick, Gemfields, Georg Jensen, Graham, Grand Seiko, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Habring2, Halda, Harry Winston, Hoptroff, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jean Rousseau, Julien Coudray, Junghans, Kari Voutilainen, Lang & Heyne, Laurent Ferrier, Le Rhone, Lebeau-Courally, Lic, Ludovic Ballouard, Manufacture Royal, Marc Newson Hourglass, Maurice Lacroix, MB&F, Montblanc, Moritz Grossmann, Mühle Glashütte, Nomos Glashütte, Orolog, Page & Cooper, Pequignet, Perrelet, Philipps, Piaget, Raidillon, Ralph Lauren, Rapport London, Raymond Weil, Rebellion Timepieces, Sarpaneva, Schofield, SevenFriday, Shinola, Sinclair Harding, Sinn, Squale, Tudor, U-Boat, Urban Jürgensen, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Victorinox, Vulcain, Watches of Knightsbridge, Watchfinder, William & Son, Wolf, and Zenith.
If there are a few brands in that listing that you haven’t heard of, join the club because I’m certainly not aware of all of them either. (But I soon hope to be.)
5. The visitors
Because the Saatchi Gallery is just off – and hidden from – the main street, SalonQP does not generally attract casual visitors just passing by. Visitors to SalonQP are on average more horologically informed than at any other exhibition I’ve attended, and it’s worth going just to check out the amazing watches on the wrists of the visitors. But don’t let that turn you off if you are just getting into watches as the seminars, exhibitions, and people at SalonQP make for a great way to learn.
6. The watchmakers and CEOs
Because SalonQP is just that right “Goldilocks” size of being not too big, the watchmakers and CEOs are not too busy to talk to general visitors. It’s also not so small that it’s not worth watchmakers’ and CEOs’ time to go. Therefore, the exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk with the people you generally only get to read about.
While watches are interesting enough by themselves, the story of how and why they came into existence is normally even more interesting, and SalonQP is a place where you can discover the anecdotes that bring horology to life.
7. The seminars, talks, a film and even watchmaking classes
SalonQP isn’t just an exhibition of watches, though the watches alone would be worth the visit. It also hosts discussion panels, seminars, and even watchmaking classes (hint: book early).
You can attend discussion panels and talks on a wide range of topics at SalonQP. A few highlights include the UK premiere of the film, The Watchmaker’s Apprentice (followed by a Q&A with Roger Smith), to high-end sound systems, a history of chronographs, what’s involved in developing a movement, and many more . . . including a talk I will be giving on the history of the Harry Winston Opus series (which involved quite a few tears as well as cheers). And I’m honored to be moderating a discussion panel about why we should (or shouldn’t) care about tourbillons with Stephen Forsey, Bart Grönefeld, and Roger Smith.
8. The watches, including the winning watches from the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève
And of course, there are the watches. And not just an incredibly diverse range from the most affordable to the most expensive, but also mind-blowing complications and interesting designs that would be worth a trip all by themselves: the winning timepieces from the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (see Reflections On The 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève).
SalonQP: Great location, great people, and great watches. I hope to see you there from November 12 through 14, 2015.
For more information, please visit www.salonqp.com/exhibition.