Give Me Five! The 5 Best Things I Saw At SalonQP 2016: Métiers d’Art, Svend Andersen Worldtimers, Armin Strom Resonance, Black Badger Lume Room, And Kari Voutilainen
Okay, okay, I’ll admit to being a little more biased than others when it comes to picking out some of the things I really liked at the 2016 edition of SalonQP.
The reason for my bias isn’t really hard to figure out: I had the pleasure of curating a special exhibition on métiers d’art at 2016’s edition comprising specialist brands in their fields demonstrating the arts and crafts that they have become famous for.
1) The Métiers d’Art exhibition
Jaquet Droz is a specialist in the art of enamelling, and the Swiss brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds demonstrated the art of miniature enamel painting at SalonQP 2016, having brought one of the workshop’s skilled artisans for the duration of the show.
Additionally, Jaquet Droz showcased the Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights model, which made its debut at a major watch exhibition here. The decorative interpretation of flowers on this watch was inspired by an ancient Asian technique called Najeon Chilgi, created using mother-of-pearl intaglio and lacquer.
Quick Facts Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights
Case: 35 x 10.8 mm or 39 x 11.52 mm, red or white gold (with or without diamonds in smaller size)
Dial: lacquered mother-of-pearl intaglio applied in Najeon Chilgi method
Movement: automatic Caliber 2653P with balance spring and pallet fork in silicon, twin spring barrels for 68-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 28 pieces each in 5 versions
Price: ranging between $39,900, $49,900, and $51,500
A. Lange & Söhne brought an engraver from its home in Glashütte to demonstrate the artistry involved in creating hand-engraved balance cocks. The detailed work on the miniscule components that hold the regulating system stable is so artistic that the individual styles of each of the five artisans practicing this skill at the majestic brand’s German factory can be told apart on sight, allowing the owner of a Lange timepiece to identify the craftsperson who engraved his or her watch’s movement.
Genevan boutique brand Van T’Hoff comprises the artistry of Dutch artisan Dirk Steenman, a talented engraver who works behind the scenes for a number of globally famous brands. The watches focus more on this than the timekeeping aspect.
At SalonQP Steenman and his team showcased a number of unique works, including several Chinese zodiac-themed timepieces featuring three-dimensional engraving combined with enamel.
Van T’Hoff specializes in bespoke timepieces for the feminine wrist; the Quintessence Edelweiss line is a perfect example of this.
Quick Facts Van T’Hoff Quintessence Edelweiss Edelsnow
Case: 30.7 x 39 x 9.9 mm, white gold with diamonds (5.35 ct), fancy yellow diamonds (0.11 ct) and orange sapphires (0.03 ct)
Dial: white Edelweiss petals carved from mother-of-pearl
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 8 pieces
Vacheron Constantin showcased one timepiece from the unusually creative Métiers d’Art Elégance Sartoriale collection at SalonQP 2016, whose guilloché-and-enamel dial mimics fabric patterns, while Chopard added a diamond-encrusted ladies’ timepiece to illustrate its mastery of the art of gem setting.
Bovet was also on hand with several highly decorative timepieces showcasing the art of Fleurisanne engraving such as the Récital 18 Shooting Star and the Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart.
What strikes the watch lover today is perhaps that the brands renowned for working with these rare crafts are not “stuck” in tradition: while métiers d’art fields once only comprised enamel, guilloché, and variations of engraving techniques, at present the crafts used on watches can be as unique, innovative, and diverse as the timepieces they embellish. They add not only beauty, but value and handcrafted artwork to make each timepiece containing them one of a kind.
2) The Svend Andersen worldtimers in the dedicated worldtimer exhibition
Tim Barber curated the worldtimer exhibition at this year’s SalonQP, and one of the super highlights of this room was the collection of five rare and one-of-a-kind calendars created by Svend Andersen for a collector, who kindly loaned the pieces to this exhibition. One of these is the Mundus from 1993, which remains the thinnest worldtimer ever made.
Also on exhibit was last year’s Tempus Terrae with its exquisite blue gold dial.
And if you went over to the Andersen Genève booth, you would be treated to a personal view of the Perpetual Secular Calendar with its likewise beautiful 21-karat blue gold dial that has been treated to a round of beautiful guilloché.
Quick Facts Andersen Genève Perpetuel Secular Calendar “20th Anniversary” Blue Gold Dial
Case: 42.8 x 11 mm, platinum
Movement: unspecified automatic caliber
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; perpetual secular calendar with day, date, month, year
Limitation: 20 pieces
Price: 148,000 Swiss francs
Further reading on the Perpetual Secular Calendar: Predictions In The Calendar Category Of The 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
3) Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Fire
It was the absolute talk of SalonQP 2016. It was a must-see, can’t-miss timepiece at this busy exhibition: the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance Fire.
The reason was simple: there only exist very few timepieces that exhibit true resonance, and most of those are clocks.
For the full story and background on this timepiece, please see A Synchronistic Technical Tour De Force: Armin Strom’s Mirrored Force Resonance.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance
Case: 43.4 x 13 mm, pink gold
Movement: manually winding Caliber ARF15 with visible resonance clutch spring, two independent, symmetrically mirrored regulators beating at 25,200 vph / 3.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, twin display of luminous seconds
Limitation: 50 pieces
Price: 67,000 Swiss francs
Remark: delivered with additional rubber strap
4) Black Badger’s Lume Room
Perhaps the coolest-looking exhibit at SalonQP was the Black Badger Lume Room. Here, James Thompson (aka Black Badger) received his own ultraviolet cubicle in which to exhibit the many watches to which he has added his luminous composite.
Stepping into this room not only afforded the visitor a view of these luminous timepieces, but also a private tour of the Badger’s output – including his rings – by the Badger himself.
5) Kari Voutilainen
Just days following the storm in a teacup let loose by Kari Voutilainen’s participation in one embellishing element of the 8848 Ti Chinese mobile phone (see The Real Story Behind The Stepan Sarpaneva/Kari Voutilainen/8848 Ti Chinese Phone: Yes There’s More, Much More), the Finnish watchmaker living in Switzerland exhibited several of his one-of-a-kind timepieces at SalonQP 2016.
He also had one of the “controversial” mobile phones with him, which we were able to inspect in person. Looking back now, it’s hard to imagine why this set off such an uproar.
During the three-day exhibition in London, Voutilainen also found time to talk with our Ian Skellern during the seminar program. He chatted about his life and career, but the relatively unimportant mobile phone did not come up here.
The eighth edition of SalonQP took place in the prestigious Saatchi Gallery from November 3 through 5, 2016. The show attracted more than 6,500 watch lovers, and Telegraph Events reported paid attendance as being up over 2015 by 7.4 percent.
For more information, please visit www.salonqp.com/exhibition.
Disclosure: as the curator of the Métiers d’Art exhibition at SalonQP 2016, Elizabeth Doerr’s hotel and travel were paid by the organizer.