In just a few short days, SalonQP 2016 will get underway at the Saatchi Gallery, London. From its humble beginnings, SalonQP has grown to be a must-visit annual watch event for collectors and enthusiasts alike from around Europe and even the world. This year promises to be no different, featuring new product launches, special exhibitions and, of course, the opportunity to get hands on with some really exceptional watches.
If you’ve never been to SalonQP before than it’s hard to explain what really sets this show apart from other watch fairs. Unlike major events like Baselworld and SIHH which can be overwhelming for first-timers to say the least, SalonQP has more of an intimate feel to it. This is in large part due to the location.
The Saatchi Gallery, whilst quite large, is made up of a series of rooms set out over several floors. So when you’re walking around there’s generally only a maximum of 5 – 10 brands in any one room. This makes it easy to spot the brands you want to see and also reduces the level of crowding in any one room.
More than that though, what really sets SalonQP apart in my mind is the fact that it really is an exhibition in the true sense of the word. The brands participating aren’t there primarily to close deals with retailers or fawn over the press (not that they ever really fawn over us anyway). No, they are there first and foremost to share their creations with the public. This means that you can pretty much walk up to any exhibitor, strike up a conversation and ask to see some of their creations more closely – and this, even with the more exclusive of them (yes, I said Voutilainen, Urwerk, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, MB&F, Journe, Laurent Ferrier, Lange, and so on). This is a rare opportunity to be sure as often times the person explaining the watch to you is the same person who was directly involved in its creation.
In total, some 46 different brands will be exhibiting at SalonQP in varying capacities. Some brands, like Fear and Vault Watches are making their first public debut, whilst others, such as Montblanc and Chopard will unveil new pieces. There will also be a number of specially curated exhibitions, including “Travels in Time” featuring pieces from Faberge, Bulgari, Montblanc, Chopard, NOMOS and Andersen Geneve, watchmaking classes from Objectif Horlogerie and my personal favorite, The Lume Room hosted by Black Badger.
As with previous years, there will also be a series of expert talks and panel discussions taking place throughout the exhibition. You can find a full list of them here but I would definitely recommend checking out the Vintage watch collectors’ forum on Saturday as well as the Q&A with independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen.
SalonQP 2016 runs from the 3rd to 5th of November and tickets are on sale now from SalonQP.com. Look forward to seeing you there!