SalonQP 2015 Round-Up (with live images)SalonQP, the UK's largest watch exhibition, took place in November at Chelsea's Saatchi Gallery, and was great to be a part of. For those that haven't been, the exhibition is a real chance to get up close with the latest watches from some of the biggest brands in the world, as well as discover more about leading independent watchmakers. Often, trade shows from the watch world tend to be populated by retailers and journalists, closed off to actual customers. The beauty of events such as SalonQP, therefore, is that it marries customers and watchmakers. The exhibition itself is quite understated, with everything being accessible. Often you find yourself admiring watches, chatting with the owner of the company, a watchmaker, or an executive. From a customers point of view, this is great to gain an insight into watchmaking and connect with a brand on a personal level. As well as this, simply chat to people who share a similar passion. The setup is also advantageous for the brands who are looking to create customers. The exhibition is an ideal way of showcasing products to a captive audience. More than this though, brands can sell on a direct and personal level. "We sell watches directly to clients; we dont deal in intermediaries" Says Alexandre Meerson, who launched his brand at last years SalonQP. "This is really the only show where there is the right crowd of connoisseurs and where we can share who we are."
A Vintage Jaeger LeCoultre, so rare even Jaeger couldn't recognise itThe exhibition was not only about viewing the watches though. A focus of the show was to offer a beginners guide to watchmaking which involved a 4 and a half hour lesson where you could a movement apart and put it back together again. Moreover, there was a longer lesson that allowed you to build your own watch. It was strongly emphasised that it was for beginners and no previous knowledge was needed. Seiko even invited one of their master watchmakers down to the show to give demonstrations, which I found to be quite a talking point amongst exhibitors.
The first ever Grand Seiko watch was at the showThe latest trend I have noticed brands jumping onto throughout the world of wristwatches is offering more knowledge on the actual creation process of the watch. What goes on inside a watch is a mystery to most, and it seems brands would like to educate people - not only for customer acquisition, but to keep interest up and create a passion for watchmaking. In addition to the brand exhibition and watchmaking classes, visitors could also check out the full list of Grand Prix winners - the oscars of the wristwatch world, a display of weird and wonderful colourful gem-set watches, and an historical overview of the chronograph function. Also, watch accessories could be found at the event, such as super-luxurious watch winders and after market straps. One highlight was a watch winder that featured a clock with a tourbillon movement, that opened and shut with a touch of two fingers (no button, just sensors), could be programmed like a computer, and just oozed luxury - although I guess it would have to for £45,000.
SalonQP was a success from a visitor's point of view. There was a lot on offer to learn, loads of industry professionals to chat with, and a lot of watches to admire and discover. See below for some images we took at the show: