Returning to the Saatchi Gallery, the event held host to 43 brands, including Fine Watchmaking Historic Maisons Breitling, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin, contemporary brands such as MB&F and Urwerk, plus a wealth of independents (large and small) from all corners of the planet. The event, run by QP Magazine, lasted three days and featured a range of curated exhibitions, parties and live talks from industry experts. Less an event for industry professionals (although they of course attend), SalonQP is perfect for true watch lovers to wander and appreciate some of the finest timepieces around.
Social media was, of course, set alight during the event with the branded hashtag used more than 6,000 times on Instagram. We decided to find out which were the most popular… and why.
To keep things simple, we won’t be differentiating between newer and older models of timepieces: an MB&F Legacy Machine, for example, will be classed as that, irrespective of dial colour, material or type of strap. Because the hashtag has been used more than 6,000 times, and each image must be reviewed individually, we took a sample size of 1,000 images from this year’s event, calculating the percentage from this to decide which is the most popular watch across the whole hashtag. So without further ado, in descending order, here are the most popular #salonQP on Instagram.
The Dirty Dozen (9,5%)
About: The Dirty Dozen (named after the film) is the name given to a group of 12 watches worn by those who fought in WWII, specifically British soldiers. During the war, many countries issued civilian timepieces that were adapted to fit the needs of soldiers. However, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) didn’t think these were suitable and placed an order for custom-built timepieces with strict guidelines. Twelve brands responded to the brief: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor, and Vertex. The resulting timepieces were the ones on display during SalonQP.
Why: Simply for the fact that these timepieces, together as a collection, are a piece of British history at a British event. A full collection is a rare sight to behold and, while not the most beautiful timepieces ever, their historical importance and iconic status put them in the top spot.
MB&F HM9 Flow (7,9%)
About: This timepiece is a tribute back to an era before wind-tunnel testing, where aesthetics played a huge part in the search for perfect aerodynamics. It pays homage to the land speed record during the early 20th century with the Napier Bluebird, and to sports cars of that period such as the Bugatti Type 57 and the Chrysler Thunderbolt.
Why: The HM9 Flow was launched at the event to much fanfare from the brand’s avid enthusiasts. Somehow, it manages to look completely futuristic but still evoke nostalgia with its shape and presence. It’s difficult to talk about trends when you mention MB&F, but it is very obvious why the brand is so loved and, of course, why people share photographs of their timepieces during these events.
AkriviA Chronomètre Contemporain (4,7%)
About: Rexhep Rexhepi, whose name is emblazoned on the dial, began his career at Patek Philippe at just 14 years old. His talent is vast and although often noted for futuristic-looking designs, the classicism of this piece comes from its inspiration in 1940s officers’ watches. It features a beautifully symmetrical movement, a grand feu dial and a general Art Deco feel with its numerals and dial layout.
Why: Only a few weeks ago, this exact same timepiece was awarded the GPHG’s Men’s Prize. When released at Baselworld this year, the buzz surrounding the brand online and on social was huge, and doesn’t seem to have died down. The black dial contrasts beautifully with the rose gold case, and it’s easy to see why this piece won both the GPHG Men’s prize and the hearts of would-be photographers on Instagram.
Anderson Geneve and Konstantin Chaykin Joker Automaton (4,6%)
About: This watch builds on the much-loved Konstantin Chaykin Joker that was released last year. Each eye is a disc which indicates the hours and minutes; the mouth is an upside-down moon phase. Driven by an Anderson Geneve automaton movement, a miniature on the caseback shows the Joker playing cards with Poison Ivy and The Penguin, with eyes, hands and cigarettes all moving.
Why: Another timepiece that caused rifts at Baselworld this year, the Joker Automaton is as aesthetically fun as it is mechanically impressive. The 2017 rendition was actually on our list from last year’s SalonQP. Who wouldn’t want to share a picture of something so out-of-the-ordinary?
Atelier ADC88 (4%)
About: Atelier de Chronométrie (AdC) hails from Barcelona and has a bulletproof formula that all its timepieces follow: pre-WWII aesthetics powered by a completely revamped Omega movement. The dial is matte silver and features, as mentioned, 1940s aesthetics with the face divided into quarters by a crosshair and a centred guilloché subdial.
Why: With no awards and no garish design, the Atelier makes the Top 5 for sheer vintage beauty. Limited to only 44 handmade pieces, it’s as rare as anything on this list, and was probably photographed by the most expert attendees of the show.
Less a trend-spotting event and more a show of appreciation, as mentioned the timepieces that won on social won because of their beautiful, out-there and sometimes different aesthetics. The winners weren’t the big brands or Grand Complications, but the more out-of-the-box pieces… with vintage proving as popular as ever.