Sunday, November 18, 2012
SalonQP 2012, the London watch show that has gone from strength to strength over the past four years, finished last weekend. Organisers say that more visitors than ever took advantage of the opportunity to see over 30 brands and 20 independents in the wonderful surroundings of the Saatchi Gallery.
I'll be posting some more in depth articles over the coming days and weeks, but realised that I hadn't even covered some of the highlights and other interesting things I'd seen. A quick caveat - these pieces / brands interested me. They may not all be haute horologie, but that doesn't stop them from being interesting. And as a #watchnerd, I'm finding that things are increasingly interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I completely failed to visit quite a large number of brands at QP - even though I spent three entire sessions in the gallery. To those brands, I apologise. It's not you, it's me. I got distracted. Sorry.
|U-Boat's 2013 U-1001|
As some of you may recall, I have a bit of a thing about depth. I enjoy SCUBA diving and freediving almost as much as I like writing about watches that can go deep. Now, there are various ways of making a very, very water-resistent watch: you can make it big; you can fill it with oil; or you can add a really, really thick crystal, like U-Boat did with this year's U-1001. I can't find the watch on their website, so assume it's a 2013 model. Italo Fontana has slapped a c.9mm think, hockey puck-esque slab of sapphire onto this new piece, which lends the U-1001 a slightly bizarre look. It's certainly a statement piece, with the slightly opaque, almost frosty edges of the the crystal contrasting strongly with the all back, DLC'd case. It's fun. It's slightly bonkers. And it's got a claimed water-resistance of over 1000m. What more could you ask for?
|The U-51 Bronze / PVD Limited Edition|
Further parts coming shortly.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of QP Magazine and received free entry to the event.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
There has been a marked increase in the popularity of "NATO"-style straps over the past year (whether true NATOs, half NATOs, Rhinos or any other variety). Where once these were only available from such veritable purveyors as Timefactors or Phoenix (who actually does produce NATO straps for our armed forces), these bands are now popping up in Urban Outfitters and J Crew. High end versions have been appearing all over the place, with prices of up to $200 for Shell Cordovan, or $145 for a one-piece leather NATO, and there have even been videos posted on Hodinkee describing how to wear them. But in all the excitement, many people may have missed a new offering from Tender, best known for making some of the best jeans on the planet, and one of my favourite brands (I even have a denim apron from them). I must declare an interest here - I have met William Kroll a number of times, and would consider him an acquaintance, but do not believe that this has influenced my thoughts unduly.
|The Hands-On from Tender Co.|
Sunday, November 11, 2012
|Peter at SalonQP 2012 earlier this month|
Peter Roberts had originally lined up a job at Philips in Holland and would probably have never even considered a career in watchmaking if he had not seen an advert for the "first watch worn on the moon", the Omega Speedmaster in late 1969. Practicing initially on military watches that he bought on Tottenham Court Road (he would repair them and sell them on to fund the next purchase) Peter became the first English student to be accepted at the WOSTEP school of watchmaking in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
It was here that Peter had an idea to create a watch that he had only previously seen ijn the pages of a book - a watch with five hands. Adding jewels to the movement, a mineral glass back to display his finissage of the base Valjoux 726 and cannibalising the screw-down pushers from a Rolex chronograph and the bezel from a GMT, the nineteen year-old produced a certified chronometer as his graduation watch, that had five hands indicating hours, minutes, seconds, the date and a second timezone. It's a complication that has been rarely seen since.