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Precious Time – SalonQP, Europe’s premium fine watch exhibition London

SalonQP, Europe’s premium fine watch exhibition took place at London Chelsea’s Saatchi Gallery between 6 – 8 November 2014. Luxury Traveller’s Guide was amongst the guests, attending the opening VIP night. Champagne, cocktails, vintage cars, glamorous guests and ultra stylish and rare time pieces from the world’s best craftsmen and leading manufacturers were the highlights of the welcoming reception.

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In its 6th year, more than 30 brands were showcasing at SalonQP’14. From independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler to industry’s top names Jaeger-LeCoultre, TAG Heuer, Zenith, Hermès, Montblanc, Bulgari and Piaget.

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We were smitten by the dazzling atmosphere and creative displays at SalonQP. Chopard, in conjunction with its motoring partner Porsche, exhibited a vintage Porsche 550 Spyder, as well as its new line of motorsport-related superfast chronograph watches. Brendon Hartley, one of the three drivers from the Porsche Le Mans team, made a special appearance at the event to discuss watches and motor racing.

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MB & F presented their ‘Space Pirate’ Horological Machine No 6 – a limited edition of 50 pieces in Ti-6Al-4V titanium. Only 100 pieces in total will be produced of this extraordinary spacecraft-like masterpiece. In each of the four corners of HM6’s biomorphic case is a 360◦ sphere, capped top and bottom by transparent sapphire crystal domes. The central dome houses a 60-second flying tourbillion, the precise regulator of HM6’s Engine.

Hermes stood out with their dazzling artful displays once again- from turning Paris upside down, to freezing their masterpieces, to showcasing the watches as well-kept secret treasures, at the bottom of a dreamy sea, surrounded by exotic sea life.

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Gems of Time was a specially curated exhibition within the exhibition, which celebrated the heritage, glamour and craftsmanship of high jewellery watches. The exhibition, which took place in a space designed by Leila Latchin, was a contemporary take on a jewellery box, and unveiled a rare collection of women’s jewellery watches not usually on public view. Extraordinary golds, set with brilliant-cut diamonds, deep green emeralds, pink opals and sea-blue sapphires, were enchanting the entire space, widening the eyes of the guests and slowing down their steps. In addition, fashion illustrator Nuno da Costa shared intriguing fine-jewellery drawings that were incorporated into the design of the show. The sparkling list of famed designs included:

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- A unique set of Bulgari ‘Serpenti’ watches, which Elizabeth Taylor famously wore on the set of Cleopatra in 1962.

- The 101 mechanical movement by Jaeger-LeCoultre.

- The Harrods Princess by Backes & Strauss- made especially for Harrods as a celebration of their own Biennale, showcasing its credentials as bespoke craftsmen, this piece has been hand-set with 80 Gemfields Zambian emeralds and 241 natural diamonds.

- The Aria Collection by De Beers- the swirling forms representing the light movement, captured in their timepieces. Designed and created by Hollie Bonneville-Barden, it encapsulates the skills of the new generation of high jewellery watch designers.

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- Sautoir necklaces and cuff watches by Piaget- the pieces are inspired by its heritage designs and yet are deceptively modern. In addition, Piaget exhibited key pieces from the vintage collection.

- Cartier displayed a collection of their high jewellery timepieces, which reflect over a century’s worth of gem-setting prowess.

James Gurney, founder and director of SalonQP says, ‘I’m particularly pleased to have Gems of Time as part of SalonQP as the exhibition covers one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of watch making, quite apart from offering a more feminine, and frankly glamorous, aspect of SalonQP’

Note: Many thanks to Ann Scott Associates and Gong Muse who kindly provided us with images and helpful information.

Dobrinka Hristova
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