Salon QP, the fine watch exhibition, opens its doors at the Saatchi Gallery this Friday 8 November for three days of horological immersion. Last year, 50 top brands participated and the show attracted 6,000 visitors, making it an important event for both the watch industry and those who want to find out more about the latest watches on the market – and speak to the people, and often watchmakers, behind the launches.
I have had a look at what will be on show and I can confirm that SalonQP is not just for men. Several women’s watches caught my eye, and you would do well to start with Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of the biggest brands exhibiting. The Swiss watch house is celebrating its 180th anniversary with an exhibition of ladies’ timepieces. Here you will be able to see the famous diamond bracelet watch with the Calibre 101, as worn by the Queen on her Coronation, or try on the Reverso Cordonnet Duetto Duo, most recently worn on the red carpet by Diane Kruger.
You can also sign up for a gem-setting workshop that, from experience, is harder than it looks. Never will you see diamonds in the same way again, and the 90-minute class will leave you with a greater appreciation of the art of gem-setting.
Chopard is a natural choice for women looking for watches with an extra dose of glamour, and this year the Genevan watch house does not disappoint. A glimmering array of diamond-set models will be on display, including the knockout Imperiale Tourbillon, entirely set with diamonds. I would wager this is the most valuable jewellery watch of the show, so be sure not to miss it.
Read about snow-set diamond watches
The L.U.C Tourbillon Lady, with its high-sparkle baguette diamonds, is another treat for those who like refined mechanics swathed in precious stones. And while you are there, you will also be able to follow the design evolution of the Chopard Happy Sport – the watch that set diamonds spinning freely across the dial – over the past 20 years.
TAG Heuer presents new versions of the Lady Aquaracer, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. This sporty watch with a luxurious outlook now comes in coral pink gold, embellished with diamonds and shimmering mother-of-pearl dials. It is not surprising that it has been the choice of strong, beautiful women, from Bo Derek to Cameron Diaz.
Hermès is a destination for women for handbags and accessories, so its female offering is particularly strong. The Boule watch that dangles on the end of a chain and the new women’s version of the Le temps suspendu make this a must-see exhibitor.
Burberry not only offers the allure of fashion but new Britain models also come with an impressive ‘trench’ (that’s beige to you and me) coloured gold watch, with 165 diamonds set into the dial. The watch has an automatic movement and only 50 will be made. This is the closest thing to a Burberry raincoat for the wrist that you are ever likely to see. And with all those diamonds and gold, it could do more for your wellbeing than any waterproof outerwear.
Jaquet Droz, which dates back to 1738, was famous for his complex watches, including automata and elaborate mechanism that dance, chime and even chirp. Don’t miss the intriguing creations that the brand has to offer, including delicate decorated dials with bird motifs. Meanwhile, H. Moser & Cie will be presenting its classic, clean-faced Mayu model in rose gold, with a generous sprinkling of diamonds.
So don’t miss your chance this weekend to visit the UK’s only luxury watch show, where you are sure to find plenty of watches to catch your eye.
Chopard Happy Sport Medium Automatic watch in stainless steel.
Chopard Imperiale Tourbillon Full Set ladies’ watch.
Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Lady watch.
Limited-edition Burberry Britain watch in trench coloured gold, with 165 diamonds set into the dial.
Konstantin Chaykin Cinema watch, with a unique animation complication.
At SalonQP ladies will be able to participate in private gem-setting workshops, with artisans from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Manufacture, learning the art of gem setting and the renowned ‘snow setting’ technique seen on so many of Jaeger-LeCoultre high jewellery timepieces.
Hermès Arceau Le temps suspendu 38mm in steel.
Hermès Pendentifs Boule pendant watch.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Celestial in white gold and diamonds.
Last year’s SalonQP attracted 6,000 visitors to the Saatchi Gallery over three days.
A certain Rolling Stone turned up to the 2011 event. Ronnie Wood was there to launch a collection of clocks he had designed in collaboration with the British watch brand Bremont.
Aquaracer Lady in rose gold and steel with diamonds