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Centenary of an icon: SalonQP highlights

Stephen Doig
Alain Delon in black tie and evening watch - 2012 Jean-Claude Deutsch/Paris Match

Next month the fourth annual SalonQP showcase of horological delights takes place at London's Saatchi Gallery. Here are a few of the highlights.

Centenary of an icon

When Cartier launched its iconic Tank watch in 1917, it set the template for the modern dress watch: discreet, elegant, beautifully made and focused on aesthetics more than swagger. Which is why SalonQP this year celebrates 100 years of this timepiece with an exhibition devoted to the handsome glamour of the dress watch. Black Tie, White Dial will look at iconic examples and their stylistic hallmarks, with pieces from Longines and Piaget, alongside imagery of some of its debonair champions, from Alain Delon (above, in 1966) to 007. To launch the exhibition, menswear vlogger Jim Chapman and Gieves & Hawkes head cutter Davide Taub will discuss the partnership between eveningwear and this after-dark accessory.

Van Cleef & Arpels' Midnight Planetarium watch

Time and space

Watch brands have always been inspired by astronomy, and examples at the fair include Van Cleef & Arpels’ Midnight Planetarium watch, which has 3D orbs that move in unison to mirror the planets, and Jacob & Co’s Astronomia Sky, which has a convex dial filled with a mini solar system. 

Loomes' Everest watch

Higher cause

Nepal isn’t the natural habitat for luxury watches, yet some intrepid sorts have tested their capabilities in this most hostile of environments. Most famously, the Rolex Explorer is derived from the Oyster Perpetual that Sir Edmund Hillary wore to conquer Everest. This year, another watch that has sat at the world’s highest peak goes to auction at SalonQP, and it has a poignant back story. In 2015, members of the Brigade of Gurkhas set out to climb Everest to mark their bicentenary, only to turn back when hit by the earthquake that devastated Nepal. This watch, a Smith Calibre No 1 by British marque Loomes & Co, was worn to the summit this year by a member of the 2015 expedition. Profits go to the Mountain Trust.

SalonQP is at the Saatchi Gallery, London SW

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