It’s that time of the year again – the event that I look forward to well in advance – the annually held SalonQP exhibition. This year seems a bit different than previous years at first glance – the usual names that adorn the exhibitor stands aren’t present and instead a new wave of young labels and brands entering the UK market for the first time have entered the arena. These are the brands you probably won’t have heard of and won’t hit the media headlines as such. As a result I thought it would be fun to summarise my time at the press launch and have a quick informal highlight of names to look out for if you’re visiting during this weekend.
First up to make the round is the brand new Parisian watch label Fugue. Whilst at first glance I was inclined to think of the deadly Japanese Sashimi, founder Leopoldo Celi explained that the brand name veered towards the French word for ‘escape’ -incorporating a number of philosophical elements such as taking breaks from our usual routines and drawing references to the elusive nature of time. This is perhaps most explicitly embodied through their launch piece; which is distinguished through it’s interchangeable case design.
Formex was a brand that took me by surprise. They were a bunch of guys I hadn’t heard of yet they’ve been around for quite a while whilst innovating under the radar. The brand holds it’s core values in providing a timepiece that can hold it’s own during high-performance, extreme sports yet at relatively reasonable prices. The CEO of the brand Raphael Granito is a huge fan of extreme sports and was more than happy to show me pictures of his escapades such as skydiving and downhill skateboarding. Formex currently operates entirely online and this year is the first time they’ve entered the UK exhibition market. What drew me to them in particular with the use of a really nifty VR app that lets any end user try on a timepiece without visiting a boutique.
This was a real treat during my quick overview of the event. A veteran German watchmaker based in Dresden producing fully handmade timepieces using traditional techniques. Herr Lang is showcasing his brand outside of Germany for the first time and I daresay his work stands out as a real gem across the whole event. You may have some trouble with language barriers but his colleagues are at hand to translate. It’s definitely a brand I look forward to working with in the future.
Carl Suchy & Sohne
Yet another case of reviving a dormant historic watch label – this time it’s the Austrians who are hedging their way forward to make a mark. Representing the brand is the (re) founder – Robert Punkenhoffer and renowned watchmaker Marc Jenni (who you may probably recognise for the timeburner piece). The launch collection pays homage to the brand’s origins as well as elements of Austrian culture. The seconds indicator represents a waltz with contrasting textures to stand out.
This is a brand I’ve been familiar with for some time – seeing how I got into a rather interesting debate about the values of the term “Swiss Made” (back when that was the hot topic) with the founder, Joost Vreeswijk. Until now, I hadn’t been able to see his label’s pieces in person. The pieces are targeted at aficionados – those interested in quality and design. The brand is once again another example of revitalising a dormant label, though Vreeswijk will be more than happy to explain his tale (something in mind for an upcoming project).