Dispatch From The UK: Winter 2015

Since Haute Time has gone global, we’re bringing you a snapshot from our worldwide markets. Here, our local London-based editor Arthur Touchot recaps the United Kingdom’s hottest watch news.

Salon qp Guests-marveling-at-this-year's-most-wonderful-creations
Guests marveling at this year’s best timepieces at SalonQP in London.

Bigger and Better Than Ever: Salon QP Returns to London
It keeps getting bigger—and better. SalonQP was back in town this fall, taking over the Saatchi Gallery for the seventh time during the second week of November. Timepiece collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts flew in from all over the world to get the chance to see the 10 best watches of the year, as voted by the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2015, and were the first to witness some last-minute new releases before the holiday season. Once again, SalonQP had a British focus, with brands such as Schofield, Roger Smith and Bremont drawing local collectors. However, there was a continental flavor to the fair this year, with established Maisons such as Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Sohne, Montblanc, Tudor and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Guests marveled at the latest creations, and also caught a glimpse of the past through a special preview of the November auction from Watches of Knightsbridge Auctioneers, including an extremely rare stainless steel Rolex Tudor Submariner and a 1965 Memovox Polaris Alarm Divers Watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre. SalonQP also presented “The Art of Colour” an exhibition dedicated to the dazzling creations past and present from the likes of Piaget, Bulgari, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Backes & Strauss, as well as “Inside a Second,” a tribute to the glorious history of the chronograph, one of horology’s most alluring and enduring complications. A selection of key pieces from the Harrods Fine Watch Room was presented on the ground-floor lounge, including one-off pieces and watches from Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Jason Broderick, Fashion Director of Menswear, Sports and Fine Watches, said he was delighted to be partnering with SalonQP for the fourth consecutive year. “The exhibition is the perfect showcase for our most exclusive and innovative pieces and an ideal environment in which to share our passion for fine watches.”

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Daniel Craig as James Bond

James Bond and Omega: Why it Works According to the brand’s CEO
Haute Time sat down with Stephen Urquhart, the CEO of Omega, to discuss one of the big screen’s most controversial and profitable partnerships.

Haute Time: James Bond’s watch-of-choice for the last 17 years has been Omega, ever since Pierce Brosnan wore the Omega Seamaster Professional Quartz in Goldeneye circa 1995. How has that product placement evolved?
Stephen Urquhart: For me, the most important aspect of the Bond watch is not, and should not be, the gadget inside of it. At Omega, we’re not a ‘gadget’ brand, per se; over the years Bond has used gadgets in the watches, for cutting ice or engaging a harpoon. When Daniel Craig came on as Bond, however, [film co-producers] Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson wanted to get back a [cooler], understated and sophisticated look about Bond that I think is so much a part of Bond’s image and legacy. In Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, while Craig wore Omega, the watch didn’t serve as much a function as part of their respective plots.

Urquhart Talks Bond’s Pivotal Omega Watches
1. The Seamaster 300M Professional Quartz was introduced in the early 1990s and [Academy Award winning costume designer] Lindy Hemming, who revamped Bond’s image for Goldeneye, was adamant to choose this watch because of the Seamaster name. She was convinced that Bond, being a commander of the royal navy and British armed forces, would wear an Omega Seamaster. To this day, people still walk into Omega shops asking for this Bond watch. It’s become as synonymous with Bond as how the Speedmaster is known the world over as the moon watch.
2. The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial was introduced when Daniel Craig was cast as 007, and I was in favor of giving his image what we felt was more in keeping with the new decade: a bit more upmarket and ‘sturdy.’ We had it featured two films. That was the style of watch that drew from the 1950s, inspired by the early Seamasters.
3. From Planet Ocean, Craig as Bond went into Skyfall with the Seamaster Aqua Terra. The story became a bit more low-key here, so Craig chose for himself the blue Aqua Terra which replaced his Planet Ocean, as reflected by the lifestyle change he experienced in the film toward the end.
4. The Seamaster Co-Axial 300M Bond wears in Spectre is essentially a replica of the 1950s Seamaster 300. It’s like the younger brother or elder brother of the Planet Ocean. In Spectre, Daniel Craig has the Aqua Terra on his wrist in the beginning, but Q gives him this new 300—a watch Daniel was, himself, instrumental in featuring in the film because he genuinely loves this watch. The NATO bracelet it’s featured on was what was worn by the armed forces in the early 1950s.

Esquire-Editor, Alex Blimes and José Mourinho

José Mourinho at Home in London: Hublot Hosts Interview With ‘the Special One’ at Harrods
When it comes to counting down the days until Christmas, there is no better measure than a quick stroll through the first floor at Harrods. The prestigious British retailer gets busier as the holiday season approaches and clients hurry to find the perfect present before it gets snatched up. Instead, huge crowds gathered to catch something else: a glimpse of José Mourinho. The Chelsea Football Club manager, who moved back to the capital last year, was the guest of honor for the inaugural launch of Esquire’s “Big Watch Book”, of which Hublot graces the cover. The evening was marked by a live Q&A, led by Esquire editor Alex Blimes, who braved the issue of Chelsea’s surprisingly poor start to the 2015-2016 season. Mourinho was his usual self, charming his way through the answers with the confidence of a man who does not need to prove himself. ‘The Special One’ reassured Londoners. He is here to stay! The most fashionable manager in the Premier League, Mourinho also flashed his current favorite wristwatch, a Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono that he has worn since the summer of 2014. The self-professed “watch fanatic” is quite serious about his wrist game. An ambassador of Hublot since 2014, he’s already collaborated with the brand on designing his own model, the King Power “Special One” Jose Mourinho. Win or lose, his wrist always features on the back pages of every newspaper in the country, more often than not clinched into a fist after victory. For the past year, he’s been seen wearing the Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Chrono. Why? Because Mourinho likes to wear only one watch until he wins his next trophy. Like many watch collectors, Mourinho purchases watches based on his team’s results. For every major trophy he wins, he rewards himself with a new watch. What makes his personal collection unique is what he does with his previous watches. Each one is ‘retired’ and kept inside his personal trophy cabinet sitting beside the trophy won while wearing the watch. It’s not hard to guess how many watches he has then, considering the 21 titles under his name.

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