Tag Archives: salon qp

Fears – Launching at Salon QP

News is seeping out on social media of the re-launch of the British watch brand Fears at this autumn’s Salon QP.

Below is the only image of a past Fears watch I can find. A pretty nice looking watch. They might do worse than produce a slightly larger re-interpretation of this.

Past glory a 1940's Fears
Past glory a 1940’s Fears

The only other news I have managed to uncover is the company’s entry on the business social network Linkedin. They say….

“The launch of the Fears Watch Company Limited marks the re-birth of a family-run British watch company. Between 1846 and the 1950s, quality watches coming out of the city of Bristol proudly bore the name FEARS on the dial. Over the past 60 years the company has lain dormant, skipping two generations to be re-founded by the great-great-great-grandson of the founder. Fears will produce and sell high quality wrist watches, manufactured in Switzerland, with comprehensive after-sales care, at an affordable price. A quality wrist watch designed to last a lifetime.”

Definitely something to look forward to at Salon QP. I am wondering how much space there is in this “British/Swiss” niche.

Hop stuff: meet the maker of the atomic watch – Daily Telegraph

He’s the creator of the world’s first atomic-powered timepiece, as well as devices that marry smart technology with traditional aesthetics. The Daily Telegraph meet Richard Hoptroff

Read the article here or below

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The familiar environs of the fine watch world – the rarefied factories of Geneva or the glossy stores of Bond Street – are a world apart from an unassuming street in south London’s Elephant & Castle. The tiny workspace that makes up British timepiece specialist Hoptroff’s HQ is like the horological equivalent of the Old Curiosity Shop, only with a dash of luxury fairy dust sprinkled throughout. For it’s here that physicist, archaeologist and amateur pilot Richard Hoptroff is pushing the boundaries of watchmaking through a series of pioneering innovations that have changed the watch world.

We like challenges here,” he says, by way of understatement, referring to the project that will launch at fine watch fair SalonQP next month; the Hotblack True Tide. This timepiece will be able to tell the tide times at over 3,000 ports across the world, syncing up with a smartphone containing information relayed via Bluetooth into a chip in the watch, with the traditional dial on the face swinging to the relevant numbers. But what sets Hoptroff’s technical wizardry apart from the smart phone generation is that this complex technology comes in the form of handsome, classically designed watches that look mechanical rather than digital.

“The watches are ‘smart’ but they are traditional looking, beautiful pieces. Primarily a watch is a thing of beauty not utility. We don’t even need watches to tell the time these days so you wear it to look good and feel good. The ‘smart’ element is displayed in a more considered way than just a screen,” Hoptroff says.

It’s this thread of innovation that led Hoptroff, who started working in forecasting software, to create the Atomic, which lays claim to being the most accurate timekeeping device of its size, not to mention being the world’s first atomic-powered watch. It was developed in 2013 using chips taken from US military cruise missiles (and no, he can’t divulge what’s in them – it’s top secret) and runs at an accuracy of 1 second to every 1,000 years. In layman’s terms, it’s more accurate than Big Ben.

Currently working on refining the size of the timepiece to make it viable for the wrist, Hoptroff has also recently created the No.9, a watch that tells the share prices on a dial on the face, synced up once again to an app, and the No.15, a watch with an embedded compass that indicates the direction to Mecca and relays the exact times of prayer.

In his inventor’s studio, overflowing with devices such as a Crookes radiometer, circuit boards, balance springs, cogs, studs and escape wheels, Hoptroff’s mission statement has always been to test the technological status quo. “We’ve refined our processes by trial and error. It’s not rocket science,” he says, although it sounds like it, “but you realise that by adding just a little bit of smart technology in an intelligent way, you can do amazing things. We employ technology but we do so in a personal way, so for your prayer times, or the device on the watch I’m wearing that tells me when anniversaries, birthdays and important dates are on a dial”. All this innovation in a package that’s infinitely more beautiful than a standard smart timepiece makes Hoptroff one to watch.

Garrick teams up with Andreas Strehler – updated

SalonQP have given some more details. These are the highlights :

Schofield

Today has proved to be a “Schofield Day”

First of all I found this great article describing the Schofield Beater, which in bronze is my favourite of their range.

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Salon QP – Schofield Beater

Then their regular newsletter arrived in my in box. These newsletters would be worth opening just for the quality of the photos like this one of a batch of Signalman’s awaiting dispatch.

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Up close with Bremont’s Baselworld launches – Salon QP

Up close with Bremont’s Baselworld launches | Salon QP

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Selling online: an ultra-rare Roger Smith Series 2 – Salon qp

Some great photos in this piece from the Salon QP website

Something we’ve almost never seen is a watch made by Roger W Smith  for sale online. And it can be yours for… £115,000. Pictures from WatchXchange

Ownership of a Roger W Smith timepiece represents the ultimate horological ambition of many, many serious collectors around the world. But given the tiny numbers of watches that emerge each year from Smith’s Isle of Man studio, and the lengthy waiting list involved, very few people will ever get their hands on one.

Which makes the appearance of one for sale online a rather interesting occurrence – in fact, we thought it may be an internet first, though a comment from the PuristsPro here suggests a bit of precedent (well, if anyone should know…). This Roger W Smith Series 2 has just shown up at the recently launched (and evidently well-connected) online seller WatchXchange, whose founder we profiled in QP magazine in November (read it here). It is priced on the website at an undoubtedly hefty £115,000.

© WatchXchange

The Series 2 is Smith’s “production watch” (he also creates unique pieces on a bespoke basis), but don’t imagine series production amounts to volume: such is the painstaking nature of the work in Smith’s studio, fewer than 10 models emerge each year. It’s one of the rarest watches in the world.

Smith began planning the Series 2 in 2002. At that time he had been working under the guidance of his mentor, the great Dr George Daniels, for several years, slowly mastering the 32 watchmaking skills required to make a watch according to the “Daniels Method”. His ambition was to translate these skills into the creation of a “modern, skill-based, high grade British wrist watch”, but it would be four years before a finished model would be created, with a prototype produced in early 2006. The model for sale here is dated December 2006, according to the engraving on its movement plate, making it one of the earliest Series 2 models to have been created.

© WatchXchange

That movement represents so much of what makes a Roger W Smith watch special. Smith took his inspiration from the pocket watches produced in the great age of British horology, by the likes of Tompion, Graham and Arnold. It demonstrates what Smith describes as a quintessentially British style of watchmaking, characterized by the strong three-quarter plate that occupies much of the view, by the depth of the mechanism’s architecture, and by the understated frosted finish, contrasting with black polished steel parts.

© WatchXchange

© WatchXchangeAnd, of course, there’s the small matter of the Daniels Co-Axial Escapement. George Daniels invented the Co-Axial Escapement as a longer-lasting, lubricant-free alternative to the Swiss lever escapement, eventually selling it to Omega, where it now forms the brand’s most important technical pillar. Only Smith is allowed to employ the system outside Omega. In 2010 he delivered his improvement upon Daniels’ design, the Single Wheel Co-Axial, now found in the Series 2 – though as an older watch, this model contains the first generation version.

The case and dial further demonstrate the extreme hand-worked skills of the Daniels/Smith style of watchmaking: a variety of engine-turned dial patterns, and every element cut, engraved or sculpted by hand.

© WatchXchange

This is simply one of the finest watches in the world, embodying the very rarest horological qualities. And a hell of an opportunity for someone with extremely deep pockets. Though whether it’s really worth the readies WatchXchange is asking… well, the market will determine.

The watch is listed on WatchXchange here, and is offered with original box and paperwork. It can be viewed by appointment in central London.