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Highlights from SalonQP 2011: In Brief (1/2)

A quick canter round the dial, highlighting a few of the watches, experiences and conversations I most most enjoyed at SalonQP 2011.

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military

One: The Vintage WW1-92 Military. A cheeky little number from French brand Bell & Ross, based on early pilots watches. The WW1-92 Military is 45mm, automatic and reminiscent of the Baumuster B watch designs – but with a longer hour hand. In another break from tradition, the “up” arrow at twelve has been replaced by a triangle marker. The watch comes on a nicely aged, soft leather vintage-style strap and is available in two dial combinations – the one pictured at right – and a faded, more honeyed lume. The WW1-92 is £1,950 and available from all Bell & Ross retailers.

Stefano Macaluso, General Manager Girard-Perregaux

Two: Spending five minutes with Stefano Macaluso, the General Manager of Girard-Perregaux. Mr Macaluso was introduced to me by Liam Chadzynski (of Kronometry 1999) and took some time out of his schedule to talk to me about the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 45 Jackpot Tourbillon (click here to see a photo of the rather incredible movement and here for my photo of the watch itself). It was fascinating to talk to him, and to hear of the remarkable complexity and technical challenges in recreating a working “one-armed bandit” in a watch – let alone one with a manual wind tourbillon attached to it. A second barrel was added to power the slot machine, but the hardest part was ensuring that each of the dials stopped, in turn, and in exactly the right place. Astounding. As was the rest of their display, which included a Triple Bridge and some of the most exquisite cloisonné dials this side of Jaquet Droz.

MB&F’s Horological Machine No. 4

Three: Finally getting my grubby little mitts on an MB&F. It should come as no surprise that a highlight of SalonQP was meeting Max Büsser and hearing him talking about the new Legacy Machine No. 1 (click for photo). This is Max’s answer to an unposed question: what kind of watch would MB&F make if they were around 150 years ago? With its floating, exposed and oversized balance wheel, elegant case and huge domed sapphire crystal, the LM1 is closer to steampunk than haute horology. It also fitted me a great deal better than the Horological Machine No.4 (seen opposite and this time without the fabled flying panda). I’d been hoping to see this model since it was announced but when I finally strapped it to my puny, noodly wrists, I discovered that it was just a *little* bit too large. Hey ho. On the plus side, at least I won’t be spending the house sale proceeds on an HM4 just yet…

the #watchnerd

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  1. Does the total “me too” of this pilot’s watch from a brand that typically makes very distinctive pieces surprise you?

  2. To be honest, I’m not surprised at all – hence the description of it as “cheeky”. They have obviously been trying to mine the past for ideas for some time – see the PW Pocket Watch and WW1 for example – and the Type B BM is a classic design. The one thing that did surprise me was the hand length: traditionally, the Type Bs have a prominent minute hand and a very short hour hand that references the tiny inner dial – a regulateur with hours, if you will! This version has the traditional dial, but a larger hand that obscures the numbers. Doesn’t *quite* work for me.

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