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SalonQP 2012 Part 1 – U-Boat Watches

SalonQP 2012, the London watch show that has gone from strength to strength over the past four years, finished last weekend. Organisers say that more visitors than ever took advantage of the opportunity to see over 30 brands and 20 independents in the wonderful surroundings of the Saatchi Gallery.

I’ll be posting some more in depth articles  over the coming days and weeks, but realised that I hadn’t even covered some of the highlights and other interesting things I’d seen. A quick caveat – these pieces / brands interested me. They may not all be haute horologie, but that doesn’t stop them from being interesting. And as a #watchnerd, I’m finding that things are increasingly interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I completely failed to visit quite a large number of brands at QP – even though I spent three entire sessions in the gallery. To those brands, I apologise. It’s not you, it’s me. I got distracted. Sorry.

U-Boat’s 2013 U-1001

As some of you may recall, I have a bit of a thing about depth. I enjoy SCUBA diving and freediving almost as much as I like writing about watches that can go deep. Now, there are various ways of making a very, very water-resistent watch: you can make it big; you can fill it with oil; or you can add a really, really thick crystal, like U-Boat did with this year’s U-1001. I can’t find the watch on their website, so assume it’s a 2013 model. Italo Fontana has slapped a c.9mm think, hockey puck-esque slab of sapphire onto this new piece, which lends the U-1001 a slightly bizarre look. It’s certainly a statement piece, with the slightly opaque, almost frosty edges of the the crystal contrasting strongly with the all back, DLC’d case. It’s fun. It’s slightly bonkers. And it’s got a claimed water-resistance of over 1000m. What more could you ask for?

The U-51 Bronze / PVD Limited Edition

Slightly less bonkers is this U-51 limited edition, a rather good take on the bronze watch, which incorporates both polished bronze and PVD-coated sections with a warm, tobacco brown dial. The colours work extremely well together, with the multi-layered dial being a very successful case in point. Patrick Moufarrige – the UK AD – speaks about this change in direction from U-Boat – a move from large, in your face tool watches, to a softer, more organic look, that will age on the wrist. I liked the contrast between the treated and untreated sections, and there’s a depth to the dial that I’d not noticed before in U-Boat watches. It’s not a small piece – on my wrist it was at first vaguely comical, but then, I realised that it actually sat no higher than many of my other (much smaller watches) and fitted just as comfortably under the cuff. The eye is drawn to the multiple elements of the case design, and is offset nicely by a hand-distressed thick leather strap. Patrick said that they had played around with a black dialled version, but somehow I can’t see that working as well as the brown. It’s a much *softer* watch than I expected from U-Boat, and one that I rather like.

Further parts coming shortly.

the #watchnerd

Disclaimer: I was a guest of QP Magazine and received free entry to the event.

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