The Night Before by The Watchmaker’s Club
Angus Davies visits London and attends The Night Before by The Watchmakers Club.
The Night Before event featured a plethora of brands including Andreas Strehler, Garrick, Moritz Grossmann, Christiaan van der Klauww, Fears, Pinion Watches, Czapek Genève, Vault Watches, GoS Watches and Zeitwinkel
A few weeks ago, I attended the second instalment of the horological showcase, entitled ‘The Night Before’. This year’s event was held at London’s Library Hotel. Here, a broad selection of independent watch brands sat side by side in the intimate venue, displaying their finest collections for the delectation of watch connoisseurs.
The assembled timepieces included several models being unveiled for the first time. Brands present at the event included some watchmaking royalty, the esteemed Andreas Strehler, German über-brand Moritz Grossmann and astronomical timepiece experts Christiaan van der Klauuw, each displaying several mouthwatering collections.
Christiaan van der Klauww
A personal favourite of the event was a magnificent mechanical hand-wound watch, the Fears Brunswick. The ‘cold resin enamel’ dial of this watch evinces a chaste, ‘never been touched’ appearance which I personally found most becoming. Moreover, I took heart that this glorious watch would not break the proverbial bank, costing a mere £1750.
Pinion Watches were out in force, displaying an impressive ensemble of watches. The English brand is adept at making honest mechanical timepieces which appear hewn from granite whilst exhibiting wonderful chiselled features. The British watch company unveiled the Atom at the event, a new entry-level timepiece equipped with a robust, automatic Miyota movement. Housed in a bead-blasted stainless steel case this latest, modestly priced timepiece (£790) from Pinion, exudes an air of quality.
Garrick was yet another brand flying the flag for Blighty. The new open-worked S1 was a huge talking point as watch collectors and journalists jostled to get near to its intriguing naked dial. Nevertheless, my favourite watch from the English company was the latest Portsmouth model equipped with an incredible guilloché dial. The flawless fan-shaped motif is mesmerising to behold and surprisingly the company does not intend charging a premium for its updated model. Equipped with a subilme dial canvas and featuring a new case design, the Portsmouth is keenly priced at £17,995. This is clearly a timepiece worthy of your attention.
Czapek Genève, the Swiss watch company whose name references the eponymous watchmaker from the 1850s, also exhibited at the event. I have reviewed this company’s timepieces previously and and have always been mightily impressed with its lucid dials and matchless levels of movement finishing. In this instance, the maison showcased a range of models, including the supremely impressive Place Vendome Tourbillon.
Vault watches looked to the world of banking for its V1 model. No two versions of the V1 display time the same way. Indeed, time is shown using an array of gears that resemble the mechanism of a bank vault. As the hands are adjusted the circular hour track rotates, delivering a new location for each hour. Nothing is predictable about the display except that it works faultlessly.
The charismatic Patrik Sjögren brought a dash of Scandinavian flair to proceedings with his intriguingly named Sarek Midnight Blue, a watch featuring a dial of Damascus steel. The timepiece exudes a high quotient of individualism, courtesy of a plethora of petroleum-like hues populating the dial. The case is formed of stainless steel and the strap is handcrafted in black moose leather. Indeed, such is my profound affection for the watch that I will be reviewing its splendiferous form in the coming months.
GoS Watches Sarek Midnight Blue
The interestingly named Zeitwinkel displayed an array of their finely crafted, elegant Swiss timepieces. While the brand showed their full collection, it was the 273° model which, once again, caught my attention with its eye-catching large date display and graceful lancine hands.
Peter Nikolaus of Zeitwinkel talking to a guest
I enjoyed my visit to this horological soirée. The wine and beer readily flowed and the room was full of likeminded souls. The event differed from a watch exhibition, removing much of the stuffiness and formality. Visitors chatted to each other about the timepieces on display and the exhibiting brands made a point of letting collectors place watches on their wrists. With 155 guests in attendance and many more being turned away, the success of the event was clear. Will there be ‘The Night Before 2018’? I certainly hope so.