(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

Superb, amazing, wonderful... All fitting adjectives for the event that VC/The Hour Lounge organized in London last Wednesday(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner - probably less appropriate for my reporting skills(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner .

I was keen and ready to make a glorious report on the HL “a la Duncan”, jam-packed with photos of people, watches and good food. And so I showed up with all my gear, ready to cover the event like a real pro – I had brought my newly purchased macro lens to take a multitude of close-ups of all the beautiful watches that would be on display, especially les Masques…

Anyway, that was the plan. As soon as I came in, I was given a nice glass of cold champagne, was introduced to the whole friendly VC team and immediately got into a captivating discussion with Vacheron Constantin’s creative geniuses, Christian Selmoni and Vincent Kauffmann. Drinking champagne with the creators of my beloved 47212 and of the QdI was enough to make me forget about everything else…(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner

So Yours Truly really enjoyed himself, having a really good time with fun people, eating great food, salivating over amazing watches, and guzzling down really nice wine all evening long(Late) report on the HL London Dinner … By the time I remembered that I should take pictures of the watches, it was past 1am, and I think everybody were waiting for me to go(Late) report on the HL London Dinner … So sorry guys, no close-up of Les Masques this time… (I’ll try to do better at SIHH!). Thank you Ruby for saving the day and taking good pictures(Late) report on the HL London Dinner . And, on top of this, I'm a few days late in delivering my report...(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

But let’s start at the beginning… The event was held at Morton’s a private club on Berkerley Square, London’s most exclusive (and expensive) location – very appropriate for Vacheron Constantin. The event started at 7:30pm. All the guests arrived promptly, and each was well greeted by Alex and the VC team: Christian, Vincent, Juliette and Nikki. In total, we were 13, a number which worked really well – there was a buzzy, yet intimate and relax atmosphere.(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

After a few more drinks, we moved to the table, where Alex gave an eloquent speech. At that point, I did remember that I had my camera…

So here’s Alex giving us a few words…
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

One of my better pictures… A close-up of our dear Moderator… I have to congratulate Alex, who managed this time to keep his shirt completely buttoned!!(Late) report on the HL London Dinner
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

A table shot - not great, but at least everybody's on it:
Starting on the left, from the back to the front: Ruby (James' charming and dedicated girlfriend, standing up and taking photos), Chi (my longtime friend/partner in crime), Ramzey, Alex, Lisa, and Rolando. On the right, from the back to the front: Vincent, Nikki, Anthony, Juliette, Christian, and Mark.
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

Here’s Vincent Kauffmann, putting back on his wrist a piece unique, a prototype QdI (yes, je tease, je tease…(Late) report on the HL London Dinner )
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

Here’s Christian (on the left), speaking with Mark Keenan (on the right). Mark is a really cool guy, I had a really nice chat with him at the end of the night. His watch technical knowledge is really impressive. Not the greatest photo of him (sorry buddy(Late) report on the HL London Dinner ), but the best out of the ones I took…
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

The charming and bubbly Nikki (who not only has a beautiful smile, but sure knows how to organize an event!(Late) report on the HL London Dinner ) and Anthony
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

The exquisite and gracious Juliette, who had to endure my ranting on the ADs of this world, and my dream of one day having all watch manufacturers sell directly to the customers… Here she is, trying to look as if she had not noticed that I was trying to photograph her…
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

Both Juliette and Christian seem... skeptical(?) to one of Mark's comments - Mark, what were you talking about? (Late) report on the HL London Dinner
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

My dear friend Chi, who one day will probably become UK's Prime Minister (Late) report on the HL London Dinner
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

From left to right: Ruby, the lovely Lisa, the ever smiling Alex, and Mr Rolex himself, Ramzey. Ramzey was a good sport, as he was the last one to leave the party, even though he had flown from the US (LA of all places) that same morning(Late) report on the HL London Dinner . Ramzey has a nice collection of Rolexes, but on Wednesday he was sporting a marvelous 44mm Pam Radiomir 8 Days power reserve... niceeeee(Late) report on the HL London Dinner . He recently fell in love with the Malte chrono, and I do hope that he'll take the VC jump(Late) report on the HL London Dinner
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

Rolando, the best dressed man in the place, speaking with Lisa...
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

The food was very good, and well presented. The starter was a tuna tartare, which was delicious.
(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

The main (a succulent lamb) looked/and tasted even better - but at that point my camera had been forgotten on a sofa, so no pics. Desert was a lovely cheesecake with a few blackberries… But the best for me was the fresh, homemade marshmallows given at the end as part of the mignardises…

After indulging in a little bit more food, wine and laughs, Christian delivered with the help of Vincent a truly amazing presentation on the QdI, focusing on the creative process undertaken to create such a wonderful piece. There are so many elements that I took for granted or didn’t really think about, to hear about all the obstacles the VC team overcame really helped me appreciate even more the final result(Late) report on the HL London Dinner . Knowing all the hard work that went into it really makes the watch, at least in my eyes, that much more special.(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

We had an open and honest discussion with Christian and Vincent on the future projects/releases for the QdI line, as well as the other VC models. Even if I could tell you what I heard, I probably wouldn’t – for the first time, I can tease, and I’m lovin’ it(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner !!!! I’ll just say that VC is really lucky to have onboard the Christian/Vincent team (who have known each other for over 20 years) – with them, the brand has flourished in the past few years, and believe me when I say that its future is VERY promising(Late) report on the HL London Dinner . I always enjoy these get-togethers, but having the pleasure and honor to speak with such creative geniuses as Vincent and Christian (what else could you call the creators of the Excellence Platine collection, the QdI, Les Masques, etc…?), who are two very genuine and very friendly guys, really made the event super special for me(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner .

After dinner, we had the pleasure of looking at Vacheron Constantin’s finest timepieces – pretty much the whole collection was there: Grands Exporateurs, Malte Chrono, Patrimony Retrograde (RG as well as the Excellence Platine version), the new RG OS Chrono models (with rubber strap, and with its pimpilicious(Late) report on the HL London Dinner RG bracelet), the Patrimony Contemporaine (the manual wind no date is really beautiful) and Traditionelle, the Malte Tonneau Skeletton (IMO the nicest skeleton watch on the planet(Late) report on the HL London Dinner ), the new Malte Tonneau chronograph, the Malte DTR, both models of the QdI, in Ti and RG versions, the Toledo, the CR,... and last but not least, the fabulous Masques. It was the first time I saw them “in the flesh”, and I was completely blown away. Simply Amazing, a pure Work of Art!!! I’m in love again(Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner (Late) report on the HL London Dinner … I cannot afford even one of them at the moment, but I sure would love the get together with a few Loungers and convince VC to hold a set for a few years(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

The party ended past 1am – very good for a Wednesday night, when everybody has to work the next day, and the proof that the event was a real success!

So thank you very much to VC and the HL for organizing such a great event, I really hope that this will become a yearly event… Thank you to Juliette, Christina, Vincent and Alex for making the trip from Geneva to be there. A BIG thank you to Nikki for taking the lead on organizing such a wonderful event. And cheers to all the Loungers who showed up!(Late) report on the HL London Dinner

And last but not least, the ever important goodies bag was the best one I have ever had, mainly because it included a VC leather travel case for 2 watches. What is great about this case is that the watches strapped around a little cushion each, and so the buckle doesn’t need to be undone. This is fantastic for me, as my 2 watches have deployant buckles… I had been looking for something like this for the last 6 months, and I got it for free from VC…(Late) report on the HL London Dinner


11/24/2008 - 04:33
11/25/2008 - 01:18
11/26/2008 - 19:32
11/26/2008 - 19:39
11/25/2008 - 12:08
11/28/2008 - 00:57
11/29/2008 - 13:33
WOW,,, you are the man!
11/24/2008 - 04:33

What a report!  Your thorough description makes me feel like I was there.   It was fun to see those pics and read your comments.  I found myself smiling as if I were sitting at that table (maybe someday!).  Great, now I have to get a glass of wine! Thanks Francois; I enjoyed it immensely....but no photos of the RG OSC! Best regards, Tom

thanks for the comments Tommy
11/24/2008 - 15:10
I know, no photos of the RG OSC... I'd thought I'd leave it up to you to provide the Loungers with close-ups of the beauty CHeers,  Francois
Many thanks Francois for sharing this wonderful report.
11/24/2008 - 05:32
You did a terrific job and I know that it is tough to take pictures, keep track of what is going on and enjoy yourself all at the same time.  Perhaps, this is why I stopped taking pictures and now rely on the far superior skills of friends like Kok Choon and professionals. It looks like a wonderful evening and everyone seemingly enjoyed themselves. VC always chooses interesting and fine venues for their events and deliver a fabulous experience.  They are filled with good friends, delicious food and drink and of course, remarkable timepieces.    However, I will not even ask about the comment regarding Alex and his shirt...    I am glad that you took the time to enjoy yourself and I encourage everyone to attend an event instead of solely relying on the reports.  If you think the reports are good, then the real-life experience is a hundred times better.  Coming soon, Singapore and Bangkok!!! Cheers, Duncan
cheers Duncan
11/24/2008 - 15:15
Outsourcing is indeed the way to go... You are so right, these events are such fun, they have all the ingredients to make a great experience... Re Alex and his shirt, here's a little pic of what I was hinting at... There are some more revealing shots, but I wouldn't want to offend/scare away our dear Loungers...
As they say, "different strokes for different folks"... ;-) (nt)
11/24/2008 - 21:31
Dear Moderator, Are you under medication? (nt)
11/25/2008 - 11:05
11/28/2008 - 23:49
We MUST make a tribute compilation with the better faces of our dear moderator!!
Re: (Late) report on the HL London Dinner
11/24/2008 - 05:52
Hi Francois! Thanks so much for your superbly detailed report! It fills in so many things that I missed in my earlier posting!  And a great selection of pics of the people and food!  Fantastic! Another pic from the evening of Lisa, Ruby and Vincent Kauffmann I really look forward to meeting up with you sometime, and we can talk cameras and lenses too!  Yes, I am a camera geek as well! Best regards JAMES  
Thanks James, I especially appreciate your
11/24/2008 - 15:20
honesty about being a geek.  I am probably one of the biggest ones in the world, or so would my wife like me to believe... But you know what, not only am I comfortable with my geekiness, I am not ashamed to flaunt it! Cheers,  Francois
You sure know how to write, I can't stop laughing :-) It was a
11/24/2008 - 10:52
GREAT evening, I had so much fun Thank's for the write up and I promise to open an extra button or two at the SIHH dinner
Perhaps I am the wrong gender, but...
11/24/2008 - 13:59
the prospect of you opening your buttons is not really the incentive I was looking for to entice me to attend the THL SIHH dinner...    Cheers, Duncan
Thanks Alex
11/24/2008 - 15:22
for the comments, not the promise... hey dude, whatever you'll decide, I'll be ready with the macro lens
Re: (Late) report on the HL London Dinner
11/24/2008 - 16:36
That was a great write-up and pics Francois. I enjoyed it very much. It looks like everyone had a great time. Best Wishes, Joseph
Thanks JB
11/25/2008 - 01:18

I look forward to partying again in Geneva in a few months... See you soon my friend

cool write up and pics, Francois!
11/24/2008 - 23:29
Thanks for sharing the evening with us. Hope to spend one in your company soon
As I said to JB, in about 2 months...
11/25/2008 - 01:28

The one thing that has been missing at these events is a little whisky and cigar to end the night on a good note... I am not a smoker, and I probably have one cigar per year (or less), but somehow is see this image of people enjoying watches with a cognac and cigar as going well with the concept of the "Hour Lounge"... Not sure why, maybe it was because of one the first posts I ever read on the HL, written by Doc, was showing pictures of some sort of old style private/gentlemen club with a bunch of big Chesterfield leather sofas, as his vision of a real-life Hour Lounge... Although in today's smoke-free world, having a cigar probably means "enjoying" it outside in the cold - not my idea of fun! So I guess the free (and high-quality) booze will have to suffice! Cheers,  Francois

François, a very nice review giving the excellent atmosphere of the ev
11/25/2008 - 00:15
I would have liked to be among you, and I hope one day... See you soon, and all the best to you Cheers
I'm sure we'll meet one day
11/25/2008 - 01:32
we do not live that far apart from each other, only a little Eurostar ride away... No plans to join the fun at SIHH this year? Thanks for the comments (et merci pour la cedille, vivant en Angleterre je ne la vois pas tres souvent)  Francois
I think we will meet at the SIHH,
11/27/2008 - 23:42
and with great pleasure. Even if London is not that far, I succeed in being regularly overbooked... but time will come, I am sure! Cheers, Patrice
Thanks for the report! As I said, in his former life, Alex was
11/25/2008 - 00:39
Thanks for taking us there, Francois. As Duncan said, it is hard to enjoy yourself and not forget about the photos and details of the event.  The important thing is that you had fun and we appreciate your taking the time and effort to share with us. As to Alex and his shirts, I think that is proof enough of what I had been saying all along...In his former life, Alex was a stripper.  That's why he has a problem keeping his shirt buttoned and he always loves to tease!! Cheers! Kazumi
It is indeed not the first time that you mention it,
11/25/2008 - 01:46

but each time you that you do mention Alex' former life occupation, the more it sounds true. By the way, a quick technical questions on the smileys, just to make sure we are all on the same page (it is a stupid question, but one that has been bothering me for a while...): does this face "" imply that one is being cheeky, or does it symbolise envy/desire to have something? I've been using it when I would really like to have something (as if I was eyeing a good hamburger), but seeig how you are using it in your post, Kazumi, it would have a different meaning...  hmmmmm. tough question  (or should I use ?)

Good question, Francois. I don't have a definite answer but
11/25/2008 - 15:47

...but since I was referring to Alex and his stripping, you can be sure I was being "cheeky" and NOT "desirous"!! Other than that, I think both uses should be clear and okay from context. Cheers! Kazumi

Good Lord a man can't try to forget his past life here? :-) (nt)
11/25/2008 - 15:54
Well, now it's getting interesting...
11/26/2008 - 00:41
any videos of your past life ? (for François, I'm just being cheeky)
LOL! (nt)
11/26/2008 - 14:29
LOL +1 ;-) (nt)
11/26/2008 - 19:29
just checking... ;-) (nt)
11/26/2008 - 18:50
Re: (Late) report on the HL London Dinner
11/25/2008 - 05:04
What a wonderful and exciting report. Thank you Francois for every detail and incredible photos. I almost feel I was there with you. Kind regards, Matt
cheers Matt! (nt)
11/26/2008 - 19:32
(Late) response to your (late) report...
11/25/2008 - 08:59
I see that you are going to challenge Alex for his job moderating HL! I wish I could have been there. I'll do my best to make a NY event whenever it should arise. Bill
My dear Bill
11/26/2008 - 19:39
Alex's job (and yours) would be too much work for me! I am VERY impressed at all the hard work and dedication you guys have for your moderating roles!
What a party !!!
11/25/2008 - 12:08
Seeing all tese lucky people, just makes me happy Everybody with big smiles on their faces! Not what I have this day, since this arrived yesterday Hope it soon melts away! Cheers Doc
Hope your wonderful collection(s) keep you warm this winter, Doc (nt)
11/25/2008 - 15:49
Pure air and serenity...
11/25/2008 - 19:55
...this is what I would need.
+1 on Berny's comment
11/26/2008 - 19:42
The first snow is always so beautiful... As you know, Doc, I was born and raised in Canada... And I do need during the Holidays season  some snow... Being stuck in rainy London, my dear Doc, I envy you Cheers,  Francois
Very cute...
11/28/2008 - 00:57
...Juliette, I must admit (and as always) !
Thanks for the report Francois! ...
11/28/2008 - 23:50
... seems that everithing was for an successful evening ... loungers, watches, and good food!!! :)
Cheers Fred...
11/29/2008 - 13:33
...i's good to have you back amongst us