... A Fine watch is for the body and Time, my son, is for the soul.

I was invited to the Fine Watch Exhibition 2014, which was held in the Saatchi Gallery, London. Connoisseurs, members of the British intelligentsia, collectors, authors, CEOs, renowned British families attended the event which lasted for three days and no one wanted it to end. The archetypal image of a Renaissance watchmaker was reborn in our minds. The ghost of the very first master horologist was in the air and it was as if we were all breathing it together. During these three days I, once again, confirmed that no matter how often the world changes, how fast it moves, how disruptive it is, the tradition of watchmaking is so powerful that it will keep preserving its timelessness. It is beyond and independent of time.

Piaget, Mont Blanc, Rapport, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Konstantin Chaykin, Cartier were among the intricate brands that exhibited their delicate pieces of art. The visitors had the chance to see and in some cases to touch these rare objects of desire. There were several presentations revealing insiders’ secrets and inspiring speeches about the high luxury business. One of the first speakers during the first day of the exhibition was the Swiss Ambassador to London who said: “Swiss watches are great ambassadors for my country.” Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, the market researcher who unlocks the codes hidden in the cultural unconscious, said during an interview in 2007: “The Swiss like to take their time. It’s kind of vulgar to be in a rush.” I think similar to the Japanese and the Swiss, for the British high culture it is also — ‘everything has its time, no rush.’ Holistically speaking, the two macro-concepts, that were imprinted in my mind from this 3-day exhibition were ‘understatement’ and ‘highness’. Notice that the title of the exhibition is Fine Watch rather than Luxury Watch Exhibition. I always find the British culture impressive for its ability to keep the balance and maintain a strong relationhip between these two different macro-concepts that play a role of utmost importance in the luxury brand management strategies.

During networking, it was a pleasure listening to the language the collectors speak and looking at the world from their viewpoint. Ian Skellern, brand consultant and watch collector, said “we, watch collectors, are anything but logical.” Alexandre Meerson explained that “there are elements of poetry and madness in the history of horology. I mean, why would you pay ten thousand pounds for a watch that is much less accurate than a quartz?”

In another panel when asked about the new industry of smart watches all three CEOs instinctively laughed in a polite manner and Bruno Grande, managing director of Jean Richard, said “Smart watches are not that smart so they don’t create a challenge for the luxury watch industry, but we should not underestimate them.” Describing a strategic approach in the luxury business model, Nick English, co-founder of Bremont, said: “We want the complete control so we do everything in-house.”

Attending this exhibition, organized by SalonQP, was a rather memorable experience. Every nano-second, every milli-moment was immortal. The omni-presence of high alchemy that exists within the world of luxury was manifested through the rituals, traditional values and symbols for words were not enough. Words are insufficient to describe an alchemically transcendent experience. The experience can only be lived. As it is stated in the Corpus Hermeticum (in His First Book): “96: O unspeakable, unutterable, to be praised with silence!”



Trend Among HNWI & Entrepreneurs


Today, there is a strong tendency among successful entrepreneurs and the HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals) to deliver speeches. They enjoy and value speaking in front of an audience and they choose to do it rather often. Like never before, the notions of both presentation and lecture have become weaker than the notion of speech. What is the motivation of certain HNWIs and entrepreneurs that are so interested in performing speeches? Why are they so motivated to motivate others? Do the entrepreneurs speak because they are successful or are they successful because they speak?

The communication analyst and Member of the Order of Canada, Marshall McLuhan said: "Words are complex systems of metaphors and symbols that translate experience into our uttered or outered senses." Talk is cheap but carefully picked words speak. Elocution isn't enough anymore which is why, today, the most practical tool of a speaker is brand semiotics. 

There are, of course, several reasons for speaking in front of an audience as sharing insights, brand ambassadorship, inspiring, creating awareness, 'motivating' etc. All of these reasons combined are the visible side of the iceberg. They are parts of the scenario. However, on the invisible side, there is one underlying motivation that plays a dominant role. This motivation, in many ways, is directly related to the fact that, HNWIs and entrepreneurs, more than anyone, are aware of the very fruitful and productive nature of speaking. 

There is a famous phrase frequently used within the industry of stage magicians - Abracadabra. The magicians have added it to their professional jargon as expressing it is an essential part of the magical ritual. The roots of this phrase come from an ancient Abrahamic language. Abracadabra means 'I create as I speak.' It is stated usually either prior to or at the moment of the stage called The Prestige. This is the stage when the target audience is finally impressed, astonished, mentally involved and persuaded.

In conlusion, certain entrepreneurs and HNWIs are successful because they speak and not the other way around. They think therefore they are and they speak therefore they create. Those entrepreneurs who are still unaware of this trend need to start speaking. Deliver speeches, speak more, speak up. Stop talking and start speaking. Speak to lead, speak to succeed. You create as you speak. Abracadabra!




Concours d'Elegance Highlights

Rarity, patronage and history are among the values that play a role of utter importance in the realm of luxury. This was one of the reasons why I attended Concours d’Elegance that took place on the 22-23 of June in Kucuksu Palace’s garden in Istanbul. Concours d’Elegance is a prestigious exhibition-like competition of elegance for concept, classic, vintage and antique cars. The beginnings of Concours d’Elegance dates back to 17th Century when cars weren’t invented the French aristocracy had their majestic horse-carriages displayed to compete and afterwards came the new luxurious automobiles.

During the event that I attended last week, a total of 60 automobiles were displayed and the winners were awarded after two days of evaluation by the jury members which consisted of Turkish and international experts and automobile historians.

I had the pleasure to meet with many insiders of the circle particularly with the connoisseurs, enthusiasts and of course collectors both from different cities of Turkey as well as from overseas. Each classic car had its own legend and mystique in its soul. Some of them were extremely rare and priceless which is why they are preserved in a delicate manner by the high net worth patrons or by the museums like Rahmi Koc Museum. The oldest cars were from the 1910s that have been protected with care and attention. Isiklar Holding organized the event and Ugur Isik, Vice-President of Isiklar Holding, is a collector himself was also present. Cartier was among the sponsoring luxury brands. 

Overall, it was a pleasure to meet these noble-minded CEOs and tycoons that have passion to objects with soul and it felt good to see that this kind of circle and its culture keeps growing. Celebrating rarity, patronage and history for two days next to the Kucuksu Palace, breathing the fresh breeze of the Bosphorus, during this haute bohème summer event along with the live jazz quintet was a rather hedonic experience that one won’t ever forget.



The Mystery of an Invisible Aristocrat

by Tofig Husein-zadeh

for John Walker & Sons




"Visibilia ex invisibilibus is the Latin motto which reminds that all that is visible in our life, all that we see and touch, what we call reality, comes from our invisibility, ideas and dreams."  

Stefano Elio D'Anna




It all began with the inevitable question - who is the Invisible Aristocrat? I must say there is no language on our planet that has enough words to describe the invisible aristocrat - the Greatest observer from a different time realm. As he is a nobleman, he is the creator of values. An enthusiast of haute bohème way of life with a hedonist way of thinking. His raison d'être is to revive the lost language. He is aware that the aristocratic thought is a lost art and so for the sake of a higher purpose it is his dream to revive and protect the values of an enlightened class. The connoisseur of spectacular realities in deceptive poetry and symbolist art. The invisible aristocrat is a student in the school of meta-luxury and a teacher in the academy of illumination. He has been walking in a timeless journey for centuries leaving milestones behind and expressing the importance of pleasure rather than freedom and power instead of money. Similar to the notion of time he isn't showing signs of stop. Similar to the notion of time the invisible aristocrat is always in movement, always walking forward. So all the Johnnie Walker minded nobles around the world... Keep Walking.


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