BL17 FINAL - Page 73



PURSUITS
on two floors, is still an ambitious
move. It’s one that Charlie seems to
have taken in his stride, however.
“We’ve always had a presence in
London,” he says – as well as Antrobus,
there were by-appointment offices in St
James’s and on Berkeley Square. “But
this has taken it to the next level. We’ve
got Patek and Rolex under one roof,
alongside six- and seven-figure rare
jewels, including antique and bespoke
pieces. That combination is very
unusual at this level worldwide.”
While the grand paintings, Deco
chandelier and antique jewellery
provide a lavish milieu on the ground
floor, it’s in the VIP zone below that
things really get interesting. It’s here,
amid hand-painted floral wallpaper in
“We’re dealing with
special moments
for people, and
we want it to be
memorable”
vibrant green (a reference to the
theatrical convention of the ‘green
room’, supposedly a Stratford
invention), that clients can decide on
those once-in-a-lifetime purchases in
privacy. If they need a pick-me-up to
help things along, there’s even a bar
tucked behind a secret door.
“We’re dealing with special moments
for people, and we want it to be
memorable,” Charlie says. “These are
things you’re keeping for life, and that
you may be passing onwards as well.
The experience is everything.”
Pragnell’s is one of very few retailers
to have had a special edition of watches
made for it by Patek Philippe: a black
dial version of the yellow gold minute
repeater, Ref 5079J. It became an instant
collector classic, and one example set
an auction record for the reference, of
over £330,000.
So which of this year’s watches take
Charlie’s fancy? “Patek Philippe’s new
5172G chronograph has a really
sophisticated retro-chic style, and the
case design and hand finishing are
sublime,” he says. “From Rolex, the
new white gold Yachtmaster is the
epitome of understated, state-of-the-art
contemporary watchmaking.”
Is he worried that the digital world
and the rise of smartwatches will
ultimately impinge on the desirability
of fine watches? Not a bit of it.
“The passion and knowledge for
watches is getting stronger, and in the
UK there’s a great affinity for it. It goes
back to us being the country of
engineering, of industrial revolution,”
he says. “The market keeps growing,
and we’re proud to deal with the brands
at the pinnacle of desirability.”
Opposite page:
Charlie Pragnell in his
family’s new Mayfair
showroom, where the
VIP room includes a
secret bar (below).
Above, inset:
Patek Philippe’s new
5172G chronograph,
and latest Yachtmaster
from Rolex, both in
white gold
73
BOISDALELIFE .COM
AUTUMN 2019
ISSUE 17
BOISDALE APPROVES
Coffee table books for
connoisseurs and collectors
The Impossible
Collection of
Cigars
Author Aaron
Sigmond envisions
the ultimate
humidor packed
with the world’s
finest and rarest
cigars. The latest in
a lavish line of huge
‘Ultimate Collection’ tomes from uberluxe publisher Assouline, you might just
need a reinforced coffee table to house it.
£775 eu.assouline.com
The World
Atlas of Gin
Drinks gurus Joel
Harrison and
(Boisdale Life
contributor) Neil
Ridley have
scoured the
globe for the
finest gins to be
found, while
digging deep into the history, production
processes, botanicals and styles of the
ever-popular spirit. From far-afield craft
distilleries to the most recognised
brands, via the very best cocktails, they
lift the lid on the rich variety and
vibrancy of gin today.
£25 octopusbooks.co.uk
The Watch: a
Twentieth
Century Style
History
Former Sotheby’s
expert and vintage
watch dealer Alex
Barter examines
the evolution of
wristwatches amid
the change and
turbulence of the 20th century. The early
developments of the Jazz Age, the rise of
Rolex and waterproof watches, evolving
technologies and the arrival of quartz
timekeeping are a few of the subjects
covered in this elegantly illustrated book.
£45 prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de





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