The Subdial After Dark event with Bovet 1822
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Event Recap - The Subdial After Dark X Bovet

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The first Subdial After Dark was a case study to prove (mainly to me) that you can bring a group of strangers together to learn about and connect with a brand that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

As I walked up to the front of the room at Tokyo Tina in Melbourne, I saw my past lives flash before my eyes.

My childhood as a shy kid, my formative years as a Karate instructor, and my career in hospitality. Everything led me to where I was today but I had one question.
Where was my confidence going to come from?
I was about to talk about my passion for watches in front of 22 people, and I had only had one beer so liquid courage was out of the question. I wanted to speak about how this hobby had brought us all together on this cold night in June and that I was grateful they had all made the effort to come. Why do I always put myself in these situations? Mitch Barber the glutton for punishment.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

I eventually calmed my nerves, took a breath and hoped for the best. It was the first event I had ever hosted and I needed to nail it.

The Subdial After Dark X Bovet 1822

The first Subdial After Dark was not your average watch get-together. You know, like the ones where you don’t quite feel comfortable and you leave wishing you stayed in bed and watched Baby Reindeer on Netflix instead?

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

This was going to be different. I wanted my guests to feel like they were a part of something special. I wanted them to know that this intimidating hobby can be enjoyed over a good meal and a few drinks. No binge-worthy TV regret is necessary. My motto for the evening was ‘It’s all about friendship via watches and community over ego.’

Tokyo Tina - More Than Just A Venue

When it came to choosing a space for The Subdial After Dark, I wanted a venue that of course had good food, but it also had to mean something. Every detail counts in my world and if it didn’t pass the vibe check, it wasn’t going to work.

Tokyo Tina was where my wife and I went on our first date (vibe check passed) so it seemed like a great choice. I still remember the table where we whiled away the night making jokes about a life together that we didn’t know we would have. It’s a special place for me, and the perfect venue for fostering new relationships and building a community.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

Community, Community, Community

The evening started like any other with people wandering in. Some fashionably late and some surprisingly early. The table was set for 22, each guest getting a place card and bottle of individually numbered ‘The Subdial’ Gin. The first few guests wandered up and down the table to secure a good number. 8 was popular, but many looked for number 1. Little did they know, that bottle was safely stored in The Subdial archive (my closet) at home. I can be a little selfish sometimes, perks of being the boss.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.
The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

As more and more people rolled in, it was great to see them all introducing themselves and getting stuck into the watch talk. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to connect over this hobby. Shyness and awkward small talk melt away as the first ‘What watch are you wearing’ is uttered to the stranger across from you. It’s a special thing.

Minh Nguyen And The Bovet Virtuoso VIII Chapter 2 Reimagined

As I stood in front of the 22 guests, professing my love for the watch industry and its creations, it was difficult to hold back the tears. I was, at that moment, extremely proud of what I had created. Although perhaps my proudest moment, was when S&S Group and Bovet agreed to be a part of it in the first place.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

I had met Minh a few months before when I slid into his DM’s on Instagram and asked if I could see a watch, The Monsieur Bovet Teal Blue Guilloché, for an article I wanted to write. What started as a brief meeting turned into discussions about the watch industry and a sharing of ideas on how we could give Bovet the attention it deserves in Australia. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when Minh and his colleague Linh (Head of Marketing & PR at S&S Group) agreed to be a part of The Subdial After Dark. As a relatively unknown entity in the watch world, I appreciate the leap of faith they took with me.

Fast forward to the first of June, Minh was happily chatting to one of the guests until I tapped him on the shoulder ‘Time to say a few words’ I said in a hushed tone. I knew he was nervous, and so was I, but we both walked to the head of the table and gave it our all. An introduction to the evening from me and Minh, some background on Bovet, S&S Group and the Virtuoso VIII that he had brought with him.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.
The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

Impressive was Minh’s ability to talk about a brand like Bovet and make it approachable. I knew this was his first time speaking publicly but all of the guests agreed that he was an excellent spokesperson for the brand. He spoke with clarity and openness when standing and then connected deeply with the guests throughout the rest of the night. He made everyone feel comfortable. I've been to my fair share of brand-led watch events and I can confidently say that this isn't the case at many. Brands take note, this is how you want your Maison represented.

By the way, I want to dive deeper into the incredible Virtuoso VIII Chapter 2 Reimagined that we had the pleasure of experiencing but it deserves its own article (stay tuned). There’s just too much to talk about and a paragraph wouldn’t do it justice.

The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.
The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

A Night To Remember

I’m going to start sounding like a broken record soon but I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be a part of a community that is welcoming and inclusive. Too much is watch appreciation reserved for the few who have the means or are strong-willed enough to push their way into the walled garden of watch meetups.

The first Subdial After Dark was a case study to prove (mainly to me) that you can bring a group of strangers together to learn about and connect with a brand that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. And they can have a hell of a lot of fun while they’re at it.

This feedback I received puts it well.

‘Attending "The Subdial After Dark" event was an exceptional experience. The evening was filled with captivating discussions and the opportunity to engage with fellow watch enthusiasts. The atmosphere was elegant and intimate, perfect for sharing our passion for horology. The highlight of the night was the attendance of a representative from Bovet, who shared insights into their exquisite history and craftsmanship. The curated selection of timepieces on display, including an extraordinarily rare Bovet watch, was truly impressive, showcasing both rare and iconic models. I left the event feeling inspired and more connected to the watch community. It was an unforgettable night that exceeded all expectations.’ - Katrina
The Subdial After Dark x Bovet. A watch get together in Melbourne.

This is where the watch world is headed; more personal encounters with watches and the people that represent them. I want to sit eye to eye with my favourite brands, and share a plate of dumplings and a bottle of red wine. I want to hear the stories and I want to feel their passion.

I’m excited for the next Subdial After Dark, but as for the first one, I think we nailed it.
Thanks to Minh and the team from S&S Group for trusting me enough to take a leap. And thanks to Bovet for making a watch so impressive that it blew the collective minds of 22 of the most knowledgeable collectors in Melbourne.

Book an appointment with Minh at Bovet in Melbourne HERE you wont be disappointed. If you want to be notified when we plan the next Subdial After Dark, sign up to the email list.

Cya in/at the next one.

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