At the end of this month, the winners of the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) will be announced during a red-carpet event at Geneva’s Grand Théâtre. When it comes to this kind of competitions, it is way more fun to follow them if you have a list of winners of your own. Here is the list presenting every category with a brief argumentation defending the winner of our choice.
“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix
THE BIG PRIZE, the most prestigious award rewarding the best overall watch among all categories.
This is probably the hardest choices, as there are so many exceptional timepieces competing. My vote goes for the Montblanc Villeret ExoToubillon Rattrapante, as it combines a split-second chronograph, a second time zone and with an ExoTourbillon, which has a large balance that oscillates outside the tourbillon’s rotating cage. When it was announced last year, we presented in great details all the technical innovations that this piece brings, you can find it here.
Ladies’ Watch Prize
This prize rewards the best women’s watch with no complications and comprising two at most of the following indications: date, power reserve, classic moon phase, second time zone; may be adorned with a maximum 5-carat gemsetting.
The graceful lines, the sophisticated combination of gold, diamonds, and mother of pearl make the Blancpain Women off-centred really stand out among other the preselected watches in this category. The attention to details is extended to the 226 par automatic mechanism too, with an oscillating weight shaped like a flower.
Ladies’ High-Mech Watch Prize
Rewarding women’s watches that are remarkable in terms of their mechanical creativity and complexity. These watches may feature all kinds of classic and/or innovative complications and indications and do not fit the definition of the Ladies’ category.
Christophe Claret with its Margot is wondering “He loves me… He loves me not” Well Mr. Claret, let me reassure you, I’m in love with your watches. I’m convinced that the Margot is a safe bet for this category. Check out our story about Christophe Claret’s playful complications where we present the Margot and the Poker, another one of his mechanical marvels.
Men’s Watch Prize
Rewarding men’s watches with no complications and comprising two at most of the following indications: date, power reserve, classic moon phase, second time zone; may be adorned with a maximum 5-carat gemsetting.
MB&F is synonymous with art and compared to the other pieces in this category, the Legacy Machine 101 really stands out.
Chronograph Watch Prize
This category is rewarding mechanical watches comprising at least one chronograph indication. Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.
When the Omega Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” was first announced, fans and collectors of Omega saw it as a an instant grail piece. While I really like the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon too for its design, I would be really surprised if the jury would decide to not give this prize to this dark Speedy.
Tourbillon Watch Prize
Open for mechanical watches comprising at least one tourbillon. Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.
As a designer, I’m a big fan of Grönefeld. As a young brand they have the freedom to innovate and pioneer new aesthetic approaches to watch design. The Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon features a “flying” tourbillon with a large central seconds hand, stop seconds, a power reserve- and winding-setting mechanism indicator. In addition to the flying tourbillon and friction-spring-free central seconds, the Parallax Tourbillon has yet another innovative feature: rather than pulling the crown to set the time, which has the risk of damaging the fragile crown stem, it is pressed.
Calendar Watch Prize
Rewarding mechanical watches comprising at least one calendar and/or astronomical complication (e.g. annual calendar, perpetual calendar, equation of time, complex moon-phase display, etc.). Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.
Perpetual calendar dials are usually rather busy with subdials, yet Jaquet Droz is proposing in their typical minimalist style, a clean dial where most the indicators are organized around to the edge of the Grand Feu enamel dial.
The calendar information is easily read on several places on the dial: on the right is the current date, on the left is the day of the week. At 12 o’clock, a single-hand counter indicates the month with the leap year appearing discreetly in a small window. At 6 o’clock, a ivory-colored onyx index moves across the face of a golden moon, revealing, and then concealing it until its total eclipse.
The two straight hands indicating the hours and the minutes, contrast with the two wavy hands, tipped with a crescent moon, indicating the day of the week and the date. Chapeau to Jaquet Droz!
Striking Watch Prize
For watches with at least one acoustic indication or complication, notably watches equipped with repeater, striking, musical or any other acoustic function. Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.
In the village of L’Abbaye in the Vallée de Joux, Claude Meylan is the safe-keeper of the watchmaking tradition of his family. A master of skeletonization, he’s known as the sculptor of time. Among the preselected pieces in this category, the classic beauty of La Répétition 5 caught my eyes, so if it would be up to me, I would give the Striking Watch Prize to Claude Maylan.
Mechanical Exception Watch Prize
An award for timepieces featuring a special mechanism, such as an innovative or sophisticated display, an automaton, a belt-driven movement or any other original and/or exceptional horological concept.
This was an easy choice for me. If you want to know why, just check our in-depth article about the Urwerk EMC.
“Petite Aiguille” Prize
A category for watches with a retail price of under CHF 8,000 ($9,300 CAD).
Chopard is making one of the coolest watches inspired by racing, and their Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono is an homage to the prestigious Monaco event organized every two years that brings together racing cars from the 1920s trough to 1950s. A winner!
This piece is part of a collection, click here to learn more about the new Chopard collection of Grand Prix de Monaco Historique watches.
Sports Watch Prize
Watches related to the world of sports.
When football and watchmaking meet, the result is a Classic Fusion Aero Chronograph limited to just 500 pieces, with 45 mm polished/satin-finished ceramic case, and an automatic mechanical Aero Hublot chronograph movement.
Jewellery Watch Prize
Rewarding watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewellery and gemsetting, and also distinguished by the choice of stones.
The inspiration for the Temari came from the Japanese art of “hand ball” making. The making of kimonos provided enough scraps of fabric to make these entertaining objects that were greatly appreciated at the Imperial court. Little by little, simple stitching gave way to embroidery and to motifs that were increasingly sophisticate, in terms both their complex geometry and their colourful harmonies.
The snow-setting is done with no predefined plan; and instead each stone is individually selected and put in place; each claw is cut and each grain is beaded so as to create an harmonious overall effect that is unique to each model. No less than 700 stones are set on the case, a job that takes an experienced gem-setter almost three weeks.
I’m particularly found by the geometry and this elegant piece.
Artistic Crafts Watch Prize
If you got this far without clicking the pictures, please do go any further without taking a closer look at the Husui. Kari Voutilainen is presenting a bespoke masterpiece, a symbiosis of Japanese tradition with the Swiss haute horlogerie, features lacquering techniques requiring well over a thousand hours of work to complete the dial and bridges. The raw materials for its creation are: Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand).
Innovation Watch Prize
This prize rewards the best watch, presented in one of the twelve categories and featuring a remarkable technical innovation and/or an innovative design.
The Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari was developed entirely in parallel with the car, alongside the Ferrari teams. They share a number of common points. Able to boast no fewer than 637 components for the movement, which is also equipped with a Tourbillon, as well as a power reserve of approximately 50 days thanks to its 11 barrels, arranged in a line just like a spinal column and interconnected so that they do not each discharge in turn but support each other, this watch is closer to being a concept watch. This watch really fits this prize!
Revival Watch Prize
This prize rewards the best watch presented in one of the twelve categories or chosen by the jury, which features a contemporary re-edition or reinterpretation of an iconic historical model.
Born in the late 1950s from a desire to offer a diver’s watch in a size suited to daily wear, the Bathyscaphe was reinterpreted by Blancpain with a new self-winding F385 movement featuring a flyback chronograph function.
Now, it is your turn to cast a vote for the timepiece that caught your eyes. Head over to www.gphg.org/watches/en/grand-prix-dhorlogerie-de-geneve/2014/PRE and register to vote for your favourite amongst the 72 pre-selected watches. This way you will be automatically enter a draw to a Girard-Perregaux, Vintage 1945 XXL Petite Seconde, worth 10,450 CHF.