Every year the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève sees the world’s biggest watch brands go head to head at the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Now with this year’s big red carpet event approaching, the GPHG has just revealed the list of “pre-selected” watches which will compete for an award in their respective categories (Ladies, Ladies’ High Mech, Men’s, Chronograph, Tourbillon and Escapement, Calendar, Travel Time, Mechanical Exception, Petite Aiguille, Sport, Jewellery, and Artistic Crafts).
Although we are not quite up to the judges’ calibre, we’ve picked our favourite watch from each category. Let us know if you agree.
LADIES: FIONA KRÜGER TIMEPIECES PETIT SKULL “ETERNITY”
It’s a close call between the Urwerk UR-106 Flower Power and the Fiona Kruger Petit Skull (Celebration) “Eternity”. Both pieces offer something unique, with the Urwek winning in terms of haute horology thanks to its wandering hours, however the Fiona Kruger pips it to the post on pure vibrancy. Taking inspiration from the famous Cinco de Mayo festival, it’s bold, colourful and playful. A perfect summer watch.
LADIES’ HIGH-MECH: A. LANGE & SÖHNE LITTLE LANGE 1 MOONPHASE
The line between ladies and mens’ watches has blurred in more recent years and the A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moonphase manages to do just that by balancing pure watchmaking with sophisticated elegance. Equipped with date, moonphase and power reserve indicators, it’s certainly “high-mech” while the beautiful argenté-coloured guilloche dial works brilliantly against the pink gold case.
MEN’S: HERMÈS SLIM D’HERMÈS L’HEURE IMPATIENTE
We couldn’t choose two A. Lange & Söhne’s in a row (though it was tempting) so we have opted for something with a little more design flair for this category. Of course, no one quite does design like Hermès. The Slim D’hermès L’heure Impatiente features some lovely custom typography which when set against the numerous textures on the opaline dial results in a seriously good looking watch. Adding to the whimsy of the piece, you have the alarm style complication which you are able to set 12 hours ahead, warning you an hour before and then emitting a single chime when the countdown has completed.
CHRONOGRAPH: SINGER TRACK 1
Beating all of the old guard is the Singer TRACK 1. Singer are of course known for its phenomenally re-imagined Porsche 911’s however this year saw its first foray into the watch world with the Track 1, a chronograph with a difference. Despite being its first watch Singer didn’t shy away from doing something daring by moving the hours and minutes to the periphery of the dial and placing the chronograph at it’s centre. A true racing chronograph.
TOURBILLON AND ESCAPEMENT: BVLGARI OCTO FINISSIMO TOURBILLON SKELETON
Quite simply it’s the worlds thinnest tourbillion and with a design that’s half industrialist, half Italian flair, it’s a win for us.
CALENDAR: AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR
Fitting a date, day, month, year, moonphase and perpetual calendar onto a watch that’s only 41mm is some feat indeed and to do it with such visual aplomb is something else. Audemars Piguet were the first brand to release a perpetual calendar wristwatch with a leap year indicator back in 1955 and have been making beautiful perpetual calendars ever since. The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is a highly textured watch, with all sorts of facets and faces to keep the owner captivated.
TRAVEL TIME: LOUIS VUITTON ESCALE TIME ZONE BLUE
We know this choice may be a tad divisive but we can’t help but love the Escale Time zone watches that Louis Vutton produce. The jet-setters’ perfect piece, the Escale Timezone makes it possible to view all 24 time zones with an intuitive design, while featuring a classic GMT function at its centre displaying the time in a second time zone thanks to an additional hand.
MECHANICAL EXCEPTION: VACHERON CONSTANTIN LES CABINOTIERS CELESTIA ASTRONOMICAL GRAND COMPLICATION 3600
All of the watches in this category feature complications that you would only realistically need if you were an adventurer, explorer or perhaps a farmer. However this is the essence of watchmaking, managing to successfully compete with computers using mechanical complications is what brings joy to watch lovers.
The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 manages to squeeze in *deep breath* a perpetual calendar, day/night indication, precision moon phase, age of the moon, running equation of time, sunrise and sunset time, day and night length, seasons, solstices, equinoxes and zodiacal signs, tide level indicator, Sun-Earth-Moon conjunction, opposition and quadrature, transparent sky chart of the northern hemisphere with indication of the Milky Way, of the ecliptic and celestial equator, hours and minutes of sidereal time, tourbillon, 3 weeks of power reserve (6 barrels) and power reserve, while maintaining a balanced dial and an eye catching design.
“PETITE AIGUILLE”: SEIKO FIRST DIVER’S RE-CREATION LIMITED EDITION
There’s something so pleasing about a simple diving watch and no one makes them quite as simple and reliable as Seiko. This recreation of the 1965 classic is faithful to the original design but has been retrofitted to bring it up to date with modern watches. This includes the addition of a Calibre 8L35 movement specially designed for divers, a box-shaped sapphire crystal that improves its resistance to 200m and a silicone strap for added reliability. Combine this with a classic Seiko design and ultra readability and you have the perfect divers watch.
SPORT: MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE N°7 AQUAPOD
MB&F are constantly pushing the boundaries of watchmaking and the Aquapod is no exception. Its jellyfish-like form and its super-luminous dial create a watch which looks as if it’s just emerged from the Marianna trench, or possibly outer space. Not settling for purely aesthetic progression the Aquapod features a tourbillion at its centre and a watchmaking first, a bezel that appears to be floating separately from the case. Our clear winner.
JEWELLERY: BULGARI SERPENTI MISTERIOSI HIGH JEWELLER
An iconic piece, this stunning one-of-a-kind is a white gold, quartz-driven (we’ll forgive it in this instance), “secret” bangle-watch that features a double-headed snake design – Bulgari’s trademark symbol. Although feminine in it’s detailing, there’s still an element of edge to it, with the time being revealed by opening the jaws of the serpent.
ARTISTIC CRAFTS: VOUTILAINEN AKI-NO-KURE
Having seen this watch in person I can attest to its beauty. The lacquer art applied by the world renowned Mr. T. Kitamura in Wajima town in Japan is nothing short of exceptional. Utilising Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand) the dial, bridges and inside cover of the case back (not pictured) have been decorated with intricate artwork that depicts a late autumn scene, signifying the circle of life.
If you want to view the full list of pre-selected watches you can take a look on GPHG’s website (click here). Let us know your winners in the comments!