Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – Top Three

So much happens in the watch industry, it’s nice to have some way to filter the wealth of releases, developments, and occasions that whizz by as the calendar is chewed up by time.

Award ceremonies are a great indicator of what’s hot and what’s not. More importantly, though, winning an award from a prestigious institution like the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) can add value and an esteemed provenance to a wristwatch purchased with investment in mind.

Here are my top three winners from the GPHG, based on aesthetics, mechanical sophistication, and collectability.

Image courtesy of Grönefeld

The Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire watch in rose gold is, in my opinion, one of the most refined and timeless watches to come from the minds of this Dutch fraternity. Listed at CHF 54,880 (about $54,040) this 39.5mm watch is limited to just 188 pieces. In terms of longevity, the size is a smart move. If you need a wow factor on your wrist, the movement is more than able to oblige.

So why did it win?

In clocks (and some watches) a fusée chain can help equalize the level of torque generated by the barrel by effectively keeping the power on a constant leash. The Remontoire does this flawlessly for the entirety of its 36 hours of power reserve before a stop-work kicks and shuts the whole thing down before a deviation in power can occur. Devilishly complex to achieve, the resulting isochronism is simply genius.

Image courtesy of MB&F

The MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual exactly the kind of fusion of old and new that speaks to multiple camps. At 44mm it’s on the large side, but with so much to digest it requires that space to not feel cramped. On the wrist, it’s an endless wonder. Tip: Don’t wear it while driving – you’ll never look at the road!

So why did it win?

It’s simple to use. No, really. The perpetual calendar is one of the most complicated complications to set-up, but Stephen McDonnell, the caliber guru that designed the movement for MB&F has done the unthinkable by making it user-friendly and easy to adjust. You can own of his masterpieces for CHF 181,500 ($178,985).

Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is a chiming delight from the future. For most people, the entire Royal Oak collection is a love or hate thing, so I won’t preach about the universal appeal of this piece, because it simply doesn’t have it. What it does have is an aggressive, almost maniacal individuality and such an unwavering commitment to the cutting edge it’s a wonder its designers haven’t bled to death on their imagination.

So why did it win?

It sounds amazing. The acoustics of this super-light titanium case rival are crisp beyond compare, with the ceramic elements warming the tone a treat. The result is an audible feast and a snip at CHF 561,600 ($553,819).

About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

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About the Author:

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.