The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) is the Academy Awards of the watchmaking world. Every year since 2001 the GPHG organization has given out awards to recognise the best of the best in terms of watches for men, for women, complications, innovations and a host of other categories.
The prizes are decided by a specially selected jury made up of watch experts from dozens of countries. Overseen by jury president Aurel Bacs – former head of watches at Christie’s and a current partner with auction house Phillips. The 2015 awards were handed out a few weeks ago and here we select several of the winners and examine why they were deemed worthy of such a prestigious prize.
Jewellery Watch Prize – Diamond Punk – Audemars Piguet
A stunning watch created with the principles of punk design in mind – 56 sharp angle geometric pyramids make up a cuff bracelet. It contains 7,848 diamonds that define the pyramid facets and a further 300 precious stones set in the dial. This piece of haute joaillerie screams luxury, indulgence, experimentation and craftsmanship.
Sports Watch Prize – Pelagos – Tudor
This mechanical divers’ watch manufactured by Rolex subsidiary Tudor is a shining example of its class. Its titanium external parts weigh only 60% of the steel equivalent and are more resistant to the ravages of seawater. Optimised power reserve and readability are just two of the technologically-enhanced benefits of the watch, which is one of the first to use movements developed by Tudor itself.
Public Prize – Tourbillion of Tourbillions – Antoine Preziuso
The three tourbillions on a revolving plate in this technological marvel of a watch have been compared to three separate heartbeats – combining to resonate together and give the timepiece unmatchable regularity. This watch is not just an adornment, it is an achievement of craftsmanship and technology that inspires as well as paying homage to previous generations of watchmaker.
Men’s Watch Prize – Voutilainen GMR – Voutilainen
Handcrafted in the small Swiss village of Môtiers, this magnificent timepiece combines an elegant luxury look with a slight sporty feel embodied in the dark dial and red hands. The watch offers the utility of a power reserve indicator and a second twenty-four hour time zone dial in addition to the sleek use of German silver.
Lady’s Watch Prize – Big Bang Broderie – Hublot
It is not just the name of this particular watch that is provocative. The outline of a skull fills the dial, with eleven diamonds ticking off each hour. The materials include the finest Swiss embroidery for a luxury touch as well as look. In their own words “As delicate as it is frivolous, it embodies a savoir-faire which masters the subtle art of discreet revelation.”
Aiguille d’Or – Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision – Greubel Forsey
Winner of the Aiguille d’Or (the Golden Hand) was the Tourbillon 24 Seconds Vision – a watch that defines both quality and attention to detail. Smaller and thinner than most Greubel Forsy offerings – it does not compromise when it comes to technology. By using an innovative dome on the reverse of the watch they have added extra space, while keeping the watch slender. A fantastic achievement that bespeaks quality and exemplifies the watchmaking process from the beginning to the end.