The Season of Watchmaking Awards
On November 9, 2018, the elite within the watch community will flock to the Theatre du Leman in Geneva. Here, they’ll gather for the Academy Awards of watchmaking: the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie (GPHG). The GPHG first established in 2001. The competition is open to all brands within the industry. However, each particular model entered has to meet certain criteria. For this year’s event, entries must have gone into production by March of last year and must be in distribution by October 31st.
Much like the Oscars, the GPHG nominates and awards watches in twelve different prize categories. Main categories include standards like Best Men’s, Best Ladies’, or Best Sports Watch. Then, there are general awards like Best-of-Show, Best Revival, or Best Innovation. This year’s event will also feature some exciting new prize categories. For instance, the Challenge Watch Prize reserved exclusively for models under $4000 CHF. Lastly, Smartwatches are also eligible for the first time in the event’s history.
The Nomination Process of GPHG
The GPHG’s esteemed jury awards each prize. This group consists of some of the most significant names in the industry. It’s an eclectic mix of watchmakers, journalists, retailers, collectors, and everyone in between. Some examples include co-founder and editor-in-chief of Quill & Pad, Elizabeth Doerr, and editor-in-chief of Hodinkee, Jack Forster. In addition, there’s Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Chopard, the brand that won in 2017. He joins the jury this year as part of the GPHG tradition.
The GPHG first announced the candidate watches for 2018 in July. This included 105 participating brands and a grand total of 195 candidates. Some of the industry’s most influential brands, like Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe, were notably missing. They elected not to enter any models in this year’s competition. However, despite Rolex’s absence, Tudor is among the brands partaking.
The first round of jury elimination voting took place earlier in September, and the GPHG announced the final competing watches. They narrowed each of the twelve prize categories down to just six watches. Bvlgari took the most nominations with a total of five watches in different categories. These include Best Jewelry, Best Men’s Complication, Best Ladies’, Best Ladies’ Complication, and Mechanical Exception.
Insight into the 2018 Ceremony
Without some of the bigger, mainstream brands represented this year, independent watchmakers have gained increased recognition. For example, in the men’s category alone, Vacheron Constantin’s Triple Calendrier 1942 is the only non-independent contender. However, smartwatches got the cold shoulder, none made the cut into the first round of elimination.
Before the GPHG selects the winners in November, this group of 72 finalists will go on a global roadshow. The exhibition goes on display in prominent cities around the world. It will stop in locations like Venice, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Lastly, it will make its way back to Geneva for the illustrious award gala. You can view the full list of categories and finalists here. Then, be sure to check back. We’ll update you on the winners of the 18thannual Grand Prix d’Horlogerie later this fall.