Highlights from the GPHG Awards
Last month, we shared the nominees and finalists for the 2018 Oscars of watchmaking: the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie (GPHG). The ceremony took place on Friday, November 9th at the Theatre du Leman in Geneva, Switzerland. This special gala event attracts members of the watch community from all over the world. It also includes the esteemed members of the jury who decide the fate of the watches and brands competing. The surprising results of this year’s prestigious awards may very well reflect the direction the watch industry is heading. Independents took center stage, sweeping nearly all the categories. Here, we’re sharing the watches that scored the top honors.
Ladies’ Best Watch of 2018 and Best Complicated Watch
The two ladies’ categories were for Best Watch of 2018 and Best Complicated Watch. Chanel’s Boy Friend Skeleton and Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium took home these awards respectively. Both watches beautifully combine form and function. They each display stunning, high-level gem setting skills coupled with superb in-house movements. Additionally, as the category indicates, the Lady Arpels Planetarium features an impressive complication. It displays the different phases of each planet’s orbit around the sun at their actual speeds.
Men’s Best Watch of 2018 and Best Complicated Watch
Next up were the men’s watches in the same categories. The young, up and coming Swiss watchmaker AkriviA took home the Best Men’s Watch of 2018 with their Chronometre Contemporain. The model draws inspiration from 1940s officers’ watches with a distinct Art Deco style. Laurent Ferrier landed the Best Men’s Complicated Watch with their Galet Annual Calendar School Piece. This model showcases not one, not two, but three brand new elements for the brand. The complication is Laurent Ferrier’s first annual calendar. In addition, a case made of a new gold alloy houses the new in-house movement. The metal is a “pale” or “sand” gold intended to echo vintage alloys.
Moving on, the Best Chronograph went to Singers Reimagined’s Singer Track1 Hong Kong Edition. The watch features a modern design that employs the use of innovative materials, like its black Ceramic-Aluminum case. Then, De Bethune snagged the Best Chronometer with the CB25 Starry Varius Chronometer Tourbillion. This strikingly unconventional watch features a titanium construction and is capable of displaying a customized view of the night sky.
Best Mechanical Exception
The next category is Best Mechanical Exception. What differentiates watches in this division from the Best Complication is elements like more sophisticated displays or striking mechanisms. The winner here was Greubel Forsey’s Grane Sonnerie. This model is the brand’s very first chiming complication. The following category, Best Sports Watch, went to Seiko’s Prospex 1968 Diver’s Re-Creation SLA025. This model pays homage to the brand’s first hi-beat diver.
The Best Jewelry Watch and the Best Artistic Crafts Watch
More ladies’ categories followed with Best Jewelry Watch and Best Artistic Crafts Watch. Van Cleef and Arpels scored another victory in the Best Jewelry Watch division with their Secret de Coccinelle. This unique watch takes high-level gem setting to the next level with a combination of diamonds and other precious stones. Hermes took the win for the Best Artistic Crafts group with the Arceau Robe du Soir. This watch’s magnificent dial displays a mosaic silhouette of a horse crafted from tiny leather tiles.
The GPHG bases the following sets of categories on price. First, the “Petite Aiguille” for watches between $4000 and $10,000 CHF. Then, the Challenge Watch Prize for watches under $4000. Another rising independent, Habring2, won the “Petite Aiguille” with their Doppel-Felix, a split-seconds chronograph. Nomos landed the Challenge Watch Prize for their Tangente Neomatik 41 Update. The model features the brand’s new Caliber 6101, an ultra-slim movement evolved from the Neomatik with a special date mechanism.
The Best Revival and the Audacity Watch
There are a few remaining categories before the coveted “Aiguille d’Or” or best in show. First, the Best Revival, which went to Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques Triple Calendar 1942. The brand’s Historiques collection has become wildly popular among fans of the brand. This interpretation of a classic calendar watch certainly doesn’t disappoint. Next up is the Audacity watch, and the award went to Konstantin Chaykin’s quirky Clown – the name says it all. Then, we have the Best Innovation, awarded to Krayon’s Everywhere Horizon. This highly personalized model displays the precise time of the sunrise and sunset.
The Best in Show
Finally, the GPHG awarded this year’s Special Jury Prize to none other than the legendary Jean Claude Biver. Then, it was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Time for the most esteemed award of the ceremony, the “Aiguille d’Or.” The winner is the Bovet 1822 Recital 22 Grand Recital. This incredibly complicated and elaborate model delivers on form and function. In addition, the design draws inspiration from a tellurium. This astronomical complication shows the relative positions of the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The model also boasts a combination tourbillon and perpetual calendar display.