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The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) was authoritatively settled in 2001, and from that point forward it has been the most elevated honors in watchmaking. This year, I’m on the jury out of the blue, and it’s given me event to think about where the GPHG started, how far it has come, and how the business everywhere has changed in the course of the most recent decade and a half.
In its first year, the GPHG regarded five watches:
- Entangled Watch Prize: Audemars Piguet, Répétition Minute standard Carillon Edward Piguet
- Adornments and Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: Vacheron Constantin, Lady Kalla
- Men’s Watch Prize: Leroy, Osmior Chronographe Automatique
- Women’s Watch Prize: Blancpain, Chronographe Flyback Pastel
- “Pendulette” Prize: Gucci, Réveil de Voyage
From that point forward, Audemars Piguet has disposed of the Edward Piguet line altogether (which I feel is an unpleasant disgrace; without a doubt there were reasons why the line was seen as not feasible financially but rather there were some genuinely exquisite watches made under the name that have vanished, if not from the substance of the earth, at that point at any rate from open horological talk).
In Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève The Lady Kalla is still in the Vacheron list (as the Métiers d’Art Lady Kalla). In spite of the fact that you hear practically nothing, in the event that anything, about Leroy in the United States, the organization is still around, and the Osmior is still in its catalogue (they presented a tourbillon controller at Baselworld 2016, confirmed as a chronometer by the observatory at Besançon, no less). The Blancpain Chronographe Flyback Pastel seems to have been a bejeweled flyback chronograph, and is spoken to children exclusively by an extremely pixelated thumbnail on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève website (sic travel gloria, however it was seventeen years back all things considered).
The Gucci Réveil de Voyage was a travel clock, in a nickel case, with an ETA development and, as per the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève documents, an alert module by Alrin (who appears to have left business; a superficial pursuit uncovers, under that name, just an antihistamine). The GPHG description is on the purplish side (nothing unexpected in the watch business) and urges us to “Pensez pur, pensez sobre, pensez graphique” (affirm, it was a truly unadulterated, calm, visual depiction) and says the clock was “L’élégance réduite à child substance.” Like the Blancpain, it is currently recollected outwardly on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève site by a 90 all inclusive thumbnail.
This year, the GPHG jury deliberations were held at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, and in the vast marble chambers where we did our meeting, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Foundation had set up an exhibition of some of the previous years’ winners. Here are a few of the watches that were shown.
Three years prior in Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Grand Seiko GMT Hi-Beat Limited Edition won the Petite Aiuguille prize – the green dial is similarly as alluring now as it was at that point. It’s not particularly an unexpected that a watch with this kind of generally traditionalist outline should age well, yet moderate isn’t the main mystery to a watch not appearing to be dated – there are a lot of generally preservationist watches from, for example, the late 1980s and ’90s that were sensibly moderate, however whose blend of size, extents, and fairly fastidious, over decided subtle elements mean they are intriguing more as interests than anything else.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Sixty-Nine was named for the year the Monaco was presented, and is today something of a peculiarity (in 2010 on one of the discussions, a self-depicted TAG Heuer fan sniffed that “the reason you discover so minimal about the Monaco Sixty-Nine is that no one enjoys it.”) Certainly it’s a fairly abnormal watch; it contains a hand-wound Peseaux 7001 development, which drives a customary mechanical show on one side; on the other (the side you can see here) is a LED show for a 1/1000 second quartz chronograph development. You can flip the case à la the Reverso, however Edmond Jaeger never longed for anything like this. It appeared to be cool at first look – sufficiently cool to win the Prix de la Montre Design in 2004 at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – however its half and half character and early reports of unreasonable play and as well fast wear for the situation system, implied buyers didn’t get it with much eagerness and TAG Heuer moved with careful scramble on to different undertakings.
This was one of those different activities. This is a 2008 GPHG victor, in the Prix de la Montre Sport class: the TAG Heuer Grand Carrera Caliber 36 RS2, which was formally propelled at Baselworld the following year. Its principle distinguishing strength is that it’s a 1/10 second chronograph, with the seconds appeared in a direct window to one side – behind the window is a pivoting plate that progressions from dark to red at the forty second check (why at the forty second stamp, and why you would make a 1/10 second chronograph where the real seconds are so difficult to peruse off, is hard to see however as an old companion of mine once said in another specific situation, there’s no prevailing upon this watch). Prize despite the plan has not matured especially well; however it won an outline prize, it’s a bit excessively intended for its own particular great. Watch producers appear to discover the desire to endeavor to make high determination chronographs look cutting edge powerful, all things considered, and you regularly get this confusing circumstance where in spite of the potential for exact planning, you wind up with a to some degree ridiculous outline that doesn’t really fill the apparent need extremely well.
This is another victor from 2004: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon. There are presently three Gyrotourbillon models, in addition to a few varieties of the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s inventory (all in the Hybris Mechanica Collection) however this is the grandaddy of all. Watchmaker Eric Coudray (who might go ahead to become movement fashioner for Cabestan) made the development: a round multi-hub tourbillon with an actually fascinating twofold retrograde interminable schedule, Equation of Time, and power hold shows. The first outline has somewhat of a dated air nowadays – in 2004, the time of one-upmanship in extraordinary difficulties was getting into full swing and what you may freely call the superwatch time was truly assembling steam. This kind of watchmaking isn’t done to about the degree it used to be – for quite a while it appeared everybody was attempting to exceed every other person in making colorful tourbillons joined with different complexities – yet Jaeger-LeCoultre dependably appeared to rise somewhat over the rest, and a portion of the relatives of the main Gyrotourbillon are (I think in any case) some of the best looking watches Jaeger-LeCoultre has ever made. In 2004, the Gyrotourbillon won the Prix de l’Innovation Technique et de la Complication, which appears to be sufficiently reasonable.
View the Zenith Chronomaster Open XXT, the 2004 victor in the Men’s Watch class. This was created amid the floruit of a standout amongst the most disputable CEOs of the 2000s: Thierry Nataf, who undeniably left Zenith an altogether different brand than he discovered it – whether regardless is another story. I have dependably felt that on the off chance that you are not a fanatic of open dials, these Zeniths are not going to alter your opinion, but rather a few people like them in particular; the approach appears to have discovered support with Jean-Claude Biver also and a few cases are still in the Zenith catalogue (and probably offering all around ok, or they wouldn’t be there).
The “very flashy” Nataf ran Zenith from 2001 to 2009; a standout amongst the most noteworthy pictures I have of him is from a Zenith occasion in 2008, at some kind of shoreline party, encompassed by silver lamé clad artists and with, for reasons unknown, a hooded hawk on his wrist. I say “for reasons unknown” however who knows, perhaps it just appeared like a decent place to stick a bird of prey. You can’t make this stuff up (affirm, you can, but I didn’t). I don’t really miss the watches however the man had more identity than the sheets of ten traded on an open market extravagance bunches set up together, you need to give him that.
There have been a few Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève classifications that have gone back and forth finished the years, however what has stayed predictable from the earliest starting point is the terrific prize of the Grand Prix: the Aiguille d’Or (Golden Hand). In 2004, that prize was granted to François-Paul Journe’s Tourbillon Souverain. As everyone most likely knows, this is a tourbillon wristwatch with remontoire d’egalité (a steady power system concocted, for watches, by John Harrison) and seconde morte (deadbeat seconds). Unquestionably a meriting watch, and right up ’til today one of the benchmark watches for haut de gamme watchmaking, the Tourbillon Souverain’s outline has matured so well as to not have matured by any means, and it’s an open dial watch that actually could change your psyche about open dial watches. Of the watches in this as a matter of fact totally unsystematic lineup, I think the Journe and the Seiko have held up the best after some time; and most likely not by fortuitous event I can think about a few gatherers who are both Journe and Grand Seiko fans and authorities.