News GPHG 2018 Finalists Announced – Plus Our Predictions

Here are the finalists for the 2018 "Oscars of Watchmaking".
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | 9 minute read

As every year, the watchmaking industry is celebrating creativity and ingenuity with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) or the so-called Oscars of the Watchmaking Industry – see the report for the 2017 edition here. The most advanced, the most innovative or the most creative timepieces will be awarded prizes at the GPHG 2018. Before the ceremony takes place (November 9, 2018), we’re bringing you, hot off the press, the complete list of finalists selected by the Jury. Only six watches remain in each of the twelve categories (however, with some new ones this year) and here they are – and also our predictions for each category.

Ladies

Women’s watches comprising the following indications only: hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve, classic moon phase; may be adorned with a maximum of 8-carats’ worth of gemstones.

  • Bovet 1822 Amadéo Fleurier 39 Fan
  • Bvlgari Lvcea Tubogas Skeleton
  • Chanel Boy-Friend Skeleton
  • Chaumet Laurier
  • Moritz Grossmann Tefnut Twist Classic
  • Piaget Possession Lapis Lazuli

This year, this category mostly comprises the “big ones” – companies that are known for their expertise in ladies’ watches: Bvlgari, Chanel, Chaumet and Piaget. The two others, even though pleasing, might not have the same chances. Our guess for the GPHG 2018 would be the Chanel Boy-Friend Skeleton – combining nice watchmaking skills and a design clearly “dans l’air du temps“, both modern and slightly masculine.

Ladies’ Complication

Women’s watches that are remarkable in terms of their mechanical creativity and complexity, featuring all kinds of horological complications and classic and/or innovative indications (e.g. annual calendar, perpetual calendar, equation of time, moon  phase, digital or retrograde time display, world time, dual time or other types of models) and do not fit the definition of the Ladies’ and Mechanical Exception categories.

  • Beauregard Dahlia C1
  • Bvlgari Diva Finissima Minute Repeater
  • Chaumet Espiègleries
  • Ludovic Ballouard Pink Hours
  • Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa Tourbillon Galaxy
  • Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planétarium

For the GPHG 2018 “ladies’ complication” category, we’d love the jury to give the award to the Bvlgari Diva Finissima Minute Repeater. Not only it is superbly designed but it also features an incredible movement, the thinnest minute repeater calibre – which is also found in the Octo Finissimo. Now, that’s serious watchmaking for ladies.

Men’s

Men’s watches comprising the following indications only: hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve, classic moon phase; may be adorned with 5-carats’ worth of gemstones.

  • Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain
  • De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels
  • H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Flying Hours
  • MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement
  • Vacheron Constantin Triple Calendrier 1942
  • Voutilainen 217QRS

The GPHG 2018 “men’s” category is going to be tough this year… five of the watches are manufactured by independent watchmakers and only one has been produced by a “mainstream” brand. The Jury is clearly sending a message here, with a wish to celebrate the beauty of hand-finished watches. Tough call, but we’d say that the Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain has some chances here, as it is exceptionally finished and celebrates traditional watchmaking skills.

Men’s complication

Men’s watches that are remarkable in terms of their mechanical creativity and complexity, featuring all kinds of horological complications and classic and/or innovative indications (e.g. annual calendar, perpetual calendar, equation of time, moon phase, digital or retrograde time display, world time, dual time or other types of models) and do not fit the definition of the Men’s and Mechanical Exception categories.

  • Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
  • Girard-Perregaux Neo Tourbillon With Three Bridges Skeleton
  • H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept Vantablack
  • Krayon Everywhere Horizon
  • Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece
  • Vacheron Constantin Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin

Another tough and heterogeneous category, with tourbillons, calendars, independent watchmakers, established brands, vintage-oriented watches, modern skeleton pieces… It is hard to find one winner here, as we can’t see many similarities between these watches. However, the technical achievement of Bvlgari with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic deserves to be awarded at the GPHG 2018 (in this category and in another…)

Chronograph

Mechanical watches comprising at least one chronograph indication. Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.

  • Czapek L’Heure Bleue
  • Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
  • Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100
  • Singer Reimagined Singer Track1 Hong Kong Edition
  • TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford
  • Zenith Defy El Primero 21

The selection for the GPHG 2018 Chronograph category features modern, sporty watches – with the exception of the MB, which is more vintage-inspired. For this reason, we’d like to go for the Singer Reimagined Singer Track1 Hong Kong Edition. As the GPHG celebrates the beauty of watchmaking, we think that this innovative watch and its brilliant movement deserve some more attention.

Chronometry

Mechanical watches comprising at least one tourbillon and/or a special escapement and/or another development improving chronometry (precision timekeeping). Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.

  • David Candaux Half Hunter
  • De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Tourbillon
  • Montblanc Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon Limited Edition 58
  • TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon Chronograph Tête de Vipère Chronometer
  • Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel
  • Zenith Defy Zero G

To be honest, not the most inspired selection this year in this category. While it is supposed to be a celebration of true innovation with a focus on precision, it is populated by “simple tourbillon” watches, without the innovative side we would have loved to see. Two predictions: 1. If the Jury focus on beautiful watchmaking, our guess is the David Candaux Half Hunter. 2. The jury could also focus on accessibility, with the TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon Chronograph, priced under EUR 20,000.

Mechanical Exception

Men’s and/or ladies’ watches featuring a special mechanism, such as an innovative or sophisticated display, an automaton, a striking or any other acoustic function, a belt-driven movement or any other original and/or exceptional horological concept.

  • Andersen Genève & Konstantin Chaykin Automaton Joker
  • Bovet 1822 Récital 22 Grand Récital
  • Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon
  • Girard-Perregaux Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon
  • Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie
  • Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision

This category is supposed to be a celebration of the most advanced technologies and the most complex watches. For this reason, our choice will be the Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie… We can’t resist a Grande Sonnerie, especially when you see the movement inside this watch!

Sports

Watches linked to the field of sports, whose functions, materials and design are suited to physical activities. Smartwatches are admissible in this category.

  • Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Dynamique
  • Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch Limited Edition 100
  • Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Re-creation
  • TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf
  • Ulysse Nardin Diver
  • Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback

Again another heterogeneous selection for the GPHG 2018 Sports category, with chronographs, dive watches, modernly designed pieces, vintage-inspired watches and even a pocket watch. However, for the beauty of the re-edition created by Seiko, we’ll give the Japanese firm and its Prospex 1968 Diver’s Re-creation the award.

Jewellery

Watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewellery and gemsetting, and also distinguished by the choice of stones.

  • Antoine Preziuso Trillion Tourbillon of Tourbillons
  • Bvlgari Serpenti High Jewellery
  • Chanel Bouton de Camélia
  • de Grisogono Cascata
  • Piaget High Jewellery Cuff Watch Dentelle d’Or
  • Van Cleef & Arpels Secret de Coccinelle

Another category dominated by the “heavyweights” – Bvlgari, Chanel, de Grisogono, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels… As jewellery and gemsetting are clearly not our fields of expertise, we’d leave the choice to the GPHG 2018 jury here, even though those Bvlgari Serpenti High Jewellery and Van Cleef & Arpels Secret de Coccinelle are pretty impressive pieces.

Artistic Crafts

Watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of one or several artistic techniques such as enamelling, lacquering, engraving, guilloché (engine-turning), skeleton-working, etc.

  • Chaumet Ecritures de Chaumet – Limited edition inspired by Renoir’s work
  • Fabergé Clover
  • Hermès Arceau Robe du Soir
  • Piaget Altiplano Tourbillon Malachite
  • Vacheron Constantin Les Aérostiers – Paris 1783
  • Van’t Hoff Ballet in Blue

The GPHG 2018 “artistic crafts” category is once again dominated by the big names, brands known for their mastery of métiers d’art. However, these watches really need to be seen in the metal to be judged and for this reason, we prefer the jury to decide here. Note: the Hermès, Piaget and Vacheron are quite impressive watches…

Petite Aiguille

Watches with a retail price between CHF 4,000 and CHF 10,000. Smartwatches are admissible in this category.

  • Habring² Doppel-Felix
  • Konstantin Chaykin Clown
  • Longines Record
  • Ming 19,01
  • Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur
  • Vicenterra Tycho Brahe “série” T2 Anthra

Surprisingly this year, most of the entries in the Petite Aiguille category are not watches produced by large brands. Four of them are the result of independent watchmakers’ creativity – Habring, Chaykin, Ming and Vicenterra. For this reason, we think that the winner will be an indie and our choice is for the Habring² Doppel-Felix – for its historical importance and because it’s a split-seconds chronograph (for less than CHF 8,000…)

Challenge

A new category this year. Watches with a retail price under CHF 4,000. Smartwatches are admissible in this category.

  • Gorilla Watches Fastback Drift
  • Longines Conquest V.H.P. GMT flash setting
  • Nomos Glashütte Tangente Neomatik 41 Update
  • Reservoir Longbridge British Racing
  • Seiko Presage Shippo Enamel
  • Tudor Black Bay GMT

With this new category, the GPHG sends another clear message, more in line with current trends – some of the competing watches (even though not selected in the final run) have even been financed on Kickstarter… Looking at the six finalists, we think that the Seiko Presage, with its enamel dial, makes a great contender in this quality/price ratio category.

Revival Prize

The best watch presented in one of the twelve categories, which features a contemporary re-edition or reinterpretation of an iconic historical model.

Looking at the 72 watches presented here, our choice for the Revival Prize will be the Vacheron Constantin Triple Calendrier 1942 – competing in the Men’s category. Its elegant, retro design and the balance of its dial makes complete sense in this vintage context.

What about the “Aiguille d’Or”

Looking at past editions of the GPHG, we have learned that mainly exceptional, complex and high-end watches are awarded the “Aiguille d’Or” prize. Even though we’d love the jury to send a message, with a more affordable piece, the goal of the GPHG is also to celebrate beautiful watches, innovation and creativity.

With this in mind, we think that the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, the thinnest automatic watch and the thinnest tourbillon watch even created deserves to receive the Oscar this year.


Details about the GPHG 2018

  • Date: the prize-giving ceremony will be held at the Théatre du Leman, in Geneva, on November 9, 2018
  • Exhibitions – where the competing watches will be displayed – details here
    • Venice on September 28th
    • Hong Kong on October 10th and 11th
    • Singapore from October 17th to 21st
    • Geneva Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH) from November 1st to 14th
  • Where to see the ceremony live? Here, on MONOCHROME
  • More detailswww.gphg.org

6 responses

  1. Wot I think should win:

    Men’s – Voutilainen 217QRS
    Men’s Complications – H Moser Perpetual Moon Concept
    Chronograph – Czapek Bleue
    Chronometry – De Bethune Starry Varius
    Mechanical Exception – Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision /or/ Bovet Recital 22
    Sports – Zenith Pilot Flyback
    Jewellery – Van Cleef & Arpels Secret de Coccinelle
    Artistic Crafts – Vacheron Les Aerostiers
    Petite Aiguille – Habring Doppel-Felix
    Aiguille D’or – Krayon Everywhere Horizon

  2. I’d really love to see Bovet Recital 22 Grand Recital as the winner of “machanical exception”. It’s a truly masterpiece – a mix of art and high-end mechanics.
    Although GF Grande Sonnerie also is a great watch…

  3. In the challenge category, I can’t see past the Gorilla drift wandering hours.

  4. Thanks Brice for this article.
    As we said: “May the best win!”, most of them deserve an award.
    One question, please: may be you have written an article on that topic but what are the main differences between Singer Reimagined Singer Track1 vs. Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Dynamique?

    Regards.
    JMR

  5. @JMR – both watches share the same base movement – the innovative Agengraph made by Agenhor – with a slight difference for the hours and minutes indications (Fabergé has peripheral hands, Singer has rotating discs). For the rest, the base is the same.

  6. Love the Singer and I think it’s a clearer implementation of a great movement than the Faberge. I hope this movement is recognized this year.

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