News – GPHG 2017 Finalists Announced – Plus Our Analysis and Predictions

As we approach the end of each year, the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève) ceremony takes place in Geneva. The so-called Oscars of the Watchmaking Industry, the gala event celebrates the best watches of the year – the most advanced, the most innovative, and the most creative timepieces – as well as the outright best in show, the Aiguille d’Or. Today we’re able to bring you, hot off the press, the complete list of finalists selected by the Jury. Only six watches remain in each of the twelve categories and, while the final jury selection will only be given on November 8, 2017, we can already give you the full list, our impressions and our usual predictions about the possible awarded watches.

Ladies

GPHG 2017 Finalists - ladies

  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold
  • Chanel Première Camelia Skeleton
  • Chopard Imperiale Moonphase
  • Fiona Kruger Petit Skull “Eternity’
  • Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Metropolitaine Selene
  • Urwerk UR-106 Flower Power

This year, the “ladies” category will represent quite some diversity, with watches which go from an iconic and rather masculine 1970s design (Audemars) to the extravagance of independent watchmakers (Fiona Kruger with her bold skull watch, or Urwerk and their complex UR-106). Of course, some of the emblematic Maisons are present, with interesting, yet classically executed watches (Chanel, Chopard). And while this category is usually reserved for watches with a “standard” movement and display (complex ones will enter the “High-Mech” category), there are already quite some impressive mechanics here. Our guess would go to something a bit different, maybe Urwerk, although the Royal Oak Frosted Gold and its superbly executed case could steal the show.

Ladies High-Mech

GPHG 2017 Finalists - ladies High-Mech

  • A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moonphase
  • Chaumet Creative Complication Colombes
  • Claude Meylan Tortue ‘Petite Fleur’
  • Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Celestial
  • Graff Mastergraff Floral Tourbillon
  • Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Automate

In the “Ladies High-Mech” category, the GPHG will award women’s watches that are remarkable in terms of their mechanical creativity and complexity. It means that all kinds of complications are accepted here (while there is a maximum of only 2 simple complications in the “Ladies” category). The selection this year in this category is rather homogenous, with most of the watches having a rather “girly” style – floral theme, poetical style and lots of diamonds – while only one seems rather boyish, the A. Lange & Söhne. This is why our prediction for the best “Ladies High-Mech” watch of 2017 will be for the Lange 1 Moonphase, certainly the one that better reflects the current trends and tastes of modern women.

Men’s

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Mens

  • A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase
  • Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
  • Grand Seiko Recreation of the First Grand Seiko
  • Greubel Forsey Signature 1
  • Slim d’Hermès l’Heure Impatiente
  • Voutilainen 28ISO Enamel

This “Men” category has always been a tough one at the GPHG, and the 2017 edition is no exception to the rule. Here, competing watches must comprise two at most of the following indications: date, power reserve, classic moon phase, digital or retrograde time display. That means that we usually have a wide selection, as you can see in the 2017 edition. There is the beauty of the hand-finishing of Greubel or Voutilainen, innovation with Bulgari, classicism with Seiko and Lange, and unique complication with Hermes. Considering the achievement that this Bulagri Octo Finissimo Automatic represents (the thinnest automatic movement on the market), our guess for the “Men” prize goes to this bold and modern creation.

Chronograph

GPHG 2017 Finalists - chronograph

  • Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Ceramic
  • Longines Avigation BigEye
  • Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100
  • Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Chronor Anniversaire
  • Singer Reimagined Track 1
  • TAG Heuer Autavia

The “chronograph” category is always a highly contested one at the GPHG. Indeed, this complication is a classic amongst the industry and certainly one of the most sought-after types of watches. However, while there are 6 pieces selected this year, 2 of them, the Fabergé and the Singer, are actually powered by the same (insane) movement, developed by JM Wiederrecht and Agenhor. While the Tag Heuer, the Montblanc, the Longines and the Parmigiani are all great pieces, the GHPG also aims to celebrate the beauty of watchmaking. Thus, it would be relevant to give this “Chronograph” award to the Fabergé or the Singer, simply because of the movement that ticks inside these watches – with maybe a small preference for the sporty and cool look of the Singer…

Tourbillon and Escapement

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Tourbillon and Escapement

  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
  • Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton
  • David Candaux 1740 The First 8
  • Haldimann Central Balance Pure H12
  • Louis Moinet Mobilis
  • Ulysse Nardin Marine Tourbillon

In this “tourbillon and escapement” category, the GPHG will select the best watches of the year which comprise at least one tourbillon and/or a special escapement. No surprises then to see quite complex watches here – a tourbillon-chronograph, the slimmest skeletonized tourbillon movement, a watch with a centrally-mounted balance wheel or a twin-tourbillon with automaton. Yet, among these six superb watches, one could well be the choice of the jury: the David Candaux, simply because of the insane level of finishing, of the original architecture of the movement and also because it is the first watch this great watchmaker has launched under his own name.

Calendar

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Calendar

  • A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar
  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
  • Delma Klondike Moonphase
  • Greubel Forsey QP à Equation
  • Krayon Everywhere
  • Zenith Chronomaster Grande Date Full Open

For once, the work of the Jury has been simple… Indeed, the “calendar” category comprised only 6 listed watches, meaning that all of them actually proceeded through to the final selection. In this category, we find mechanical watches comprising at least one calendar and/or astronomical complication. Unsurprisingly, not all are born equal, as there’s a simple calendar watch, a complete calendar with chronograph, an annual calendar, two perpetual calendars, and finally a sort of UFO, the Krayon, with a worldwide calculation of sunrise and sunset time. As said, the GPHG tends to celebrate the beauty of watchmaking and innovation, then it would be likely that the latter triumphs here – yet the Greubel Forsey QP also deserves it, or should it be the AP and its great design…

Travel Time

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Travel Time

  • Czapek Tourbillon Suspendu ‘Ici et Ailleurs’
  • Frédérique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
  • Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT
  • Louis Vuitton Escale Time-Zone Blue
  • Manufacture Royale ADN
  • Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde

The “Travel Time” category focusses on mechanical watches displaying several time zones. Yet, the selection feels quite restrained here, with watches that feel classical in their indications and execution. No complex world-time watches, no unusual way to indicate the time-zones, in fact, it might be one of the less challenging categories this year. Though the Parmigiani Fleurier, even if quite classical, is indeed superb in terms of design, with an undeniable elegance.

Mechanical Exception

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Mechanical Exception

  • A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite
  • Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance
  • Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Supersonnerie
  • Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike
  • Girard-Perregaux Planetarium Tri-Axial
  • Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600

The “Mechanical Exception” category is a sort of no-limit one. Here you can find watches featuring a special mechanism, such as an innovative or sophisticated display, an automaton, a striking or any other acoustic function, or an exceptional horological concept. And clearly, the GPHG 2017 doesn’t disappoint here. Almost all of them could well be awarded… The Lange for the beauty of its movement, the Armin Strom for its innovative and superb Resonance escapement, the AP for making the Super-Sonnerie concept so restrained, the LUC Chopard for being one of the most innovative minute-repeaters and the Vacheron for being one of the most advanced astronomical watches on the market… Prediction: a huge fight in the Jury room to decide which should be the winner!

Petite Aiguille

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Petite Aiguille

  • Bulgari Octo Roma
  • Habring2 Erwin
  • Hermes Arceau TGM Manufacture
  • Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon GMT Black
  • Seiko 62Mas First Diver’s Re-creation Limited Edition
  • Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

The “Petite Aiguille” category is rather special at the GPHG, as it is the only one with a focus on the price. Here, there are only watches with a retail price of under CHF 8,000. And while smartwatches are admissible in this category, we’re happy to see that none was selected. This might sound simple, however it is one of the most disputed categories, as this price level probably represents 90% of the production. The final selection is quite heterogeneous this year, with many different styles, several complications, and watches from different horizons (Japan with Seiko, independent watchmakers with Habring2). And in fact, we would be happy to see the Seiko winning the prize, as one of the most desirable vintage-reissues of the year, and from another country than Switzerland.

Sport

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Sport

  • Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s
  • Hublot Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph
  • MB&F HM7 Aquapod
  • Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100
  • Tudor Pelagos LHD
  • Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta

In this “sport” category, the GPHG selects watches linked to the field of sports, whose functions, materials and design are suited to physical activities, as for instance here there are two dive watches, two racing chronographs (one even has a tourbillon), a regatta chronograph and even an horological UFO with nautical roots, the MB&F HM7. And guess what, this watch could well be the one this year, in the “Sport” category – second choice would be the Ulysse Nardin, as probably the cleverest regatta watch seen in a long time.

Jewellery

GPHG 2017 Finalists - jewellery

  • Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage
  • Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery
  • Chanel Les Eternelles de Chanel Camélia Secret Watch
  • Chaumet Frise Divine
  • Chopard Lotus Blanc Watch
  • Piaget Hide & Seek Manchette

In the “jewellery” category, the GPHG selects watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewellery and gem-setting. No need to say that we’re in a world of immoderation and extreme luxury. While we have low to zero experience here, at Monochrome-Watches, with such pieces, we know that our own Roberta Naas was quite positive with the Bulgari presented here. And I would personally award the Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage, simply for being the most outrageous of them all.

Artistic Craft

GPHG 2017 Finalists - Artistic crafts

  • Chopard L.U.C XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony
  • Hermès Slim d’Hermès Promenade de Longchamp
  • Chaykin Joker
  • Piaget Altiplano Art & Excellence feather marquetry
  • Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Copernicus celestial spheres 2460RT
  • Voutilainen Aki-No-Kure

Again a category that has less impact on the general public, however one that shows some of the oldest techniques in watchmaking. Here, we have watches which demonstrate exceptional mastery of one or several artistic techniques such as enamelling, lacquering, engraving, guilloché… This year’s selection contains some very pleasant watches, and any one of them could potentially be awarded during the ceremony – special mention to the Chaykin Joker watch, just because it looks out of this world in the middle of all these delicate pieces.

And what about the Aiguille d’Or?

This is the big one. The “Aiguille d’Or” is the ultimate prize at the GHPG, a sort of best of show, simply the watch that the Jury thinks is the most representative of the year. Usually, this prize goes to complex, high-priced watches with innovations or a specific features – the Ferdinand Berthoud in 2016, with its complex fusée-chaine movement and marking the revival of the name Berthoud, the Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision in 2015, the Breguet Classique Chronometrie in 2014 or the GP Constant Escapement in 2013. If we think with continuity in mind, we could expect the prize to go to the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph, the Armin Strom Resonance, the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod or the David Candaux watch.

Such a watch makes sense for the Aiguille d’Or… if we regard the GPHG as the celebration of watchmaking. After all, the Oscars of the Watchmaking Industry are also done to celebrate the best watchmakers! Yet, I personally would like to see something different this year. Why not the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic, as even if it has only 3 hands and is priced at around CHF 12,000, it features the thinnest automatic movement ever commercialized. Or why not something even more accessible, such as a Tudor or a Seiko, just as a recognition that the industry should focus more on accessibility. And why not a watch for ladies, who are too often forgotten in the watchmaking industry. Even if the GPHG has a mission to celebrate watchmaking and the watchmakers, it could also be a way to spread a slightly different message…


Details about the GPHG 2017

  • Date – the Prize-Giving ceremony will be held at the Théatre du Leman, in Geneva, on November 8, 2017
  • Exhibitions – where the competing watches will be displayed – details here
    • Milano – October 3rd and 4th 2017
    • Mexico – Berger Joyeros: October 12th and 14th 2017 – SIAR (Salón Internacional Alta Rellojería México): October 17th and 18th 2017
    • Taipei – October 26th and 27th 2017
    • Geneva – Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH) – November 1st  to 12th 2017
    • Dubai – during the Dubai Watch Week – November 17th to 20th 2017
  • More detailswww.gphg.org

1 response

  1. My Obvious choices would be:
    Ladies – Chanel
    Men’s – Octo
    Chrono – Autavia
    Tourbillon: Candaux
    Travel time: Louis Vuiton
    Mechanical exception: Vacheron
    Sport: Rally Timer
    Artistic Craft: the Joker!

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