20 years of GPHG – Looking Back at the 19 Winning Watches To Date
A year of change and celebration for the Oscars of watchmaking commences.
This year will be the 20th anniversary of the Oscars of watchmaking, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. As such it is an exceptional year: a year of change and of celebration. This year, the GPHG is launching its international watch industry Academy. The initiative will invite several hundred stakeholders in the sector to take part in the various stages of the watch selection process. Besides the traditional award ceremony that will be held on November 12th 2020, the GPHG has announced a series of events, including two exhibitions showcasing the 19 winning watches since 2001. These exhibitions will be open to the public during the upcoming editions of Watches & Wonders and Baselworld. To whet your appetite, MONOCHROME has put together a compilation of the exceptional timepieces that won the Aiguille d’Or.
2001 – Vacheron Constantin Lady Kalla
The first laureate of the Aiguille d’Or was a women’s watch… and it is the only one to date. The Lady Kalla is a magnificent white gold tapering link bracelet watch set with baguette diamonds. The watch is powered by a miniature mechanical movement and the crown is placed on the back of the case.
2002 – Patek Philippe 5102
Fashioned out of white gold, this exceptional astronomic watch displays the nocturnal sky chart over Geneva, the phases and orbit of the Moon, and the time of the meridian passage of Sirius. 38mm in diameter, the watch is powered by the calibre 240 CL LU with a micro-rotor.
2003 – Patek Philippe 5101P
This unapologetically elegant and understated shaped watch combines two complications: a tourbillon and the power reserve indicator over 10 days. Its highly complicated movement is housed in a curved platinum rectangular case with triple stepped flanks.
2004 – F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain à seconde morte
The Tourbillon Souverain à Seconde Morte is powered by a tourbillon with a remontoire (constant force mechanism) and dead beat seconds providing a precise indication of the seconds. The power reserve is indicated at 12 o’clock. The complex movement is housed in a 40mm platinum case.
2005 – Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile
The Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile is an ultra-complicated two-face wristwatch packing no fewer than 16 complications – including a minute repeater, a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar and astronomical indications.
2006 – F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grande et Petite Sonnerie Avec répétition minutes
F.P. Journe is one of the rare manufacturers to have produced a grande sonnerie wristwatch, one of the most complex horological creations. A single barrel provides enough energy for 24 hours of grand strike and includes several security features. The hand-wound movement runs for five days in silent mode.
2007 – Richard Mille RM012
In the unique technical Richard Mille style, the RM012 was released in a limited edition of 30 pieces in platinum. The barrel-shaped case houses a spectacular Tourbillon movement with a tubular structure.
2008 – F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain
This exceptional chronograph features a 100th-of-a-second readout of elapsed times on three counters (1 second, 20 seconds and 10 minutes). The sophisticated movement is housed in a 40mm platinum case in the characteristic F.P. Journe style.
2009 – A Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk
The A Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk is the first mechanical wristwatch to display the time digitally, down to the minute – providing exceptional legibility. The 41.9mm watch also displays a small seconds indication with stop seconds and a power reserve indication.
2010 – Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30°
The Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon includes 30° in its name as a reference to the angle that links the two mobile cages. This 44.5mm highly crafted watch was presented in an 11-piece limited edition.
2011 – De Bethune DB28
This 42.6mm titanium watch is a horological UFO featuring hours, minutes, a spherical moon phase, a power reserve indicator and a performance indicator. The movement packs innovative features and is housed in a characteristic De Bethune case with floating lugs.
2012 – TAG Heuer Mikrogirder
The TAG Heuer Mikrogirder houses an innovative regulator running at an unprecedented 7,200,000 variations per hour, in order to provide exceptional precision. Replacing the traditional hairspring, a coupling blade/excitatory blade system with linear oscillator vibrates at a very small angle.
2013 – Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement LM
The Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement LM is regulated by a revolutionary escapement. Taking advantage of the bi-stable states of a buckled silicon blade, the escapement delivers constant power to the regulator whatever the force provided by the barrel springs.
2014 – Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727
The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 incorporates a balance wheel oscillating at 10Hz. This feat is achieved thanks to magnetic pivots to improve the pivoting, rotation and stability of the balance staff. The system uses two end stones incorporating powerful micro-magnets.
2015 – Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 secondes Vision
This elegant watch is regulated by a fast rotating 24-second tourbillon. The immaculately finished movement displays hours, minutes, seconds and the power reserve. It is housed in a 43.5mm white gold case.
2016 – Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB1
The Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 chronometer is powered by a hand-wound movement featuring a pillar structure. It is regulated by a one-minute tourbillon driven by a suspended fusée-and-chain mechanism. The 44mm octagonal case features lateral portholes to reveal the movement.
2017 – Chopard L.U.C Full Strike
This superb minute repeater with its openwork dial features several innovations, in particular, transparent sapphire gongs. These are an integral part of the watch crystal to enhance the propagation of their crystalline sound.
2018 – Bovet Récital 22
The third opus of a series of three astronomic watches, the Bovet Récital 22 celebrates the three heavenly bodies that set the pace of our lives: the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The sun is represented by a flying tourbillon. A hemispherical earth shows the time on a 24-hour cycle. A spherical moon rotates around the earth.
2019 – Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ultrathin
With its classic Royal Oak look and ultra-thin profile, this watch is the thinnest perpetual calendar ever. Its movement is 2.89mm and its case 6.3mm thick. This technical feat was achieved reconstructing the three-level architecture of a perpetual calendar into a single-layer mechanism.
Enjoyed seeing these together. I reckon my favourite would be either the Breguet 7727 or the Journe Centigraphe.
Several of these are very wearable. The Breguet 7727, for example, is 41mm x 10mm and makes a great (and very accurate) daily office watch.
Great to see these together. If I could choose one it would be the Ferdinand Berthoud.