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Let’s put this on record. There are dozens of half-baked watch award ceremonies held around the world — ones where financial wheeling dealing and cosy personal equations are the real reasons some watch brands are awarded while others are ignored.
Not the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. This annual awards ceremony, now into its 15thyear, has built a hardened reputation as being fiercely independent, impartial and inclusive — you don’t need to be a Swiss watchmaker to enter your timepiece into this competition. The jury is also an interesting mix of watchmakers (Philippe Dufour), auctioneers (Aurel Bacs), journalists and bloggers (Nick Foulkes and Hodinkee founder Benjamin Clymer — both GQ contributors too), collectors (John Goldberg) and even entertainment royalty (KISS drummer Eric Singer).
Here are the 10 watchmakers who won over the jury.
“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix
Winner: Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision
It’s the top watchmaking prize for the overall best timepiece across all categories — equivalent to the Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Limited to just 22 pieces, you’ll need to fork out about 0,000 to get a hold of the world’s best timepiece this year.
Winner: Kari Voutilainen GMR
That Finnish independent watchmaker makes just 38 pieces a year on an average – that’s extremely rare. He’ll also be showing at the world’s most prestigious luxury watch exhibition at the SIHH in 2019 for the first time.
Winner: Antoine Preziuso Tourbillons of Tourbillons
Any collector knows the value of a watch with a tourbillon on it. This one has masterfully packed three tourbillons into a single piece of screaming metal.
Winner: Piaget Altiplano Chronograph
The world’s thinnest manual winding flyback chronograph. Really, did you think any other watch stood a fair chance against it?
Winner: Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon
The grand feu enamel dial and classic round case seems all safe and traditional from a distance. But that mean one-minute tourbillon coupled to a constant force escapement that took eight years to develop, is the bleeding edge of highly complex mechanical watchmaking.
Winner: Hermès Slim d’Hermès QP
Five years ago, if you dared say it out loud that a fashion major would move into the ranks of the finest mechanical watchmakers in the world, you’d be burned. But Hermès has got some serious watchmaking chops. Good thing then that earlier this year.
Winner: Girard-Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with gold bridges
Girard-Perregaux is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The three gold bridges across its dial have become something of a signature for the brand. Add a minute repeater to the mix and you have a winner.
Winner: Jaquet Droz The Charming Bird
That bird features real feathers on its wings that flap when the mechanism is activated.
Winner: Blancpain Villeret, cadran Shakudo
India (or at least India-inspired timepieces) is on the horological map. Recently, we showed you a version of this watch that was unveiled for the Indian market at a price of Rs 99.51 lakh — just one of which will be made available here.
Special Jury Prize
Winner: Watchmakers Micke Pintus, Yannick Pintus, Jean-Luc Perrin for their work on the Vacheron Constantin Ref 57260
To celebrate the brand’s 260th anniversary, Vacheron unveiled the Ref 57260 – the world’s most complicated timepiece that features a staggering 57 complications. It took these three master watchmakers eight years of full-time dedication on producing this mechanical dynamo.
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