The jury of the Grand Prix Horlogerie de Genève has announced seven finalists in each of the ten existing categories. While the majority of the nominated watches have steep six-figure prices that keep them out of the reach of an average timepiece enthusiast, there is a different category which includes products with the maximal permitted value. This category is called the “Petite Aiguille” award and it involves only timekeepers which cost less than 7,500 Swiss Francs (which is around $8,270). The watches that were included on the shortlist in this category are: Baume & Mercier Complete Calendar, Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Golden Heritage, Chopard Mille Miglia 2013, Habrin2 Jumping Second Pilot, Speake-Marin Spirit MKII, Tudor Fastrider Black Shield and Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT.
The first nominated timepiece is produced by the Richmond owned Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier and it is a part of its Clifton series. As a matter of fact, it is the most complex model in the entire collection. More precise, the nominated watch is the version of the model that has a steel casing with the width of 43 mm and the thickness of 12.25 mm, as well as a blue dial (the reference number 10057).
As its name suggests, the most impressive thing about the watch is the presence of a full calendar which includes apertures for displays of day of the week and month, a date display executed via the central hand and a moon phase set on the bottom of its face. This is enabled by its Dubois Dépraz 9000 mechanical movement. The caliber in question features an automatic winding which is paired with a power reserve of 42 hours, while its frequency measures to 28,800 vph. Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar is coupled with a black leather strap which locks with a folding clasp and has the price of around $5,000.
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Golden Heritage
The second watch on the shortlist for the “Petite Aiguille” award is a typical Bell & Ross timekeeper which features the brand’s recognizable vintage-styled and square-shaped housing combined with a round dial. It comes from the Aviation collection and goes by the name BR 03-94 Golden Heritage (the reference number BR0394-ST-G-HE/SCA). When speaking about the supported complications, it should be said that this automatic mechanical timekeeper includes a two-counter chronograph and a date display.
The stainless steel case of the Bell & Ross model which was inspired by the aviation timekeepers from the 1950s is 42 mm long, 42 mm wide 9.9 mm thick, and includes four screws on the bezel. Its black dial is accentuated with gold plated hands, as well as with golden appliqué numerals and indices. Inside the iconic Bell & Ross square case with the water resistance of 100 meters is an automatic-winding movement (the frequency of 28,800 vph) with the supported power storage of 40 hours. The price of the timekeeper is slightly over $6,050.
Chopard Mille Miglia 2013
Another chronograph in the competition is Chopard Mille Miglia 2013 with the reference number 168555-30001. The watch was named after the iconic Mille Miglia endurance race which takes place every year in Italy. Interestingly, the Co-President of Chopard Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a regular participant of the race, so it is not that surprising that the brand decided to create a racing-themed model which is dedicated to the iconic competition.
Apart from the chronograph, this watch likewise includes the GMT second time function. Its whole appearance is adapted to racing which is why Chopard has turned a lot of attention toward increasing the visibility which was achieved with the addition of red accents on its black dial with three white chrono counters. All of this makes the watch resemble a dashboard of a racing car. Moreover, the timekeeper has mushroom shaped pushers which allow easier activation.
Chopard Mille Miglia 2013 is made with a round 44 mm wide and 13.7 mm high steel case which enables waterproofness to 100 meters. Inside it there is a self-winding chrono mechanical movement that operates at the rate of 28,800 vph and has a power storage of 46 hours. The watch by Chopard is paired with a sporty rubber band and it is made as a part of the Classic Racing collection. It is launched in a restricted series of 2013 pieces and features the price tag of around $6,800.
Habrin2 Jumping Second Pilot
The Austrian watchmaker Habring2 is competing for the “Petite Aiguille” (Small Hand) award with its new Jumping Second Pilot timekeeper This is one of the most interesting timekeepers on the shortlist and the only one with a dead beat or a jumping seconds complication which includes a central seconds hand that moves once per second, despite the fact that its hand-wound movement has a rate of 8 vibrations per second (28,800 vph). The caliber in question is in-house made A09S which is supplied with a power reserve that lasts for two days.
It is yet another aviator’s timekeeper in the competition as it is clear by its name. The watch has a stark black dial without many details or decorations. It includes only three hands, four Roman numerals and naturally a minute track on the periphery that serves to punctuate the supported jumping seconds complication. Habrin2 Jumping Second Pilot timekeeper has a round steel case with the width of 42 mm and the height of 12.5 mm (water proof to 50 meters). It is coupled with a brown leather strap that fastens with a pin buckle and can be bought for a bit more than $4,400.
Speake-Marin Spirit MKII
Among the finalists for the ‘low-budget” award at the GPHG 2013 event there is also the new creation of Peter Speake-Marin called MKII (otherwise known as Mark Two). It is a watch from the Piccadilly collection, distinguished by its supreme extended power reserve that lasts for five days, as well as by its interesting design which features a three-dimensional one-piece dial.
As it has been mentioned, the watch can pride itself with quite a long power reserve which is included despite the fact that its mechanical movement features an automatic-winding system with unidirectional winding. The watch by Speake-Marin is made with a round steel case (42 mm wide and 12 mm thick) which is coupled with a thick bezel and an oversized crown. The construction guarantees that the timekeeper is water proof to 100 meters, while the case back is solid, slightly curved and enriched with an engraving of the inspirational motto “Fight, Love & Persevere”
The interesting one-piece dial of Speake-Marin Spirit MKII (the watch is envisioned as a redesigned Spirit Pioneer model, hence the name Mark Two) is matte black and with white luminous hands, numerals and hour markers. Its only functions are three hands while its price is around $7,600.
Tudor Fastrider Black Shield
Fastrider Black Shield timepiece by Tudor is another racing-themed chronograph that found its way on the shortlist for the “Petite Aiguille” Prize. It is a dark and dominant looking model fitted into a scratch-proofed case constructed from ceramics (with the diameter of 42 mm and the thickness of 12.5 mm). Its housing is arguably the most interesting trait of the watch with luminescent red accents since it was made just from the high-tech ceramics which was fashioned in a single process. Furthermore, it guarantees water resistance to 150 meters which is higher than any other watch on the shortlist.
The watch which was launched in the collaboration with the motorcycle manufacturer Ducati has a self-winding movement that runs on the frequency of 28,800 vph and provides a power storage of 46 hours. Its price is just under $5,200.
Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT
At the end of the shortlist for the prize in the category of watches that cost less than 7,500 Swiss Francs is yet another pilot’s timekeeper – Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT. This timekeeper with an aviation themed design (which is visible in its large knurled crown and legible dial) is characterized with a small seconds counter at the nine o’clock position and the supported GMT feature.
Set in a steel housing of circular shape, the timepiece with the reference number 03.2430.693/21.C723 has a self-winding mechanical movement with a power storage of 50 hours. As the vast majority of the pieces in the competition, it runs on the frequency of 4 Hz. The last piece on the shortlist is paired with a brown leather strap and has the price of $7,950. It will be interesting to see whether this model will be able to repeat the success of Zenith Big Date Special watch which was the last year’s winner of the “Petite Aiguille” award.