The 14th addition of the most eminent watchmaking annual awards competition, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, has attracted a record number of participants with all the major brands and a vast number of independent ones being present. Apart from the grand prize, Aiguille d’Or or Golden Hand in English, the submitted timepieces will compete for one of a dozen major and six auxiliary trophies. The jury of the competition which is headed by a horological expert, Aurel Bacs, and consists of 24 eminent figures from the field has already selected shortlists for each of the 12 major categories. The names of the winners of the GPHG 2014 awards will be revealed at a gala event which will be organized in Geneva on October 31.
During its 14 years of existence, Grand Prix d’horologie de Geneve has secured its place as the most relevant selection of the year’s best watches. As it is customary, all the submitted watches (whose number has reached the record amount this year), are in the competition for the grand prize of the event – Aiguile d’Or. Apart from the most important award, there is a certain number of major categories which are changeable from year to year. For the GPHG 2014 edition, there will be 12 of these brackets and the jury will pick the best models of the year in the following groups: Ladies’ (the watches with no complications, the maximum of two indications and a jewelry limit of 5 carats), Ladies’ High-Mech (which will reward the mechanical ingenuity and innovative complications), Men’s (with restrictions equivalent to women’s category), Chronograph (at least one stopwatch with any additional complications), Tourbillon (the same as the last one), Calendar (at least one calendar or a different astronomical feature), Striking (with audible representation of time and optional other complications), Mechanical Exception (for new features or types of display), Sports, Jewelry, Artistic Crafts (featuring some of the traditional artistic disciplines) and Petite Aiguille. The last one of these whose name translates to “Small Hand” Prize is especially interesting to the broader public, since it rounds up the most successful watches whose price does not exceed 8,000 CHF (which is roughly $8,500).
Additional and Optional Prizes
Apart from the major trophies, the GPHG 2014 will also award the maximum of six auxiliary prizes. These will be: Innovation (reserved for the piece from one of the dozen major categories which is presented with an innovative feature or design), Horological Revelation (optional accolade for a feat of a new brand or younger watchmaker), Revival (for revival or a contemporary reinterpretation of a classic model), Special Prize (which will be given to a person, an initiative or an institution and cannot be awarded to a model or a brand). There will also be trophies for the best timepiece in the selection of the public, as well as an accolade to the most successful student of the first year of the Geneva Watchmaking School.
As it is customary for GPHG, the winners will be selected by a jury which consists of top experts from various relevant fields. This year, the jury will be presided by an expert for both modern and vintage timekeepers, Aurel Bacs. Additionally, there will be 24 more figures of authority from different disciplines of horology. Among them there will be a master watchmaker, Philippe Dufour, a horological author, John Goldberger, a historian of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Dominique Flechon, the director of the most relevant Mexican timekeeping event Salon Internacional Alta Relojeria, the founder of Hodinkee, Benjamin Clymer, a journalist, Elizabeth Doerr and others.
As the rules of the competition state, only the models which were available for sale after the March of the last year and prior to the next November are eligible for the prizes. While the deadline for submission was the end of June, the shortlists of pre-selected six timekeepers in each of the categories have been recently unveiled (we will cover each of the selections in detail in some of our upcoming articles).
The official ceremony where the list of winners will be disclosed is going to be held on the last day of October at the Genevese Grand Theatre. As it has been announced, the event will be hosted once again by a French writer, critic and TV presenter, Frederic Beigbeder. GPHG has also confirmed the presence of Swiss Federal official Johann Schneider-Ammann. However, Geneva will not be the only place to see the competing timepieces. Watches that have managed to find their way to the pre-selection list will initially be exhibited in two major cities in Asia. The first event will be organized in New Delhi on September 26 and 27. Members of the public will be able to see the top of the crop of this year’s horology in the Swiss Embassy and the Imperial Hotel. Next in line is China, or to be specific, Beijing where the exhibition is going to be held from October 10 to 12 at the Maison des Arts –Yishu 8. The third stop is, naturally, Geneva where the watches will be showcased at the traditional venue – the Cite du Temps. Over here, the best timekeepers of the year will be shown a week before the unveiling of the winners and a single day after the ceremony is held. Finally, the last stop of the traveling exhibition is London where the winners of the GPHG 2014 accolades will be on display at Salon QP.