Breguet Classique Chronometrie has won the Golden Hand award for the best watch of the year at the Grand Prix de Horlogerie de Geneva 2014. Breguet’s new high-frequency model with magnetic pivots was pronounced the winner at the gala event held on October 31 at the Grand Theatre de Geneve. All in all, the jury of the 14th edition of the GPHG awards, which are regarded as the “wathcmaking Oscars”, selected the most successful timekeepers in 12 basic categories and gave out 16 accolades in total. The most successful men’s piece is Urban Jurgensen Central Seconds with a detent escapement. As for the top ladies models, the prizes were won by Blancpain Women Off-Centered and Christophe Claret Margo. The former was chosen as the best “regular” timepiece, while the latter grabbed the ladies’ High-Mech trophy.
The jury of the GPHG 2014 accolades also selected the best watches with some of the most cherished complications. The tourbillion of the year is Gronefeld Parallax Tourbillon, the best chronograph is De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon, Hublot Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon is the striking watch of the year, whereas A. Lange & Sohne Terraluna got the best calendar timepiece prize. Among other winners, we should mention Urwerk EMC which grabbed two technically-oriented accolades – Innovation and Mechanical Exception. Otherwise, Walter Lange of A.Lange & Sohne was honored with the Special Jury Prize, while the members of the public selected another Breguet piece, Classique Dame, as the best timekeeper of the year.
Breguet Classique Chronometrie – The Golden Hand
Grand Prix de Horlogerie de Geneva has firmly established itself as the most relevant watchmaking award ceremony of the year. At the end of each year, the prominent members from the field are selected as members of the GPHG jury which than picks the best models. This year, the GPHG event had its 14th annual edition. The ceremony was hosted by Melanie Winiger and Frederic Beigbeder. Once again, the happening captured the attention of the entire industry whose representatives flocked the Grand Theatre de Geneve to find out the names of the winners. The top prize of the show, “Aiguille d’Or” or Golden Hand accolade, was given to Breguet Classique Chronometrie. The amazing timekeeper runs at the exceptionally high frequency of 10 Hz and it displays several patents and innovations. Its most important trait is the use of magnetic pivots. These tiny magnets keep the balance centered and self-adjusted, they nullify the harmful effects of magnetic fields and at the same time they improve its shock resistance as well as the accuracy of the piece.
Moreover, the Breguet model is likewise presented in a luxurious package which is usual for the brand and it features no less than six different guilloche patterns as its decorations. The best watch of the year possesses indications for hour, minutes, seconds and power reserve. It comes in a red gold case and it has the price tag of around $40,500.
Blancpain Women Off-Centered Hour – The Ladies Watch Prize
As the jury of the GPHG 2014 selected, the most successful ladies’ timekeeper of the year is Blancpain Women Off-Centered Hour. The feminine timekeeper features gem-setting which is visible on its bezel, case and mother-of-pearl dial. Moreover, it has a very interesting looking face with a harmonious looking face that includes an off-centered dial at the top. This indication for hour and minutes is balanced with a retrograde 30-second indication at the bottom and supplemented with diamonds which are set in a wavy motif.
The best ladies’ model of the year uses the brand’s new in-house automatic movement which is superbly finished and visible from the behind. The 226-component caliber is made with a custom rotor in the shape of a flower with five petals. Blancpain Off-Centered Hour costs around $32,000.
Christopher Claret Margo – The Ladies High-Mech Prize
This year’s edition of the GPHG show also included the prize for the best ladies’ piece with a bit more complex built. The most successful high mechanics watch of the year is Christophe Claret. This timekeeper is distinguished with a highly original and poetic complication. At the start, the face of the watch features a flower with several petals which are used for the complication that mimics the French version of He loves me, he loves me not game. This version includes “calculation” of different levels of potential love, ranging from “not at all” to “madly”, as it can be seen inscribed at the aperture below the central flower motif.
As the wearer activates the mechanism of the watch, a random number of petals disappears from the flower and ultimately reveals the answer to the all-important question. Each time the petals are plucked, a striking mechanism of the watch is sounded which only lifts the tension and makes the result even more dramatic. Additional game is seen on the back of the watch, where one of six precious stones fitted on the rotor of the automatic movement designates the chosen feeling attached with the result from the front side. The best ladies high-mech watch of the year is made from precious materials and it is exceptionally pricey with the cost of around $289,000.
Urban Jurgensen & Sonner Central Second – The Men’s Watch Prize
The jury of the GPHG 2014 selected Urban Jurgensen & Sonner Central Second timekeeper as the best gentleman’s watch of the year. The accolade was given to the model because it features a detent escapement which is a trait that is exceptionally rarely seen in wristwatches. A detent escapement which is the most accurate type of balance wheel escapement was common for marine chronometers of yesteryears. Until recently, it has not been seen in wristwatches due to the difficulties connected with its construction and servicing. The first ever wristwatch with detent escapement was launched exactly by Urban Jurgensen & Sonnerand it happened in 2011.
This year’s novelty is even more complex than the watch that came put three years ago since it likewise includes a central second hand. This sort of design is much more demanding than when the timepiece is made with small seconds counter. In order to resemble vintage chronometers from the time the brand was founded, new model by Urban Jurgensen & Sonner has a central second hand which moves in increment of 1/3rd of a second. The best men’s watch of the year has an additional indication that shows the state of its three day long power reserve. It is made with a red gold case and it is sold at the price of around $51,000.
De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon – The Chronograph Watch Prize
The best chronograph of the year was launched by De Bethune. DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon timekeeper features a unique appearance and several patents. Unlike all conventional watches with a stopwatch feature, this model does not include chrono sub-dials. Instead, it utilizes only five central hands of different shape and length. Additionally, it is a mono-pussoir chronograph since all of its modes are activated with a single push-piece which is hidden inside the crown. The maximal elapsed time period of the chronograph’s measuring range is to say the least generous and it is 1/10th of a second shy of an entire day.
The stop watch feature is extraordinarily precise (up to a 1/10th of a second) since the watch’s movement features the high frequency of 5 Hz which is even more impressive considering the fact that it also includes a tourbillion complication. Moreover, the caliber developed by De Bethune likewise displays a total clutch column-wheel design which combines the best features of horizontal and vertical clutching. The best chronograph of the year comes in pink gold housing and costs about $280,000.
Gronefeld Parallax Tourbillon – The Best Tourbillon Watch Prize
The most successful timepiece with a tourbillion feature made in 2014 was design and produced by Bart and Tim Gronefeld. Their prized model named Parallax Tourbillon includes a flying tourbillion whose cage is made of stainless steel. The watch features a large seconds hand that was made in an innovative fashion and without a friction spring which improves the punctuality. Moreover, the tourbillion of the year possesses hacking seconds feature. Its winding and time-setting modes are switched from one another with a press of a pushbutton inside the crown, as well as indicated on the dial. There is also a display for the state of its prolonged power reserve that lasts for three days. Another cool trait of the watch and its movement is that it has its bridges made of stainless steel. This recognizable Gronefeld feature allows mirror-polishing which gives it an immaculate appearance. Parallax Tourbillon has the price tag of $173,500.
A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” – Calendar Watch Award
The most successful calendar timepiece of the year was created by the Saxon watchmaker A. Lange & Sohne. It features a perpetual calendar and a regulator type of dial, as it can be seen on its refined silver dial with the brand’s recognizable design elements. The precise calendar feature takes into account leap years and will not require any adjustment until 2100.
However, this is not the entire story, since the watch hides additional secrets on the movement side in an unostentatious manner that is typical for high-end horological products. The transparent rear side of the case includes a realistic depiction of the night skies which shows the position of the moon in relation to both the Earth and the Sun. This is the first wristwatch ever which tells both the position and the stage of the moon. These indications are not only pretty but even more importantly very precise since they require a single correction in 1058 years.
Furthermore, Terraluna timekeeper possesses an exceptionally long-lasting power reserve of two weeks. Since it is supplied with such an opulent power reserve, the movement is equipped with a constant force mechanism that enables unchanged levels of toque throughout the course of 14 days. The magnificent perpetual calendar timekeeper from the Richard Lange collection is valued at around $225,000.
Hublot Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon Minute Repeater – The Best Striking Watch
As it jury of the GPHG 2014 selected, the best timepiece with a striking feature was made by Hublot. The timekeeper in question includes a double cathedral gong which is activated by a push-piece integrated in the watch’s crown. Moreover, the watch from the Classic Fusion series combines its minute repeating feature with yet another highly demanding complication – a tourbillion. It is a one-minute tourbillion with a sturdy construction and a cage that has the oversized diameter of 13.6 mm.
The completely in-house skeletonized caliber by Hublot which is the brand’s second minute repeater so far consists of 319 parts in total. It is exposed from both sides of the case and it is carefully finished and plated to match the color of the housing. The timekeeper which scooped the Best Striking Watch award at the GPHG 2014 has the price tag of around $239,000.
Urwerk EMC – Mechanical Exception & Innovation Prizes
The hottest new concept in the watchmaking was displayed in Urwerk EMC which grabbed two trophies. It was pronounced as the winner in one of twelve basic categories – the Mechanical Exception. Moreover, it additionally grabbed the Innovation accolade which takes timekeeper from all categories into consideration. The fact that makes Urwerk EMC so radical is its innovative feature that enables its wearer to personally adjust the rate of the movement. This way, each of its wearers can perform the task which was so far reserved solely for professionals.
The name of the new timekeeper is abbreviation for Electro Mechanical Control which is exactly the feature that enables the testing of the accuracy. Subsequently, the wearer can fine-tune the mechanical movement on his own and in that way completely adjust the performance of the watch to his own personal life style and rhythm. The two-time winner at the GPHG 2014 awards includes four small sub-dials which makes it look even more instrument-like and futuristic. It is made with a steel or a titanium housing and it has the price of around $122,500.
Seiko Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT – The Small Hand Award
A timekeeper by the Japanese manufacturer Seiko won the Small Hand Award which is given to the best affordable timepiece of the year. The watch in question is Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT which runs on a self-winding movement with the high frequency of 5 Hz. Apart from three central hands, the caliber also includes GMT feature and a date display.
The watch’s movement can pride itself with an increased resistance to shocks and magnetic forces. It stores a power reserve of 55 hours. The best budget watch of the year is made with a subdued design and it is fitted into a polished steel casing. As the rules of the competition propose, the watch has the affordable price of around $8,050.
Zenith El Primero Lightweight – The Best Sports Watch
Furthermore, the jury of the GPHG 2014 decided that the best sports watch of the year is Zenith El Primero Lightweight. The timepiece that grabbed the accolade is a modernized version of the iconic El Primero, the piece which the brand started producing in 1969. Just like the archetype model, the new piece is a self-winding chronograph which operates at the high frequency of 5 Hz. However, the novel watch is a completely modernized version which sheds all unnecessary weight and tries to keep the watch as light as possible. This is why its skeletonzed movement features bridges and baseplate made of titanium, as well as why it includes additional functional components made of silicon. Modern materials were used in the construction of the housing, as well. The case of the watch is constructed from the combination of aluminum and carbon and secured in place by titanium screws. The best sports timepiece of the year costs about $18,175.
Bulgari Diva High-Jewelry Emeralds – Jewelry Watch Award
The only quartz-driven piece among the winners was made by Bulgari. As it could be expected, the best jewelry timepiece is completely covered in precious stones which are visible on its face, as well as on its case and bracelet which are both made of white gold. The timepiece from the Diva collection extensively uses diamonds and emeralds. As for the shape of the gems, both emeralds and diamonds are in some instances brilliant-cut, while in others baguette-cut. The sparkly feminine watch has its dial completely covered with snow pave technique and it shows only hours and minutes. As for the price, it is also expectedly high. The best jewelry watch of the year costs just a bit less than $644,000.
Voutilainen Hisui – The Artistic Crafts Award
The winner in the category which celebrates traditional artistic crafts is Vaoutilainen Hisui. It is a magnificent timepiece which displays the highest level of perfection and appeal that can be created with the use of lacquer. In order to create this unique watch, the renowned Finish watchmaker collaborated with one of the top lacquer studios of Japan. Unruan studios lead by T. Kitamura stand behind thousands of hours of painstaking work which were necessary to create embellishments that cover the dial, as well as the movement bridges which can be seen though the transparent rear side. The watch that shows off four different lacquer techniques is made in just a single copy and it costs $233,500.
Omega Speedmaster “Dark Side of The Moon” – Revival Watch Prize
Omega’s new watch from the Speedmaster collection is the winner of the Revival accolade. The award is given to the model that reinvents or reinterprets an iconic watch from the past. New “Dark Side of The Moon” piece features modernized package with a housing and dial made of black ceramic. The timepiece with displays for date and the second time zone runs on a self-winding movement with a column wheel chronograph and co-axial escapement. The watch that was clearly inspired by the brand’s iconic “Moonwatch”, as it can be seen from the styling of the dial, is made with a power reserve that lasts 60 hours. The watch which was selected as the best “resurrection” of the iconic model costs $11,200.
Breguet Classique Dame – The Public Prize
The last among the awarded timekeepers is once again a Breguet. In this instance, it is Classiue Dame model. It is a very elegant feminine watch with a very thin profile of just 6.5 mm. The automatic watch looks really distinguished and uses the combination of guilloche sections and brilliant-cut diamonds as its decoration. The white gold watch possesses three central hands and a date display. It runs on a self-winding movement with a limited power reserve of 38 hours. The ultra-thin ladies’ watch costs $26,900.
Finally, the GPHG 2014 award ceremony also picked Walter Lange from the Saxon watchmaker A.Lange & Sohne as the winner of the Special Jury prize, envisioned as a tribute to eminent figures from the field whose engagement has considerably improved or promoted high-end watchmaking.