The end of the year is the time to summarize the most important horological achievements. Among other prestigious selections of top watches (with GPHG certainly being the most relevant), the results of the awards by the juries of the biggest watch shows in Germany and Austria have recently been presented as well. Both partnering events, Munich Time and Vienna Time, have acclaimed the most impressive timepieces in six categories: Discrete Charm, Best Luxury Ladies’, Classic Elegance, Sport Dynamics, Small Complication and the most important one named Big Complication. The choice of winners at both exhibitions was fairly similar. Juries of both shows awarded Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon as the best watch in the main category, while A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Auf/Ab was also picked twice as the runner-up. As for the third place in the competition for the most significant prize, jury in Munich opted for Chopard L.U.C. Lunar One, while the Austrian jury selected IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Piece.
Even though both of the shows were held in November, the winners of the prizes for best timepieces have become known in late December. Both events are the largest watch exhibition in its respective countries, and are held in venues of more than 1,400 meters. The show in Vienna is the one with a longer tradition, and it has been organized annually ever since 1996 in the patronage of the specialized “Die Presse” magazine. The partnering show in Munich had its fifth edition this year. Since the German event came first chronologically, let us start with the awarded watches in each of six categories at the watch show in Munich.
The first award section named Discrete Charm acclaims the best timepiece with the value under 10,000 euros (nearly $13,200). As it turned out, the jury of the watch show in Bavarian capital chose recently presented Nomos Glashütte Orion 33 Rose. This elegant ladies timekeeper has an understated galvanized and silver-plated pink-colored dial with a small seconds counter at the bottom. Its face which includes gold-plated hands is guarded with a domed sapphire crystal. Nomos Glashütte Orion 33 Rose is fitted into a three-part stainless steel housing (32.8mm wide and 8.54mm thick) with an exhibition case back and paired with a beige velour strap. The beating heart of the timekeeper with the most pronounced discrete charm is Alpha manufacture caliber. This movement is hand-wound and made with 17 jewels, Incablock shock protection and a power reserve of 43 hours. Its price is a bit shy of $1,900.
The runner-up in this section is yet another timekeeper by a German brand – Erwin Sattler Regulateur Classica Segunda Medium. It is a timekeeper based on another model by Erwin Sattler which is in this instance presented in a reduced size and with the diameter scaled down from 44mm to 38mm. Regulateur Classica Segunda Medium timepiece by the brand from the outskirts of Munich features manually wound ES 02 caliber with a dead beat seconds complication (where the second hand moves in increments of one second) which enables a very interesting manner of the time display. Indications of minutes, seconds and hours are separated. The central hand indicates minutes, while the hours and seconds are shown on subsidiary dials. Housed in a stainless steel case with a transparent case back, and equipped with a movement with a power reserve of 42 hours, this model is priced around $1,800.
The third place in the section of discrete timekeepers was awarded to Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic timekeeper that we have previously written about.
Best Luxury Ladies’ Watches
As far as the luxury timepieces for ladies section is concerned, the triumphant piece was Arnold & Son HMS Lady. It is truly a magnificent watch by the renowned British brand which has been producing high-end timepieces ever since the mid 18th century. On the surface, this watch combines an elegant cream colored dial with golden faceted hands and indexes and a slick rose gold casing with the diameter of 34mm which includes a diamond-studded bezel. Arnold & Son HMS Lady sports a small seconds counter on the bottom of its face and functions thanks to its exceptional manually-wound A&S 1101 caliber with 17 jewels. The movement is extraordinary thin with the featured thickness of just 2.5mm and it features lovely Haute Horlogerie finishing with hand-engraved bridges, English-style floral motif and blued screws. This limited edition timekeeper comes with a honey or a red alligator leather attachment and features the price of around $23,000.
As the jury of the Munich fair decided, the second best timekeeper in the section of luxurious women’s products is Audemars Piguet Lady Royal Oak. It is a lavish looking and highly decorated quartz timekeeper with a date display. Set in an 18-carat pink gold case (33 mm wide and 7mm thick), the watch sports a “Grande Tapisserie” pattern on its sapphire guarded face, as well as a set of 40 brilliant-cut diamonds (the approximate weight of 0.71 ct.). Its quartz caliber with 7 jewels operates at the frequency of 32768 Hz and has a battery that lasts for around 39 months. Quite unusually for an elegant ladies timekeeper with opulent decorations and the price of around $23,000, the product by Audemars Piguet has a comfortable white rubber band with a pink gold folding clasp.
The bronze medalist in this section is another ultra-thin timekeeper: Zenith Heritage Star Moonphase watch. As it is hinted in the name of this timekeeper, it provides a moonphase indication at the six o’clock position. Besides, the supported functions involve a small seconds display at the left portion of the face of the timepiece. The watch is fitted into a 37mm wide and 10.6mm thick gem-set stainless steel housing of unusual cushion shape and it comes with an oversized sapphire cabochon crown. A silver colored dial with blue Roman numerals is guarded beneath a cambered sapphire crystal with glare-proof treatment. The beating heart of the timekeeper is Elite 692 movement with the thickness of 3.97mm. It is a self-winding caliber with 27 jewels and a power reserve of 50 hours. Regarding the decorations, it has an oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern. The timekeeper available in another version with a steel case is water resistant to 30 meters and costs a bit less than $22,000.
The laureate in the Classic Elegance section in Munich was A.Lange & Sohne Grand Lange 1 timekeeper. It is an enlarged version of Lange 1 model, this time with the diameter of 40.9mm and the thickness of 8.8mm (available in pink gold, yellow gold and platinum). Beneath a sapphire crystal, it sports a solid silver face with an off-centered dial which shows hours and minutes, a separate small seconds counter, an oversized date display, as well as a power reserve indication. Even though its caliber is just 4.7mm thick, it has a larger single barrel with a longer mainspring, which enables the power storage that lasts for 72 hours. The hand-winding caliber of the watch oscillates at the frequency of 3 Hz. As far as the price is concerned, the timekeeper by the Saxon brand costs nearly $41,000.
The list of thin timekeepers which were awarded continues with the second best timepiece in Classic Elegance category – Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche. This timekeeper is distinguished by a power reserve display in the upper left section of the dial and a pointer type date indication. It runs on a self-winding JLC caliber 938 with 41 jewels which consists of 273 components. Fitted into a round steel housing, the automatic movement has a power storage one hour shy of two days. The JLC product with a silvered sunray dial has rhodium-plated hour markers and a black alligator leather strap, while its price measures to about $10,000.
As the jury in Munich decided, the third best watch with classical elegance is Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic watch. The timekeeper in a steel case (39mm wide and 8mm thick) with a transparent back and “Grande Tappiserie” patterned deep blue face runs on automatic Calibre 2121 movement with 36 jewels which oscillates at the frequency of 2.75 Hz. The self-winding mechanical movement with 247 parts has a power reserve of 40 hours. If you want to become the owner of this timekeeper, you will have to pay around $21,400.
Juries at both Munich in Vienna fairs also selected the best sport timekeepers of 2012. As it was decided at the most important German watch fair, the best timepiece of this kind is Panerai 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic Ceramica, first presented at the start of the year at SIHH show. The first major horological event of the year was also the place where public first saw the second best watch in this section – IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar watch, while the third placed product in this category – TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 had its unveiling at this year’s edition of Baselworld fair.
The winner of the Small Complication Award is yet another product made by Nomos Glashutte. This time, it is Tangomat GMT piece. Once again, it is a watch with a circular steel case (40mm wide and 10.85mm thick) and a sapphire crystal at the front and case back. Its galvanized white silver-plated dial features a second time zone, a date display, as well as a 24-hour scale indication. The driving force of the watch by the Saxon company is another in-house movement – Xi self-winding caliber with 26 jewels and power storage of 42 hours. Paired with a Horween Shell Cordovan black strap, this product is available at the price of around $4,050.
The runner-up in this category is Baume & Mercier Capeland Flyback Chronograph timekeeper, another watch which had its premiere at SIHH show. Right behind the product with the value of around $7,850 is the watch with the much steeper price of about $37,000 – Girard-Perregaux 1966 Annual Calendar and Equation of Time. This black-faced watch in a pink gold case has the diameter of 40mm and the thickness of 10.72mm, and it features a highly intricate complication of questionable usefulness – the equation of time. This model by the Swiss watchmaker from La Chaux-de-Fonds has a self-winding GP03300-0010 caliber with 44 jewels. This automatic movement oscillates at the frequency of 28,800 vph and provides a power reserve that lasts nearly two days (46 hours).
As it has been mentioned, the winner in the main selection is Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon. Certainly, one of the most impressive watches of the year, this timekeeper with a multi-axis tourbillon which was likewise unveiled at SIHH is the highest valued of all awarded pieces with the very steep price of around $265,000.
The second placed timekeeper in the main competition, A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down timekeeper, was also presented at the first horological event in Geneva. The bronze medalist, Chopard L.U.C Lunar One, on the other hand, had its premiere at Baselworld show, as we have previously reported.
The choice of the jury of ViennaTime event for the best timepiece in the Discrete Charm section matches the one of the judges from the Munich event. The 1st prize in the category went once more to Nomos Glashutte Orion 33 Rose. The second place was taken by German-made Junghans Max Bill Damen (Ladies) Gold piece with a minimalistic design. It is a timekeeper constructed with a 32.7mm wide gold case and a convex hard Plexiglas crystal with sicarlan coating and a polished calfskin strap. Inside its case, there is a quartz caliber 3643.29. Made in a limited series of 222 copies, the watch by the Stuttgart brand costs about $5,750.
As the third best watch in this section, ViennaTime show acclaimed Chronoswiss Kairos Lady. It is likewise a timekeeper with a sober and clean design, fitted into a round case made from 21 parts which can be constructed from red gold or steel. It has a peculiar looking bezel which can optionally be decorated with diamonds. Another visually appealing characteristic is its solid sterling dial with a guilloche pattern, paired with Breguet-styled blued or white steel hands. The watch by the Luzern watchmaker runs on a self-winding ETA 2000-1 caliber and has the price of $12,530.
Luxury Watches for Women
Once again, the winner of the prize in the following section of luxury timekeepers for ladies is Arnold & Son HMS Lady, just like at the MunichTime show. As the second best product in this category, the judges picked Hermes Arceau Ecuyère timepiece with an interesting upper lugs in the shape of a stirrup. This automatic watch with a manufacture H912 caliber was also on the shortlist for the best ladies’ watch at GPHG 2012 awards. It is a true embodiment of high-class and carefully dozed luxury, which is quite visible when one looks at its mother-of-pearl face with a radiating pattern.
The similar distinguished style is featured in the third placed Zenith Star Moonphase timekeeper, a part of the Star series that we first wrote about in August. The lavish timekeeper by Zenith thus won the third place in this category at both events.
The matching tastes of two juries can likewise be seen in the choice of the winner of the prize for the Classic Elegance. Just as it was the case in Munich, the award went to A.Lange & Sohne Grosse Lange 1 timekeeper. Still, there are differences in the choice of the second and the third best product. The second place in Vienna was taken by Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle watch with a self-winding movement. This timekeeper is among the latest in the Patrimony collection and undoubtedly the one with the most subdued design. The timekeeper without any unnecessary visual elements is fitted into a round 41mm wide pink gold case with an exhibition case back. This trait allows its wearer to see the functioning of its Reference 1120 caliber with 36 jewels and 144 parts. Oscillating at the lower frequency of 2.75 Hz (19,800 vph), the caliber with the Hallmark of Geneva includes a power reserve of 40 hours, while its sole functions are hours and minutes. Its price matches the quality of the construction – this watch by Vacheron Constantin has the value of around $37,000.
The third best timepiece in this category was another product by the German brand Junghans. This time, it is Meister Handautzug (or hand-winding in English) timekeeper with a small seconds counter at the bottom of the dial. Fitted into a PVD coated 37mm wide round steel case with a mineral back, the face of the timekeeper with a sober design is Plexiglas with sicralan coating, as it is customary for the products of the German brand. The watch with in-house J815.5 movement has a considerable lower price than the two previous models – it costs around $1,400.
The choice of the best sport watches is also quite similar for both watch shows. IWC Pilot’s Chronograph Top Gun Miramar which was the second best in Munich was acclaimed as the most impressive in Vienna, too. Similarly, the first choice in Munich, Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic Ceramica was the third best sport timekeeper of the ViennaTime show. The biggest difference in the selection is the presence of Breitling Chronomat GMT 44 timekeeper at the second place in the selection of the Austrian event’s judges.
Furthermore, the matching preferences of two juries can be displayed with the choice of the winner of the Small Complication award – once again, the prize went to Nomos Glashutte Tangomat GMT. The runner-up in Austria is another timepiece by Breitling. This time, it is Transocean Chronograph Unitime. As the third best watch in this selection, the Austrian jury picked Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante (jumping hour) Pink Gold timepiece, the product that combines simplicity and originality. This watch displays the current time in a peculiar manner: it has a single blued central hand which is used to show minutes, while the hours can be seen in the aperture located at the top of the silver opaline face. The dial also includes a power reserve display at the bottom with inscriptions in German. This interesting watch with a self-winding movement has the price of around $25,000.
The winner and the runner-up in the main category of ViennaTime show are identical to the awarded timepieces in Munich. As the jury chose, the best watch of the show is JLC Duometre Spherotourbillon. Right behind the winner is A. Lange Datograph Auf/Ab watch. As for the third-placed piece, the judges of the biggest watch show in Austria picked IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun.