All the favourites (and upsets) of luxury watchmaking’s biggest night
Easing into its 20th edition this year, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve unveiled its latest crop of laureates yesterday evening. In keeping with tradition, the awards ceremony took place at the Theatre du Leman, where friends and family of all award nominees arrived in proud attendance. Master of ceremonies, French actor-producer Edouard Baer, hosted the event alongside French singer-songwriter Lou Doillon.
A total of 84 nominated timepieces and watch industry representatives competed in 19 award categories including the GPHG grand prize, Aiguille d’Or, which went to Italian luxury jewellery Bulgari this year, for its incredible work on the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar. All nominees and winners of the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve were deliberated over, and determined, by a 30-member jury which includes group managing director of The Hour Glass Singapore, Michael Tay.
Following this event, the 18 award winners and all the nominated timepieces are on display at the Musée Rath in Geneva till 14th November. And since this is the 20th anniversary of the GPHG, the exhibition also includes all previous Aiguille d’Or watches that won the award from 2001 to 2020. Next, the exhibition will be on tour, first at Dubai Watch Week from 24th to 28th November, then Paris from 2nd to 5th December.
Here are all the winners of the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
It’s not only the thinnest perpetual calendar but the lightest as well, made with a titanium case and bracelet construction. Once again, Bulgari impresses all of us with yet another world’s first from its Octo Finissimo collection.
Piaget Limelight Gala Precious Rainbow
With rainbow-hued watches being a major trend in luxury watchmaking over the past year, and with colour and gold being two key pillars of Piaget, it was no surprise that this scintillating number took home the prize.
Ladies Complication Watch
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Féerie Watch
It’s not the first time that Van Cleef & Arpels has wowed the jury in this category, so this win comes naturally to the maison, although it has also ever made far more exotic complications than this one.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Calibre 9SA5
Historically, winners of the Men’s Watch Prize exhibit grace and elegance in design, both of which this White Birch model has in spades, and thus a well-deserved win for the Japanese watchmaker amid stiff competition from the other nominees.
Men’s Complication Watch
MB&F LMX Titanium
A dual time function doesn’t sound awfully complicated but this one’s got a central flying balance wheel feeding two separate, tilted hour-minute dials, plus a world-first vertical power reserve indicator. With all its interior mechanism laid bare, it’s a work of art like no other.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin
Few watches are more iconic than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, which makes it a shoo-in for this prize, although that is not to say its fellow nominees aren’t major league players as well. The IWC Big Pilot, Zenith Chronomaster, and Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 definitely made it a difficult decision for the jury.
De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon
Loads of interesting timepieces in this category with tourbillons of all kinds orbiting every which way. But the De Bethune’s swivelling case proffering two faces and two identities must have gotten the better of the watch geeks within each of the 30 jury members.
Calendar and Astronomy Watch
Christiaan van der Klaauw CVDK Planetarium Eise Eisinga
The eclectic mix of timepieces in this category could not have been easy to deliberate over, but the jury could not go wrong awarding the prize to planetarium specialist, Christiaan van der Klaauw.
Mechanical Exception Watch
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic
This ultra-thin automatic watch beat a tourbillon with jacquemart automata, a musical grand complication that pays tribute to the film The Godfather, two astronomical table clocks, and nearly edged the Bernhard Lederer out of the game.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport
One of the most competitive categories every year, the Chronograph prize went to Zenith’s most talked-about watch of 2021. While it would be nice to see Louis Erard take the prize, we concede that Zenith absolutely deserved this win.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Skyline Blue
Diver’s watches have not gotten an awful lot of attention in the past two years, but this year’s nominees are nothing if not interesting. Our money was on the Doxa but this Louis Vuitton number didn’t look too bad either.
Chopard Flower Power
One of our favourite categories of all, the contenders this year brought out the big guns – that Hermes! – but anyone who knows the value of pink diamonds these days will see why the award was destined for Chopard.
Artistic Crafts Watch
MB&F LM SE Jaquet ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’
Another one of our favourite categories, there was certainly lots to consider among the nominees providing stiff competition to this MB&F. To award MB&F the prize is also to recognise the immense skill and poetry of the talented Eddy Jaquet.
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic
Dominating this category for several years, Tudor easily won the hearts of the jury. Our money was on the Louis Erard X Vianney Halter, although that basically reveals our weakness for brand collaborations more than anything.
CIGA Design Blue Planet
It’s always exciting to see what’s going on in this category because of all the new brands and surprising creations that turn up. Ciga Design’s win here is definitely going to earn it more fans and followers moving forward.
Horological Revelation Prize
Furlan Marri Mr Grey Ref. 1041-A
Even though it didn’t win the Challenge Prize, the jury decided that this young brand was good enough to award it a Horological Revelation.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem
Although Louis Vuitton submitted this piece for the Artistic Crafts prize, the jury thought it shouldn’t leave home without bagging the Audacity prize, which we agree is far more apt given its design, concept, and Louis Vuitton’s knack for creative outrageousness.
Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
Likewise, this watch was nominated for Mechanical Exception, but this double gear train, double remontoire watch wasn’t going home empty-handed, as the Innovation prize was perhaps more fitting for such a novel conception.
Special Jury Prize
Dubai Watch Week
The Special Jury prize is completely discretionary and lies in the hands of the jury. Organised by the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Dubai Watch Week truly deserves this special award. The event’s vision of a modern watch fair was one that collectors and enthusiasts all over the world could appreciate and indulge in their shared passion for beautiful timepieces.