While this category in the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève is called “Mechanical Exception,” it could well be titled “exceptionally difficult to pick a winner.” And that’s because of the incredible selection of exceptional watches to choose from: Urwerk EMC, Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater, TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon, MB&F Legacy Machine No. 2, Hublot, MP-05 LaFerrari, and Andreas Strehler Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle.
About Ian Skellern
I am the co-founder and technical editor of Quill & Pad. I am also a Swiss-based independent journalist specializing in high-end watches and founder of ‘underthedial’, a digital communication agency focusing on independent brands. I am also the author of ‘Hands of Time,’ a book celebrating the 25th anniversary of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants).
Entries by Ian Skellern
The pre-selected Calendar watches in the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève are as varied as they are superb: the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna, Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar, Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium, Breguet Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel, Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar and the Jaquet Droz Perpetual Calendar Eclipse Ivory Enamel. Which would you choose?
Our panel picks their favorite chronographs from those pre-selected in the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. There is a very strong line-up of chronographs this year: Montblanc TimeWalker 100 Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, Chopard L.U.C. 1963, Tudor Fastrider Black Shield, Zenith El Primero 410 and the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon.
Here’s what our panel thinks of the Men’s watches pre-selelected for the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: Breguet Classique Chronométrie, Urban Jürgensen & Sønner Central Second, MB&F LM 101, Tudor Heritage Black Bay, Omega Seamaster 300, and the Bulgari Octo Finissimo. This category only allows men’s watches that do not have extra complications.
The Ladies High-Mech category is for “women’s watches that are remarkable in terms of their mechanical creativity and complexity.” The key words here being “mechanical creativity and complexity.” Our panel believes there is going to be a landslide and for good reason: nothing holds a candle to a certain highly complicated timepiece created for ladies.
The watches in the Ladies category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève can only feature two of the following functions at most: date, power reserve, classic moon phase, and a second time zone. The watches may be adorned with a maximum of 5 carats of gemstones.
Let’s get one thing straight: Urwerk’s EMC Black is not a pretty watch and it’s not meant to be, it’s a proof-of-concept instrument. And a very good instrument at that, one that is not only extremely precise, but is the world’s first watch capable of measuring its own precision without external tools or meters.
Around 1995, the founder of the modern Urban Jürgensen & Sønner brand, Peter Baumberger (1940-2010), went into partnership with the then-independent movement manufacture Lémania to develop a minute repeater tourbillon movement. This project was finished in 2000; however, very few of these movements were ever made by Lémania, but Baumberger received three, each with different indications and finishes. One was a regulator.
When Romain Gauthier presented his Logical One at Baselworld 2013, I wasn’t the only one impressed: it was awarded the prestigious prize for best Men’s Complication at the 2013 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève thanks to its quadruple patent-pending constant force and much more.
Many watches hold a special significance for their owners. The watch I am chronicling here didn’t just change someone’s life, it changed MY life: the Jean Daniel Nicolas Two-Minute Tourbillon by Daniel Roth.