Welcome to the 2015 edition of Quill & Pad’s early Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) predictions in which we pick our favorites and explain why. The six pre-selected finalists in the Ladies category are: Delaneau’s Rondo 42 Peony, the in-house Ulysse Nardin Jade, Hublot’s Big Bang Broderie, the Piaget Limelight Gala, the all-new Audemars Piguet Millenary, and the wonderfully crafted and priced Hermès Arceau Petite Lune with diamonds.
The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) has just published the list of 2015’s pre-selected watches in the run-up to the big red carpet event in Geneva on October 29. The pre-selected watches will go on a world tour that includes stops in Hong Kong, Seoul, Dubai, Geneva, and London in October and November. But enough preamble, let’s have a look at the watches that are now in serious contention to take home big prizes this year.
La Montre Hermès announced its brand-new core collection called Slim d’Hermès at Baselworld 2015, which was an instant hit with critics and collectors alike. At the very same time this creative company co-announced a limited edition of 12 pieces decorated using a special artistic technique found in Japan. Called Koma Kurabe, the edition honors Kamo Kurabe Uma, a famous Japanese horse race. A talented Japanese artisan graces the elegant new timepieces with porcelain dials that reproduce scenes of the horse race that still takes place once a year in the spring when the picturesque cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Yup, I would wear a women’s watch. The Arceau Temari is Hermès’ incredible take on embroidered Japanese temari balls combined with hard stone marquetry and diamond snow setting. The result, clearly, is a mesmerizing visual feast!
When I entered the office of Laurent Dordet, the new CEO of La Montre Hermès, I was singularly impressed by the down-to-earth attitude of a man who has worked within Hermès structure for two decades – his most recent position had been in leather, Hermès’ stock-in-trade. Dordet seems genuinely happy to be active in this new field, which he had taken over just weeks before Baselworld 2015 started. My impression was that he was also perhaps a tad surprised by what he’s found there.
Philippe Delhotal, creative director of La Montre Hermès, looked a bit apprehensive as he pulled out his new line to show me. He hadn’t had much feedback from anyone outside La Montre Hermès yet, and he was probably more than curious to know what others would think. Still, he needn’t have worried. The Slim d’Hermès is . . . well, really so Hermès; the perfect synthesis of the things that Hermès does so well. Which means that it is by no means ordinary and beyond perfect in every detail while remaining eminently wearable.
Almost as whimsical as the Hermès Arceau Le Temps Suspendu (“Suspended Time”), which won the prize for best men’s watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2011, the Dressage L’Heure Masquée “veils” time instead of hiding it like Le Temps Suspendu. An interesting GMT module plays temporal hide-and-seek as the wearer dictates by pushing the button integrated into the crown.
You may be familiar with the old Christmas diddy “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.” Let me sing you the final verse of this song, including what my true love gave to me on the twelfth and final day, in horological terms…
Quill & Pad speaks with Guillaume de Seynes, member of the Hermès family and now managing director in charge of manufacturing and equity investments, to understand the brand’s corporate philosophies and history in watches a little better. De Seynes, previously in charge of the timepiece division, was the force behind supplier acquisitions such as the group’s stake in movement maker Vaucher.
SalonQP isn’t simply a watch exhibition: it’s a watch exhibition inside an art gallery (the Saatchi Gallery), a setting that both the defines and enriches the brands and watches on display. And Hermès, very cleverly and very creatively, especially attracted visitors’ attention at SalonQP.