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 Men’s category are: MB&F’s anniversary HMX, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square, Kari Voutilainen’s beautifully finished Voutilainen GMR, the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone, and Piaget’s Altiplano 900P, currently the thinnest mechanical watch in the world.
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.
In the early 1990s, I was facing the same dilemma as today: should I buy modern or vintage? The problem was that the modern watches actually all looked vintage, right down to the sizes. There was something lacking, and watch shopping at times almost felt like perusing the yogurt section in a Soviet supermarket.
I’m obviously exaggerating here, but in general it seemed to me that creativity was more or less an afterthought.
Enter Vianney Halter in 1998 with the Antiqua Perpetual. And then what happened next: the birth of ICH (“independent creative horology”).
When you think of fantasy and science fiction, what do you think of? I sometimes allow my imagination to drift into the paranormal and early twentieth-century years of discovery. This is the world that inspired the creation of Frank Buchwald’s latest creation for the M.A.D. Gallery, which is, of course, the Nixie Machine, a fantabulous clock featuring rare and giant Nixie tubes produced in the 1960s by the state-owned RFT in East Germany. I can imagine this clock in a variety of fictional settings from the worlds of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and even Isaac Asimov.
There are an unusually large number of design awards, but not one of them holds a candle to the Red Dot, which is inarguably the most famous and important of them.
The Red Dot awards prizes for design in a multitude of categories, from refrigerators to lawn mowers and everything in between. These prizes are also awarded on many levels, e.g. Best of the Best, Honorable Mention, etc.
However, until the 2015 edition of the competition, there has never been a dedicated watch category.
Two of the watches in 2015 received the highest honor of Best of the Best: Horological Machine 6 Space Pirate by MB&F and the Apple Watch.
MB&F celebrates its tenth anniversary as an independent Swiss watch manufacturer known for the marvelous Horological Machines and Legacy Machines, which most of us mere mortals otherwise know as HMs and LMs. Now MB&F has come up with a rather cool-looking retro watch to celebrate this tenth anniversary: HMX.
On a recent visit to MB&F’s very interesting M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva, I found myself fascinated by the sight of some unusual critters. Even though they are not animated and don’t breathe, they seemed like nothing less than real creatures. Meet the insectile sculptures made by Paul Swan Topen, Gaby Wormann, and Christopher Conte. And, don’t worry, there’s no need to be scared of them. They’re not alive. But I’d leave the covers on . . . just in case.
MB&F’s Legacy Machines are the avant-garde brand’s take on traditional complications. With the limited-edition LM101 Frost, MB&F has added a new string to the brand’s traditional bow, which until now had been strung with reinterpretations of traditional complications and mechanisms: finish.
First presented in 2009, HM3 went on to become not only MB&F’s most successful model in terms of pieces delivered, it is also the most successful in terms of the number of variations it has spawned, including the appropriately named Frog. However, all good things must come to an end, and the curtain comes down on HM3 collection with HM3 Megawind Final Edition, a watch bringing (lume) light into the darkness.
For the past five years, I’ve had the delightful experience of traveling to Switzerland with several friends to experience SIHH week, before finishing up with a Friday night dinner at which we review our impressions of the week by answering what watch we thought was best of show at SIHH; what was the worst watch; what current-production watch that we saw at any event during the week would we buy if money were no object; and what current-production watch did we see that we would buy with our own money?