Please join our Quill & Pad round table discussion on Baselworld 2015 as we discuss mood, trends, and timepieces we liked and didn’t like so much. The participants of this discussion are: Ian Skellern, Elizabeth Doerr, Boris Pjanic, Nancy Olson, Louis Nardin (editor-in-chief The Watches TV), and Benjamin Clymer (executive editor Hodinkee).
As the SIHH celebrated its 25th anniversary, other milestones were also taking place. IWC celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser, Vacheron Constantin celebrates its 260th anniversary, and A. Lange & Söhne respects the 200th anniversary of founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange with models including the amazing Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.
In this final round table discussion, my Quill & Pad colleagues Ian, Joshua, Gary and I discuss the amazing night that was. I am glad to talk about this incredible event and provide a few behind-the-scenes insights. Being on the jury for the third time in a row this year, I knew what to expect and could relax enough to enjoy the discussions and preparations.
Now we get to the real nitty-gritty at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.: the Aiguille d’Or. There are no ifs, and or buts any more, just a decision on which of the 72 pre-selected watches is the best overall timepiece of the year. It is the most prestigious of the awards given.
Which could be our panel’s favorite to win? The Margot by Christophe Claret? Urwerk EMC? Perhaps the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon? Or will it be something else entirely?
The Petite Aiguille category is for watches under 8,000 Swiss francs (approx $8,500). The contenders are Bell & Ross BR03-92 Ceramic Black Matte, Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono, Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase, Seiko Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 GMT, TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Chronographe “Racing,” and the Zenith El Primero Synopsis.
The Sports watch category has always been one of the most hotly contested prizes because these are the watches that many people actually wear. Our pre-selected contenders in the Sports category this year are: the Bell & Ross BR126 Vintage Sport Heritage GMT Flyback, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback, the Aerofusion Chronograph Pelé by Hublot, Tissot’s T-Touch Expert Solar, the Tudor Heritage Ranger, and the El Primero Lightweight by Zenith.
Contendors in the Artistic Crafts category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève are: Chanel’s Coromandel Twin Volute Enchantée, Precious Watch Attrape-Moi… Si Tu M’aimes by Chaumet, Greubel Forsey’s Art Piece 1, Arceau Millefiori by Hermès, Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute Relief Saisons and Hisui by Kari Voutilainen. Which of these exceptional works of art would you choose in this category if you were on the jury?
According to the GPHG’s rules, these are watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewelry and gemsetting, which is also distinguished by the choice of stones. The contendors are: Bulgari’s Diva High Jewellery Emeralds, Lion Mosaique by Chanel, Green Carpet Collection Watch by Chopard, Graff’s Multi-Colored Butterfly watch, the Ultimate Emerald Signature by Harry Winston and Arceau Temari by Hermès.
Just look at the contenders in this heavyweight Tourbillon division: Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique, Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon, Montblanc Villeret ExoTourbillon Rattrapante, TAG Heuer Carrera MikroPendulum Tourbillon, and the Blancpain Villeret 12-Day One-Minute Flying Tourbillon. Our panel just managed to reach a majority decision, but it was a close race.
The complications are getting ever more difficult and chiming watches are really at the crossroads of art and craft. Pre-selected in the Striking category are the Hublot Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon Minute Repeater, Claude Meylan La Répétition 5, Urban Jürgensen & Sønner Tourbillon Minute Repeater Regulator, Christophe Claret Soprano, Bulgari Ammiraglio Del Tempo, and Breguet Classique La Musicale.