2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie De Genève (GPHG) Gets Underway – With Two Quill & Pad Editors On Jury
The first news from the 2018 edition of the “Oscars of watchmaking” – the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – have arrived, and overall it’s very positive.
First off, there is new president Raymond Loretan, who replaces longtime president Carlo Lamprecht, who retired at the end of 2017. Loretan, a bilingual politician and diplomat, has also been president of the Swiss public broadcasting corporation and currently sits on the boards of several Swiss corporations. I look forward to what this dynamic leader can bring to the competition.
One change already implemented under Loretan is the addition of two new prizes and the modification of other categories, beginning with the inaugural Challenge Watch Prize. This honors the best watch under 4,000 Swiss francs, a more hotly contested segment of the market than the other haute horlogerie-focused categories. Even micro brands have a great chance of emerging victorious in the Challenge Watch Prize.
The Petite Aiguille, which until now has honored the best watch under 8,000 Swiss francs, remains one of the categories, but the price range has been changed to between CHF 4,000 and CHF 10,000. This is also a hotly contested market price segment, which could well provide entertaining and interesting results.
The “Tourbillon” category has been replaced with the “Chronometry” category, which includes watches comprising at least one tourbillon and/or a special escapement with the goal of improving chronometry.
The jury already had several prizes at its discretion aside from the official categories, which may or may not be awarded as deemed necessary. These include the Revival Prize, the Innovation Prize, and the Special Jury Prize.
Added to those for 2018 is the Audacity Prize, which rewards a non-conformist, offbeat approach to watchmaking. The prize is intended to “foster creative audacity.”
2018 Grand Prix jury includes two members of the Quill & Pad’s team
Ludwig Oechslin has stepped down as jury commissioner after many years in this position. His successor here is simultaneously his successor as curator of the Musée International d’Horlogerie, Régis Huguenin-Dumittan.
Phillips auctioneer Aurel Bacs remains president of the jury (his vote counts double in the case of a tie), while FHH trainer Gianfranco Ritschel returns as vice-president of the jury for a second year – a move I heavily applaud. There is hardly a more level-headed and knowledgeable person in our industry.
The jury has now been extended to 30 individuals, and I am very satisfied with the balanced proportions of gender, nationality, function, and knowledge level represented therein.
We are honored here at Quill & Pad to have two members of our core editorial team on the jury in 2018: in addition to my seventh turn in the jury, our GaryG has been nominated to serve. I look forward to many spirited conversations coming our way!
Unfortunately, though, this does mean he won’t be taking part in our usual round table discussions (just as I haven’t been doing) in the run-up to the big night.
The jury also includes several famous and excellent watchmakers: Rebecca Struthers (the watch world’s lone PhD in horology); Sébastian Chaulmontet (previously of Arnold & Son/Angelus/La Joux-Perret); Philippe Dufour; Franҫois-Paul Journe; and Masaki Kanazawa of the MIH.
What would a recent GPHG jury be without a few celebrities adding a bit of spice to the proceedings too? This year, tennis professional Gaël Monfils returns to the jury, a knowledgeable and personable collector of very fine timepieces. He is joined by Swiss actor and film director Vincent Perez, a quadrilingual artist who has starred in numerous European and Hollywood productions.
Brands must enter watches into the competition; the 72 shortlisted timepieces will be announced on September 1, 2018. The awards ceremony announcing the winners will take place on November 9.
For our reflections on the 2017 edition, please see What We Liked And What We Didn’t Like At The 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie De Genève, Plus How Well Our Panel’s Forecasts Did.
The complete list of all watches competing in the 2018 edition will be available online as of July 16, 2018 at www.gphg.org/horlogerie/en/gphg-2018/competing-watches.