The 2021 edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) has just published its list of shortlisted (“nominated”) watches in the runup to the eagerly anticipated red-carpet event in Geneva on November 4, 2021. Ian Skellern shares all of the finalist watches in each category here. Let us know your favorites!
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
You may have heard of a few or more of the following historical people and events: Thomas Mudge, George Graham, John Harrison, the Longitude Prize, Captain James Cook, and the mutiny on the ‘HMS Bounty.’ However, you are less likely to have heard the name of a horologist who played a pivotal role in all of the above: Larcum Kendall (1719–1790). Come with me on a worldwide adventure involving timekeeping and history.
I know of only three watchmakers making watches completely (no CNC machines) by hand today: Greubel Forsey with its Hand Made 1 and Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey, who are hand-making watches they call l’Instant de Vérité under the umbrella of their own micro brand Oscillon. And what a watch this is!
The second edition of Geneva Watch Days (August 30 through September 3, 2021) is upon the Quill & Pad team, and among the many brands Ian has looked forward to catching up with is one of his all-time favorites: De Bethune. Here are six watches the brand has recently released as seen through Ian’s lens, including the brand’s unique Only Watch 2021 piece.
While the last 18 months have wreaked havoc on the big (and not so big) watch fairs – and everything else – there have been two rays of horological sunshine in the last couple of years: in November 2019 (just months before COVID-19 hit) the biannual Dubai Watch Week took place, which was bigger and better than ever. And then in August 2020 the inaugural Geneva Watch Days was held during a lull in the pandemic and it was superb. Here Ian Skellern explains why these two fairs have become his favorites.
Philippe Dufour’s daughter Daniela has now completed her formal watchmaker studies and has begun working with her famous independent watchmaker father. Notably, she just completed her first new-generation Simplicity.
Big brands are now making beautiful, reliable, and relatively accurate “traditional” mechanical watches, but the handcrafted work many of us value is disappearing. Highly skilled watchmakers and artisans are rare and expensive: there just aren’t enough of them available to churn out the large quantity of nice watches now being sold. And why bother when nobody seems to have noticed?
Ian Skellern came up with a solution that would not only eliminate flipping but would also decimate the gray market. Or at least it would significantly minimize them. Might it work?
Ian Skellern generally likes relatively restrained, traditional, high-end watches that are not too big for his small wrists. So with its large, high case, blingy, spinning “LOOK AT ME!” rotor on top, and mass-market Miyota movement, the M.A.D.1 ticks all of the boxes on his “may be interesting, but not for me” list. Here he explains why he bought one anyway and his first impressions.
The short documentary film ‘Time Piece’ features two of the world’s best living watchmakers, Philippe Dufour and Vianney Halter, and provides excellent insight into what makes the watches by these masters so special.