Watches and Wonders 2023 ran from Monday, March 27 to Saturday, April 1 at Palexpo in Geneva and was open to the public on the 1st and 2nd of April. It attracted a record 43,000 visitors! That’s nearly double last year’s 22,000 visitors, largely thanks to the opening up of China and Asian countries after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Quill & Pad team was there, and we sat down after the show to discuss what we liked and didn’t like about the 2023 fair.
The last couple of GPHGs were hit by COVID, but the 2022 GPHG was finally again an event and a party as it should be! Tout le monde was in Geneva, celebrating watchmaking at its finest. Here are our thoughts on the winners and how well we did at predicting them.
The GPHG Aiguille d’Or is always one of the most difficult prizes to predict, not only because all the watches entered are free to be chosen from, but also because so many are so good. The watch needs to be exceptional to win and it might even be a clock. What does our panel choose?
Finally! After years of discussion that clocks should have a place, and some instances of clocks being included in categories that made little sense in 2021, the GPHG has created a category just for mechanical clocks. And, boy, what a complete smorgasbord of mechanical ingenuity! But what to choose?
Watches under 3,500 Swiss francs . . . now it gets interesting. And the competition gets even fiercer. This is the first horological category in which every one of the finalists deserves a place here, and any of them could win. So what did our peanut gallery pick?
Two regulators, a chronograph, a Spring Drive classic, a new steel sports watch with a twist on the seconds, and a Nixie tube watch: this is what our peanut gallery must choose a winner from in the Petite Aiguille category, finding the best value under CHF 10,000. A tall order!
The 2022 GPHG Artistic Crafts finalists include some unique pieces, some small series pieces, and one comparatively large-volume piece (of 100 examples) by a bigger producer. All are beautiful and rare in their decorations, which include guilloche, engraving, enamel work, miniature painting, wood marquetry, gem setting, and Japanese lacquer work. So how did our peanut gallery vote?
We finally arrive at the 2022 GPHG Jewellery category, which is often the most varied in opinion as there is such wide room for taste. Seen among the competing watches are a couple familiar faces, a few bold choices, and even a wild card that might have gotten lost while carrying a pouch full of diamonds through a particle accelerator. What does our peanut gallery think? It’s divided.
What a pleasure to find a majority of real diver’s watches in the GPHG shortlist this year. While they can be worn without any worries behind the desk, as they most likely will be in 99.99 percent of cases, they are also up for some serious diving. Here is what our peanut gallery had to say about the nominees.
Is the chronograph still everybody’s favorite complication? The brands most certainly think so as a vast number are introduced each year. An the six that are nominated in this category represent the cream of the crop, though our peanut gallery thinks only two are real contenders.