GPHG Jury Member Carson Chan On The Contenders Deserving Of Praise
The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) is an annual tradition that the entire watchmaking world looks forward to—and with good reason. It is at the GPHG that we see the best watches of the year—from both technical and aesthetic points of view—and the crème de la crème are duly recognised for the excellence.
Over the years, I have been involved with the GPHG, often referred to as the Academy Awards of watchmaking, helping to organise local events, but the 2018 edition was a particularly special one for me. I was honoured to participate as a jury member. It was an incredible experience, being able to see all these exceptional watches in one place and to bounce opinions around with fellow
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At the end of our deliberations, the jury chose an impressive roster of winners in the 15 categories, plus the grand prize, the Aiguille d’Or, which went to the Bovet 1822 Récital 22 Grand Récital, and the Special Jury Prize, which went to Jean-Claude Biver, chairman of Hublot and Zenith.
The winning watches have had their fair share of attention, as they should, but I’d like to talk about a few noteworthy timepieces that didn’t quite make it in their respective categories but are deserving of praise.
The Endeavour Flying Hours is H Moser & Cie’s first attempt at creating an unconventional time-telling piece. It uses the star wheel system to display time. I like this watch because it is one of the very few on the market bold enough to go without any logo or brand identity on the timepiece.
2/6Men's Complication Category
Krayon’s Everywhere Horizon is a very special timepiece. The sunrise/sunset function has been around for over 100 years but this is the first time someone—the brilliant young watchmaker Rémi Maillat, the founder of Krayon—figured out a way to execute the function without having to preset a geographical location.
This means you can adjust and set any given location and enjoy the function. Sounds simple? Not in the least, given that the Earth rotates at an angle, and then around the sun in an elliptical shape on the dial.
The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition takes a traditional chronograph and presents it in a modern, contemporary way. The watch is limited to just 100 pieces and comes in a steel case combined with a beautiful green fumé dial.
What I feel is most outstanding about this watch is the level of finishing on the movement. You must use a good-quality loupe to enjoy the movement—it’s like looking at a painting. Its layout follows a very traditional Minerva style but the finishing is phenomenal.
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This category focuses on accuracy, which is why almost all entries are tourbillons. As well as the winning De Bethune piece, it’s worth taking a look at Ulysse Nardin’s Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel. Aesthetically, the watch is state of the art, but the centre of attention must be the movement.
It features the brand’s Anchor escapement, a pioneering technology that replaces the traditional Swiss lever escapement system using metal or synthetic rubies with Ulysse Nardin’s signature low-friction silicium.
5/6Mechanical Exception Category
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon literally took my breath away. The watch is so thin. It’s a miracle they can fit everything into such a small space. The traditional material for a minute repeater is metal of a relatively low density for good acoustic effect.
This watch, however, uses carbon fibre, a sound-absorbing material, but the sound is very sweet and has great warmth. I was pleasantly surprised.
Take a look at the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Dynamique. It features the same base movement as the Singer watch—developed and manufactured by Agenhor, a small independent movement maker in Geneva renowned for its advanced engineering. The Visionnaire Chronographe features a new movement that’s simply amazing. It’s both beautiful to look at and technically advanced.
The winding system is automatic but uses a peripheral rotor so as not to obstruct an admirer’s view of the movement. It also features a revolutionary clutch system that combines the benefits of both the traditional horizontal clutch and the more modern vertical clutch. They call it the AgenClutch. This watch is a must for any chronograph collector.
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