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Editorial - A Question Of Choice

Editorial A Question Of Choice

The first official round of voting by the GPHG Academy is now closed

Watch the ceremony

By the time you read this, the final selection of watches for the 2020 edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) will have been confirmed.

From late May until the beginning of June, the GPHG Academy was able to nominate the watches that they felt were deserving of recognition in the various categories of the competition. Brands were then invited to formally enter the watches that had been nominated by the Academy. In addition to this, brands were also able to submit their own creations for consideration, in much the same way as they did in previous years. When the nominations were all in and vetted for eligibility, they constituted a total of 226 watches over 12 categories.

These watches come from 122 brands, with some brands — both established and new ones — participating for the first time. All 354 active members of the Academy will have voted according to their preferences, selecting six watches per category to make up a pool of 84 finalists. Some categories, such as Ladies’ Complication and Calendar & Astronomy, are quite straightforward, with only seven watches in contention. As difficult as some may find it to knock out even one nominee, other categories (such as the Men’s and Challenge categories, with over 30 nominees each) may require intense scrutiny and some research.

As a watch journalist, I’m lucky to be surrounded by new releases and updates all the time, but you can imagine that Academy members who have less daily contact with watches will be dedicating at least a few days each to discovering and evaluating the competing watches. Not only do we have to select our final six choices in each category, we have to order our choices, with our first choice receiving six points, our second choice receiving five points, our third choice receiving four points, and so on and so forth. Determining the finalists is not simply a matter of seeing which six watches received the most votes — there is a points system in place that provides a more nuanced view of what the Academy thinks, as a whole.

The final round of voting will come in November, with the majority weight of the decision made by a Jury to be selected by the GPHG committee, but the Academy still has a role to play. The remaining Academy members, who are not on the Jury, will vote on a secure digital platform, with their votes counting for a lighter proportion of the final award decision. This ensures that all 354 Academy members will have contributed to the winners of the 2020 edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

"This is the 20th edition of the GPHG, so I feel a certain closeness to it as GMT celebrates its 20th anniversary this year," says Brice Lechevalier (Executive Director of GMT Publishing, member of the GPHG Academy). "The GPHG has undertaken an important development in its history by creating the GPHG Academy, which takes into account the interests and remarks of the entire watchmaking industry, an initiative that is to be welcomed. In this very special year, the watch industry needs more than ever to come together around high points and to send a cohesive image to the public. The GPHG is part of these unifying values that put watches first and it is a duty as well as a pleasure to support it in this approach as a member of the jury of the GPHG Academy, and to select 6 watches in the 12 categories. The choices are sometimes Cornelian, even to give the highest mark between two candidate watches which both seem exceptional to me."

Keep an eye out for the finalists, to be announced on 15 September. Have you made your choice?