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GPHG - Grand prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2015 - Round table: Aiguille d'Or

GPHG 2015 Round table: Aiguille d'Or

Our series of round tables concludes today with our in-house team’s thoughts on which watch should or might win the coveted Aiguille d’Or. Opinions are very divided...

Paul O’Neil – Editor in chief WorldTempus
After racking our brains to make the difficult choice of just one watch in each of the twelve categories in this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, you start to sympathise with the members of the jury when you are faced with the even more difficult task of choosing a winner for the Aiguille d’Or, the “Golden Hand” category that is the equivalent of “Best Picture” in this ceremony that is widely considered the “Oscars of Watchmaking”.
At this point it’s worth recalling Rule 5.7 in the GPHG rules, since the most coveted prize is the subject of a separate secret ballot by the jury based on a shortlist of three to five watches. Our in-house team have missed out the shortlist, assuming that the watch should logically be one of our favourites from the individual categories. In this case, of course, our eventual choice would subsequently be excluded from the vote in its individual category and replaced by the watch with the second most votes if it had won that category.

My final choice was split between several watches but the winner of the Aiguille d’Or needs to have that extra special something. The candidate that rises head and shoulders above the others for me is the Bovet Braveheart® Tourbillon. It’s a watch that you can just sit admiring for ages, completely forgetting that you are supposed to try it for size. The transparency and the unbelievably high level of finishing are decoration are astounding but the piece truly comes alive when you plunge into its heart. This is best done with one of the watchmaking specialists from the brand (which is probably not beyond the realms of possibility if you have the kind of money needed to acquire one) to truly appreciate the innovation that has gone into this watch, which is supported by six new patents. If I have to pick only one watch that deserves the accolade of “watch of the year”, then this is it.

Bovet Braveheart

Camille Gendre - WorldTempus
The Aiguille d’Or is the supreme distinction at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Awarded by a jury consisting of the most eminent collectors and watch journalists, this prize is the most coveted in the world of watchmaking. So the question is according to which criteria do the jury vote for the best watch of the year? Design, technical innovation, performance, personal appreciation, aesthetics etc. The criteria are as diverse and varied as the 72 finalists in the competition this year.
I will therefore let my subjectivity guide me and choose the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater by A. Lange & Söhne, a watch that combines technical prowess with creative force. The brand goes much beyond a « simple » minute repeater by presented a decimal repeater. Specifically, this means that the hours and minutes are chimed decimally, which corresponds with the display on the dial. I like the sober and pure design of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, which makes it a classic with a timeless style. Last but not least, and this is just my personal opinion, I think it would be great for an international brand to win the Aiguille d’Or. To date, the only non-Swiss brand to have won the Holy Grail of watchmaking was… A. Lange & Söhne with its Lange Zeitwerk en 2009.

a-lange-sohne-zeitwerk-repetition-a-minutes.jpg

Michèle Brunner - WorldTempus
Innovative watchmaking, tradition, technology, know-how, design… all these ingredients that go into an exceptional timepiece should guide the decisions of the judges in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2015 when they vote for the Aiguille d’Or. But it would be too simple if just one watch or a small handful of them met all these conditions! Unfortunately for the jury which has the responsibility of making the “right” decision, and fortunately for the good health of the Swiss and global watch industries, worthy candidates are crowding at the gates. It would be easier to find a (golden) watch hand in a haystack…
The watch that deserves the prize more than any other for me – given that I prefer the smallest –is the Piaget Altiplano 900P.
It merges innovatively the case and the movement, with the caseback serving as the mainplate of the manually-wound movement with its 48-hour power reserve. The quest for ultimate slenderness – the watch is just 3.65mm thick – dictated all choices and all technical and aesthetic solutions for the Altiplano 900P: bridges on the dial side, suspended barrel, hands below the bridges, off-centre hours and minutes, and of course slimming down all components in the watch as much as possible, meaning that some wheels are just 0.12mm thick. The design is splendid, with the roundness of the case and the subdial for the hours mirroring the visible gear train, and the grey and black tones giving the watch great distinction.

piaget-altiplano-900p.jpg

 

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