GTE Superwatch Revealed
The first annual GTE Superwatch award was handed out last night at Geneva's CIGC. Courageous independent Frédéric Jouvenot's efforts will now be well compensated.
WORLDTEMPUS - 18 January 2011
Louis Nardin, translation Elizabeth Lilly Doerr
Last night at Geneva's CIGC, the anticipation was so palpable you could have cut it with a knife. At least 400 people had crowded into main throughway of the small fair to chat, drink Laurent Perrier champagne, and listen to the results of the eagerly anticipated premiere of the GTE Superwatch award.
The transparent voting process was accomplished with a great deal of effort by a jury comprising several noted names in horology: Worldtempus's own English content manager Elizabeth Doerr; creative behind-the-scenes watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor; Professor of Design at Berlin's University of Arts Axel Kufus; head of Sotheby's watch department Geoffroy Ader; Mohammed A.M. Seddiqi of important Middle Eastern retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons; and master of ceremonies and editor-in-chief of Plaza Watch – as well as one of the initiators of the new competition – Anders Modig. The jury voted by awarding points from 1 to 10 in three subjects: technology, design, and avant-garde. Naturally, judging the 27 entrants seemed at times like comparing apples to oranges, which made the categorical point system an important point of reference for weighting these significan characteristics of a good watch on its way to becoming a modern classic. And, in this case, the start of a dazzling career.Gathering on the small stage, Modig and GTE organizer Vimol Studer announced third place: Heritage Watch Manufactory's Karsten Fraessdorf was visibly moved and later excitedly explained that he considered the placement a complete victory for his new brand's complicated in-house constant force movement with its solidly classic case and dial design created by star designer Eric Giroud.
Second place and an honorable mention went to newcomer Ressence. Belgian industrial designer Benoît Mintiens succeeded in creating a modern classic based on an ETA 2824 movement with an extremely clean yet highly innovative rotating dial display.
The main prize of the evening was awarded to Frédéric Jouvenot by GTE's founders and organizers for his reinterpretation of the jump hour theme based on a solar vision of time. The highly innovative hour display of the Helios Solar Deity sees its hour markers changing color from black to yellow and back depending on the time of day or night. The imaginative mechanics based on a Concepto movement completely justify Jouvenot's claim to the title: the flawlessly inspired mechanics combined with ingenious design and more than a touch of the novel and avant-garde made this the evening's Superwatch.
After the ceremony, Jouvenot's sales manager Thibault van Deuren candidly revealed that the watchmaker – who had completed a mystery tourbillon among other complications by the age of 27 – had almost given up the fight for competent independence just one year previous. Naturally, winning such an award should provide enough motivation for the three-year-old company to continue – and the prizes valued at about 50,000 euros, including a free booth at next year's GTE and advertising in Plaza Watch, certainly won't hurt.