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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2015 - Round Table: Petite Aiguille

GPHG 2015 Round Table: Petite Aiguille

The WorldTempus editorial team played a round of "my favourite watch". There were a couple of surprises...

Paul O’Neil, Editor-in-chief
For me, the Petite Aiguille category should be the most down-to-earth one and the one in which I expect to find watches that are the most accessible to the watch-buying public, even if those closer to the upper price limit of 8,000 francs may be beyond the reach of many people (let’s not forget that at this price point we are in entry-level Rolex territory and the competition is therefore severe). What surprises me, therefore, is that all but one of the finalists in this category are simple three-hand watches. Elegant, yes; understated and classical, by all means… but Frédérique Constant offers all this and more in its horological smartwatch, which failed to make the cut.
The choice is therefore less about my favourite affordable watch and more about my favourite simple three-hand watch. With this in mind, it has to be the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium.

Round Table: Petite Aiguille

The watch combines the classic three-hand look of a watch with innovative materials, an equally innovative construction and – the most innovative feature of all – the unique Bulgari Vault feature that allows the watch to be used as a key to access (via an app on your smartphone, of course) all your sensitive information from a secure vault hidden somewhere in the Swiss Alps. The fact that this James Bond-style gadget costs a quite acceptable 5,000 Swiss francs (or 4,000 francs without the security feature), makes it the clear winner for me. But Montblanc’s original Orbis Terrarum, which offers a world time complication at 5,400 Swiss francs, is a worthy runner-up.

Michèle Brunner
The six finalists in this category do not reflect the diversity seen in the 18 watches entered. For example, half of the pre-selected watches are notable for the slenderness –Habring2’s Felix, the Hermès Slim and the Zenith Elite 6150 – and share similar designs, whereas an innovation such as the Horological Smartwatch from Frédérique Constant deserved to reach the second stage, since it offers an interesting alternative (which is now represented by the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium).
With a category based on the price of the watches, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to choose the model that offers the best value for money. In which case, the case material, functions, complications and brand prestige would have to be considered. But the prices double from the cheapest (the Tudor North Flag at 3,500 Swiss francs) to the most expensive (the Zenith Elite 6150, 7,500 Swiss francs), so an objective comparison is difficult.

Round Table: Petite Aiguille

In all subjectivity, my absolute favourite is the Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum. Its world time complication, governed by an in-house self-winding movement, combines the function of a day/night disc and the ability to see the time in 24 different time zones with the elegance of the map of the northern hemisphere in the centre of the dial. There is also a playful element with the fact that the continents change colour according to whether it is night or day. It’s a magnificent timepiece with a practical complication for the reasonable price of 5,400 Swiss francs.

Camille Gendre
If somebody gave me 8,000 Swiss francs to spend on a watch my choice would definitely be a classic model with timeless styling that I could wear for any occasion. With this in mind, two of the six finalists in the Petite Aiguille category grabbed my attention.

Round Table: Petite Aiguille

With its great elegance, the Slim d’Hermès gets down to the basics: sober lines, a refined case, a large dial opening, an in-house extra-thin movement. It's a timepiece of extreme simplicity born of an encounter between Hermès and graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, who devised the original typeface for the hour numerals. The light strokes of the figures complete the highly sober dial.
My other favourite is the Zenith Elite 6150. I like the understated design and the elegance of its pebble-shaped case. This timepiece takes its name from the new calibre that the brand launched at Baselworld 2015 which offers a generous power reserve of 100 hours.

Vote for your favourite watch in the Petite Aiguille category in our readers' poll.

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