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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2016 - Artistic Crafts

GPHG 2016 Artistic Crafts

The Artistic Crafts category features many sumptuous timepieces that will be judged for both their aesthetic appeal and for their implementation of the artistic techniques they showcase.

This year’s jury must once again find the right balance between rewarding the watch’s aesthetic appeal, which is subjective and largely a matter of personal taste, and their implementation of the artistic techniques they showcase. The artistic crafts in question include enamelling, lacquer, engraving, guillochage, openwork and marquetry, all of which require phenomenal skill to produce. 

The 17 watches in the Artistic Crafts category offer a wide range of materials and techniques. All of them are visually stunning. 

For Piaget, there are no half measures. The Protocole XXL Secrets & Lights Venice Micro-Mosaic is ample proof. This timepiece, which will set you back CHF 249,000, is all about the micro-mosaic skills of Italian artist Cesare Bella. This masterpiece of precision comprises five thousand tiny glass tiles juxtaposed to reveal a view of the Santa Maria della Salute basilica overlooking the mouth of Venice’s Grand Canal. It’s a feast for the eyes.

Protocole XXL « Secrets & Lights » Venise Micro-Mosaïque

Laurent Ferrier takes a more discreet approach with a hidden dial mechanism. Like a well-kept secret, this timepiece contains an ingenious micro-mechanical device which opens two opaque sapphire crystals like a fan, revealing a 240° handmade dial. The first dial is black and opaque, but behind it lies the second, hand-painted on mother-of-pearl. This particular model from the Galet Secret collection, each one of which is unique, features a depiction of a Swiss steamboat on Lake Geneva. The clever mechanism cannot fail to impress both layman and connoisseur alike.

Hublot has joined forces with leather specialist Berluti to produce the Classic Fusion Berluti Scritto. The biggest challenge lay in the dial, due to the complexity of enclosing a living material inside a sealed case. Added to that is the difficulty of ensuring a perfect match between the leather of the dial and that of the strap, which is open to the air. Just 250 are available, all with a strap skilfully carved in Venezia Scritto calf leather with lettering inspired by 18th-century calligraphy. Classic Fusion Berluti – a fusion of classical nostalgia with cutting-edge watchmaking technology. 

Classic Fusion Berluti Scritto (Hublot) - Galet Secret (Laurent Ferrier)

Hermès presents its first watch produced using the artistic craft of shaded enamel. This procedure is part engraving, part enamelling. The final design is only revealed when light passes through it, creating a three-dimensional impression. Hermès spent two years perfecting the technique for use on a watch dial. The Arceau Tigre model reflects this year’s theme “Nature at full gallop”, with a design based on an original illustration by artist Robert Dallet. This magnificent piece can be yours for just CHF 90,000.

Bulgari once again radiates Italian style with a high-colour timepiece. The LVCEA Tourbillon Il Giardino Paradiso is a fusion of the company’s jewellery and watchmaking expertise, perfectly balancing different materials and colours on the dial. The blue mother-of-pearl behind the bird of paradise provides a foil to the delicate colours of the hand-painted leaves and flowers, and the masterpiece is completed by brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial and around the bezel. The tourbillon, which provides the bird’s “perch”, blends in subtly with the rest of the timepiece.

Arceau Tigre  (Hermès) and LVCEA Tourbillon Il Giardino Paradiso (Bulgari)

This year, Bovet 1822 has entered the unique piece Conquest from its Riders of the Apocalypse collection. This timepiece, produced in collaboration with famous Russian jeweller Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, is part of the Amadeo ® Fleurier Email Grand Feu collection, which demonstrates the incredible artistic possibilities of this demanding craft. Just one of these watches is available, but it can be worn as a wristwatch, a pocketwatch, or converted into a table clock as required.

With the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked, Audemars Piguet has tackled stabilising issues by fixing a second balance wheel and balance-spring assembly on the same axis. But the watch is in the Artistic Crafts category thanks to its incredible openworked architecture, offering an unparalleled view of the movement through the sapphire dial and caseback. The watch is a fusion of art and architecture. Whether viewed from the front or back, the dancing movement provides a never-ending source of fascination for the wearer. 

« Cavalier de l’Apocalypse » Conquête (Bovet 1822) and Royal Oak Double Tourbillon Squelette (Audemars Piguet)

However, to become the proud owner of one of these marvels you will need a very healthy bank account, since the average price is around CHF 150,000. In fact, prices vary from CHF 6,035 for the Sculpture Series – Guanyin by Memorigin, to CHF 446,500 for Credor’s Fugaku Tourbillon, which is hands down the most expensive watch in the category. 

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Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry,...

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The Bovet Manufacture upholds the tradition of decorative arts applied to its delicately engraved, chased, enamelled, engine-turned or hand-painted cases, dials and movements, thus passing on the...

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Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...

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“La Montre Hermès” has adopted an epicurean philosophy that values the creation of sober, contemporary timepieces.

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From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had...

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Laurent Ferrier’s approach to watchmaking revolves around five essential characteristics that are taken into account in the development of all the brand’s timepieces.

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One hundred and forty years’ worth of uninterrupted history have allowed Piaget to forge its unique jewellery and watchmaking expertise. The Brand is a genuine Fine Watchmaking manufacture that...

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