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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2017 - Travel Time Category

GPHG 2017 Travel Time Category

The six models pre-selected by the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2017 could hardly be more diverse.

Every week until the awards ceremony of the 2017 GPHG on 8 November, the WorldTempus editorial team will bring you a breakdown of the jury’s selection in one of the twelve categories. As editor-in-chief of GMT Magazine, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a closer look at the watches in the Travel Time Category. Half of these watches have already been profiled in the magazine, which shows that the jury members have good taste – and that they are open-minded! Niche brands, accessible luxury brands and big group brands reflect the diversity of the watch industry. Cases in steel, carbon, gold and titanium ensure a wide range of materials, but the variety of dials is even more astonishing, providing perhaps the broadest stylistic panorama in any of the categories. From avant-garde to classical, with high-tech, sporty, modern and innovative displays, the 26 jury members will certainly have plenty to discuss, and the refereeing skills of the President of the jury, Aurel Bacs, will no doubt come in useful. 

LVMH in pole position

The two brands from the world’s top luxury group enjoy the clear advantages of a global marketing campaign and strong brand image. Louis Vuitton and Hublot are familiar faces at the GPHG, but LV has so far missed out on any tangible reward for its perseverance or its watchmaking creativity, whereas Hublot has won prizes for the last three years. The winning streak could work in favour of the Big Bang Unico GMT, which has a great deal to offer. It has a strong and original aesthetic, along with a patented manufacture movement. The eminently practical second time zone is activated by two pushers, one each side of the crown: pressing on the top pusher moves the time forward one hour, while the lower pusher moves it back one hour. The home time zone is indicated by the arrow-shaped hand correlated to the day/night disc. It’s the height of simplicity.  

Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT

Big Bang Unico GMT © Hublot

The radically innovative display of the Escale Time Zone Blue by Louis Vuitton, perfected in 2015 by the company’s own Fabrique du Temps, shows the time in 24 different cities simultaneously by means of a central 24-hour disc that can be adjusted from the crown, simply by setting the reference time alongside the chosen city. The triangular pointer and small hand in the centre of the dial show the local time in the usual way. For this 2017 version, with its predominantly blue colour scheme, every dial is hand-painted and therefore unique.


Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone Blue

Escale Time Zone Blue © Louis Vuitton


Neo-classicism: a safe bet

While Frédérique Constant has been a regular at the GPHG for many years, fielding a number of watches that have been in contention for awards, Parmigiani Fleurier is making a comeback after an absence of several years. The unique feature of the Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde, inspired by the first watch created by Michel Parmigiani in 1996, is that its second time zone can be set to the nearest minute, a feature that comes into its own for those time zones with a quarter- or half-hour difference from the Greenwich meridian. Both the second time zone at 12 o’clock and the main display have their own dedicated day-night indication. The automatic manufacture movement has a double barrel, which also powers an instant retrograde calendar. The new watch is not just a celebration of the company heritage; its practicality and aesthetic qualities make it a strong contender in this category. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Hemisphères Retrograde

Toric Hemisphères Retrograde © Parmigiani Fleurier

Frédérique Constant’s Classic WorldTimer Manufacture also has plenty going for it. For 30 years, Frédérique Constant has remained faithful to the principle of accessible luxury; accordingly, this elegant gold-plated watch, which shows the time in 24 cities around the world thanks to its manufacture movement, is available for a little over 3,000 Swiss francs. Its ingenious adjustment system via the crown ensures that its sleek and elegant lines remain undisturbed by either pushers or correctors. A day/night indicator and calendar at 6 o’clock complete the range of practical functions, and blend in perfectly with the chocolate-coloured dial.

Frédérique Constant Classic WorldTimer Manufacture

Classic WorldTimer Manufacture © Frédérique Constant

The minimalist niche

The old saying that worth is not measured in years applies to both Czapek Genève and Manufacture Royale, two young brands that were both selected last year.  These timepieces are targeted at collectors with an eye for contemporary haute horlogerie. They both play the modern minimalist card while paying tribute to traditional craftsmanship. This certainly applies to the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu “Ici et Ailleurs” by Czapek, a brand whose origins strongly inform the DNA of this new design. François Czapek opened one of the very first watchmaking shops on the Place Vendôme. This helps to explain the visual contrast between the fleur de lys hands in blue gold and grand feu enamel of the upper dial – both signature features of Czapek watches – and the modern design of the registers lower down (time zone, day/night indicator), even the architecture of the suspended bridge. Another sophisticated and understated touch is the hidden pusher inside the crown guard for adjusting the time. The Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu is the first Czapek watch with a tourbillon.

Czapek Place Vendome Tourbillon

Place Vendome Tourbillon © Czapek


Not an easy choice. And this is only the first of twelve categories that the GPHG jury will have to debate, in addition to the special prizes. Join us for more, every week until 8 November.

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Czapek & Cie. harks back to the origins of one of the watch industry’s most prestigious names, which was born from the watchmaking skills of two Polish émigrés who sought refuge in Switzerland...

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Frédérique Constant has made a successful business out of offering affordable luxury, experiencing growth rates well above the industry average. The owners have a clear mission to make fine...

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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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True to its founding spirit, Louis Vuitton makes watches that combine excellence, innovation and originality for the benefit of people who love travel and adventure. The watchmakers of La Fabrique...

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One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.

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