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Editorial - What is it like on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève jury?

Editorial What is it like on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève jury?

My experience as a new GPHG jury member

I have been watching the GPHG from the comfy red velvet auditorium chairs for 17 years now, first in Geneva’s Grand Theatre and now at the Theatre du Leman, so when I received a phone call from the GPHG President, Nick Foulkes, to join his team of GPHG watch experts, my heart literally skipped a beat.

This euphoria was quickly followed by a feeling of fear and trepidation when I discovered the list of other experts that counted some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. This feeling was then exacerbated by a troll on Instagram, questioning my place in the line-up, but I guess that’s the price of horological stardom!

Jury proceedings started last Monday morning at 8:30am when we were all invited to Geneva’s Rath Museum to view the timepieces. Seated at one of five tables, each group had time to examine and try on all the watches in the 14 categories and discuss and deliberate who deserved to win. At the end of each session, the jury members cast their votes secretly and handed their ballot paper directly to the notary, so no one had any idea who the winner could possibly be at this stage. And even if we were to have an idea of which watch was creating some excitement on our own table, it was impossible to hear the others.

What is it like on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève jury?

The jury and the winners © GPHG

One thing that really struck me during the voting process was how different my decisions were based on seeing the watches in person. As a member of the GPHG Academy, I had already cast my votes digitally, and I noted that some timepieces that had looked quite uninteresting on-screen were now really catching my eye, reminding me how important a physical jury is.  

When it came to voting for the Aiguille d’Or, Audacity, Innovation, and Special Jury prizes, all jury members were free to present their ideas and the conversation was animated with numerous suggestions, making this decision one of the hardest. So many brands and personalities truly deserved these prizes, I could have voted for them all.

10 hours and 84 watches later, our votes were cast. All that was left to do was to crash diet for three days in order to fit into my favorite cocktail dress that was feeling considerably tighter than the last time I wore it in 2019!

The big night itself was everything it appears to be from the spectator side, albeit with a large dose of nerves thrown in for good measure. Even when you have just a couple of words to say – in my case, this was “And the winner is … Piaget” – getting up on stage in front of 1,326 people was quite the experience, but it was also an honor and a privilege to represent this industry and its people who I love and respect so much.

So my sincere thanks go to Nick Foulkes, the GPHG organizers, Chopard (for the beautiful jewels and watch), and all my WorldTempus colleagues (especially Suzanne Wong for showing me the ropes and doing my hair!) It was a moment I will treasure forever. 

The other big news this week was the much-awaited Only Watch charity auction which took place this weekend at Geneva's Palexpo. It took three-and-a-half hours for Christie’s to auction the 53 unique pieces, raising a total of CHF 30 million for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. One hundred million Swiss francs have now been raised to date and researchers are about to begin clinical trials into a new drug that could be a real game changer for young people with the disease. Discover the industry’s reactions on Instagram highlights @worldtempus.

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