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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2016 - Mechanical exception

GPHG 2016 Mechanical exception

We close our overview of the categories in the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève today with an introduction to the watches entered for the Mechanical Exception award.

The first thing we can be sure of is that, unlike last year, the winner will not be an automaton, since there are none among the 16 entrants. The jury will therefore be required to choose a winner on the basis of the other criteria for this category, namely a special mechanism, an acoustic function, belt-driven movement, innovative display or exceptional horological concept.

Taking a look at the chiming watches in contention, the 1948 For Him Réveil by Eterna will struggle to compete with the three models submitted by heavyweights ArtyA, Audemars Piguet and Bulgari. Even the name of the ArtyA Minute Repeater with 3 Gongs, Regulator and Double Axis Tourbillon is practically a concert programme in its own right, and the watch offers an original display, innovation (with a gong that lets the wearer know that the minute repeater is activated) and a complex mechanism in the form of a tourbillon that rotates on two axes.


The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie has exceptional acoustic properties as a result of three patented innovations. Because the hammers occupy their own space within the movement, which acts as a mini-resonance chamber, its crystal-clear chime of up to 4000 Hz can be heard several metres away (LINK). The titanium case frames a black openworked dial revealing the manually-wound manufacture calibre 2937 with tourbillon. The fourth striking watch in the category is the slimmest minute repeater on the market. Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, with a titanium case just 6.85 mm thick (the BVL Calibre 362 takes up 3.12 mm of that depth), also boasts outstanding sound quality, enhanced by the titanium case and the cutout hour markers on the dial, which are designed to amplify the resonance inside the case.

The Montre Monsieur is equipped with Chanel’s first haute horlogerie manufacture movement. It has an original display with instantaneous jumping hours, small seconds and retrograde minutes sharing the silvered opaline dial in an elegant inverted pyramid configuration. Louis Vuitton’s Escale Spin Time introduces an innovative approach, incorporating the well-known Spin Time mechanism into an Escale case decorated with miniature painting. The hour cubes are painted with colourful geometric designs, giving the dial a different look with each hour that passes.


MCT’s S2010 goes in the opposite direction stylistically, with a serious, technical look enhanced by the dark titanium case that focuses attention on the oversized hour numerals displayed on five rotating rectangular prisms. Minutes are indicated by a single blued hand. HYT’s new H2 Tradition also features blued hands, but the iconic hydromechanical fluid that marks off the hours takes pride of place in a piece that combines traditional haute horlogerie finishes with 21st century technology.


Piaget scores points for the special mechanism within the Emperador Coussin XL 700P, a hybrid watch whose mechanical movement powers a high-frequency quartz generator to ensure high precision.


Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud and Zenith present the only two candidates equipped with a tourbillon coupled with a fusée-and-chain mechanism. The former’s FB-T.FC calibre has an impressive 1120 components. Its innovative features include a low-frequency tourbillon with central seconds and a suspended fusée-and-chain transmission. The Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 is COSC-certified and stuffed with horological hi-tech, despite having the somewhat retro styling of a marine chronometer. The Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot by Zenith does away with a dial to expose the exceptional mechanical El Primero 4805 movement at its heart, with the tourbillon at 6 o’clock and the fusée-and-chain transmission stretched between half-past ten and half-past one. The wearer can also keep an eye on the 50-hour power reserve located between four and five o’clock on the dial.


Finally, the complication champion, with moon phase, jumping hours, retrograde minutes, second time zone, world time, power reserve and tourbillon, is Bovet’s Recital 18 Shooting Star Tourbillon, which also boasts a poetic and innovative display. Universal time is read off a miniature hemisphere with blue oceans, which is mirrored at 9 o’clock by a second delicately engraved rotating hemisphere showing the phases of the moon. The manually-wound movement with 120-hour power reserve is the subject of two patents and, in time-honoured Bovet tradition, its components are entirely hand-engraved.

gphg-exceptions-mecaniques-bovet-Recital-18 Shooting-Star-Tourbillon

All the entrants in the Mechanical Exception category of the GPHG

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ArtyA is an independent brand that encapsulates the creativity and free spirit of its founder Yvan Arpa. Complicated, atypical, sometimes rebellious, always innovative, ArtyA’s horological style...

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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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Through her life, Gabrielle Chanel embodied strength, character and a fierce desire for independence. Maison CHANEL, avant-garde and constantly innovative, has come down through the decades to...

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Accuracy, reliability and elegant discretion have been bringing life to Eterna Eterna watches for nearly 160 years.

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Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud offers a contemporary take on the work of a master watchmaker. Its exclusive timepieces, developed by today’s master watchmakers, are a tribute to the excellence...

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The pioneers of “fluidic time” have become specialists in something that had long been thought impossible: combining mechanics and fluids in a wristwatch.

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Twenty years ago, Louis Vuitton boldly ventured into the world of watchmaking with the unveiling of the Tambour watch. Since, the Maison has dreamt up a growing collection of innovative timepieces...

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MCT watches combine audacious design with an avant-garde technical approach. Using movements developed and manufactured entirely in-house, MCT has a contemporary vision of time and a respect for...

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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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Ever since it was founded, Zenith has been cultivating the ability to open up new horizons by assisting with some of the most remarkable human achievements.

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