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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
Editorial  - The Centre of the Watchmaking World

Editorial The Centre of the Watchmaking World

Geneva in November is an exciting place to be...

My dear WorldTempus family, it’s been a busy weekend, and things aren’t even close to slowing down. It all kicked off on Friday, when the inaugural edition of ReLuxury, the salon focusing on the pre-owned luxury sector began (it wraps up today). ReLuxury was established by industry doyenne and former president of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) Fabienne Lupo, who quickly realised that the pre-owned market and sustainable alternatives to traditional luxury business models would represent an increasing percentage of the industry in the coming years. 

The event has received significant support from online retailers specialising in certified pre-owned (CPO) products as well as established brands who are in line with ReLuxury’s vision of the future. WorldTempus being a media partner of the event, we were of course there to experience the first ever salon of its kind. Expert panel discussions are by now a mainstay of such events, and I was privileged to moderate two exceptionally interesting discussions — one on how to succeed in online retail and the other on the preservation of artisanal skills. 

The November auctions also began this weekend, with Antiquorum and Phillips bringing their gavels out on Saturday and Sunday, while Christie’s started their sale on Sunday and will continue today. The Sotheby’s auction comes last but not least, as they hold their Important Watches sale this Wednesday. The week of auctions in Geneva is always a hub for watch collectors worldwide, some of whom were already here to attend ReLuxury and will doubtlessly stay for the so-called Oscars of watchmaking — the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) award ceremony on Thursday evening.

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Arceau Le Temps Voyageur © Hermès

Our esteemed colleague and dear friend Deremi Ajidahun takes a seat on the GPHG jury this year, the latest (and certainly most glamorous) member of our global GMT family to serve as jurist at this prestigious event. Of course, the ceremony itself is only the culmination of months of activity, including a world tour that had its last stop in Geneva’s Musée Rath last week. Those of you in Geneva this week who haven’t yet had the chance to check out the exhibition, we warmly urge you to stop by the Musée Rath where all the competing timepieces are beautifully on display (thanks to the lord of watch vitrines Xavier Dietlin). While you’re there, why not also sign up for an introductory watchmaking session, a practical activity where you can try your hand at manipulating a watch movement under the guidance of a trained watchmaker.

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Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days © Bulgari

This year promises to be an exciting year for the GPHG, with some truly creative and innovative watches battling it out to take home the evening’s array of coveted awards. If you can’t make it to the Théâtre du Léman for the ceremony, don’t forget to tune in to our live broadcast on the evening itself, right here on the site itself as we do every year. Any guesses as to who’ll win what? Here are a few statistics for you if you prefer to make your predictions based on data and precedent.

Over the last six years (from 2017 to 2022), the brands with the greatest number of final-round competing watches at the GPHG have been Bulgari (25), Audemars Piguet (17), Hermès (17), Van Cleef & Arpels (17), Chopard (16) and Piaget (16). 

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Code 11.59 b By Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked © Audemars Piguet

During that same period, the brands with the most wins are Bulgari (6), Van Cleef & Arpels (6), Audemars Piguet (4), Tudor (4), Vacheron Constantin (4) and Voutilainen (4). These figures do not take 2022 into account for obvious reasons. 

Taking a more targeted approach, we can also look at the brands with the greatest ratio of winning watches in relation to their final-round competing watches (2017–2021). While there are brands that have a 100 per cent win rate, these are without exception brands who won in the single year that they had a final-round competing watch. For example, Furlan Marri, the young brand who competed for the first time in 2021 and received the Horological Revelation prize. Aside from those brands, we’re looking at brands such as Voutilainen, with four prizes averaged among seven competing watches, giving a winning average of 57 per cent. 

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Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier Watch © Van Cleef & Arpels

Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, with two wins out of three competing watches, has an even more impressive win average of 66.6 per cent. I’ve limited our analysis to the last five years of GPHG wins, but if we had just taken 2016 into account as well, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud would have an even more astounding 75 per cent win rate, since the brand took home the 2016 Aiguille d’Or. Van Cleef & Arpels had 12 watches in competition between 2017 and 2021, winning six times, for a 50 per cent win rate, tying with Tudor (also with 50 per cent). 

MB&F have had eight watches in competition between 2017 and 2021, winning three times, though if you count their 2020 collaboration with H. Moser & Cie., the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon that won the Audacity prize, those figures go up to nine competing watches and four wins (44.4 per cent), tying with Vacheron Constantin (also with a winning average of 44.4 per cent between 2017 and 2021). 

Does this tell us anything about the possible winners on Thursday night? Maybe, or maybe not. Statistics may be informative, but they can also be misleading. In our humble opinion, that’s what makes the evening so exciting. Anything could happen. Anyone could win. 

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

7 November 2022
Luc PettAvIno
very detailed and interesting, as usual, dear suzanne. Best…LUc pettavino / only watch

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