The best watches from Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève

By Tempus | 28 Jan 2022 | Style, Design

Tempus celebrates contemporary watchmaking with this round-up of prize-winning timepieces

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Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) unveiled its 2021 prize list of award-winning timepieces on 4 November. The foundation honoured contemporary watchmaking excellence in a prestigious ceremony in Geneva, with 19 winners chosen by a 30-member jury headed by Nick Foulkes.

Historian and journalist Foulkes is an international authority in the field of horology, and is the author of Patek Philippe: the Authorised Biography. “It is an incredible honour to be invited to lead this year’s GPHG Jury and continue the remarkable work of Aurel Bacs, my predecessor in this role,” he said. “It is both a privilege and pleasure to work alongside leading figures drawn from the many different sectors of watchmaking community. At what might – with understatement – be called an interesting time for the watch industry, the role of the GPHG in highlighting and rewarding horological excellence is more relevant than ever.”

The most significant distinction for best in show – the Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix – was awarded to Bulgari for its Octo Finissimo watch. MB&F (whose LMX Titanium is pictured), Audemars Piguet, Bernhard Lederer, Chopard, Christiaan Van Der Klaauw, CIGA Design, De Bethune, Furlan Marri, Grand Seiko, Louis Vuitton, Piaget, Tudor, Van Cleef & Arpels and Zenith were among the brands saluted by the jury in other categories, while Dubai Watch Week was rewarded with a Special Jury Prize for its influence on the watchmaking scene.

Here, we take a look at some of the most significant timepieces of 2021...

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“AIGUILLE D’OR” GRAND PRIX | BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO PERPETUAL CALENDAR

The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar broke the ultra-thin and ultra-complicated watch world records for the seventh consecutive year. Bulgari’s best in show timepiece features indications of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month and retrograde leap year. With a power reserve of 60 hours, a sandblasted titanium case, dial, crown and bracelet, the watch is a phenomenal 5.80mm thin.

bulgari.com

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LADIES’ WATCH PRIZE | PIAGET LIMELIGHT GALA PRECIOUS RAINBOW

The first of two awards scooped by Piaget (whose Altiplano Ultimate Automatic won the Mechanical Exception Watch Prize), the Limelight Gala Precious Rainbow is a re-interpretation of a vintage piece from 1973. It features an elegant pink-gold case and delicate bracelet accentuated by a bezel set with a rainbow of dazzling brilliant-cut sapphires and coloured tsavorite.

piaget.com

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MEN’S WATCH PRIZE | GRAND SEIKO HI-BEAT 36000 80 HOURS

The Hi-beat 36000 80 Hours watch is powered by Grand Seiko’s revolutionary Caliber 9SA5, released in 2020 for the brand’s 60th anniversary. Its subtly textured, Zaratsu- polished dial is inspired by the white birch tree forests of northern Japan – near the brand’s studio in Shizukuishi – and finished with bold hands and prominent markers ensuring perfect legibility. A brand new escapement increases efficiency while the free-sprung balance retains precision and is resistant to shock and friction.

grand-seiko.com

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MEN’S COMPLICATION WATCH PRIZE | MB&F LMX TITANIUM

Celebrating 10 years of Legacy Machines, the MB&F LMX Titanium is a stunning, statement timepiece that challenges the shape and space of horology. The LMX features the brand’s vertical power reserve, central flying balance wheel and double dials of stretched white lacquer, each with its own display of hours and minutes but tilted at a complex angle. Inside the spherical encasement, functional details are clearly visible, including the escapement bridge, gear-train components and wheels – including a new bespoke balance wheel at the heart of the LMX.

mbandf.com

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LADIES’ COMPLICATION WATCH PRIZE | VAN CLEEF & ARPELS LADY FÉERIE WATCH

This new addition to Van Cleef & Arpels’ Féerie collection features a dreamlike diamond fairy in a sapphire and diamond gown, marking the passage of time with her wand against a guilloché mother-of-pearl dial. Her wings are created using plique-à-jour and grisaille enamel – the first time the maison has combined these techniques. Just 33mm in diameter, the dial features a date window and a diamond bezel to complete the enchantment.

vancleefarpels.com

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CALENDAR AND ASTRONOMY WATCH PRIZE | CHRISTIAAN VAN DER KLAAUW CVDK PLANETARIUM EISE EISINGA

Astronomical watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw’s unique art piece CVDK Planetarium Eise Eisinga is inspired by the 1781 genius who built a planetarium in his living room. The timepiece is the world’s smallest mechanical heliocentric planetarium, displaying real-time solar orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The micro-oil hand-painted dial – with hand-painted planets orbiting a golden sun at 6 o’clock and date marker at 12 o’clock – is designed to mimic the wooden planetarium ceiling at the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium Museum. Truly unique.

klaauw.com

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AUDACITY PRIZE | LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR CARPE DIEM

A 21st-century jacquemart watch, this statement timepiece by Louis Vuitton is inspired by the brand’s special orders for private clients. The Tambour Carpe Diem combines striking art with humour and drama. Press a push-piece to bring the dial’s miniature scene to life, as the snake and skull indicate the time with a 16-second performance. The watch features a jumping hour, retrograde minute, power reserve display, and mechanism for four automata. To finish, the timepiece features enamelling by Anita Porchet and engraving by Dick Steenman.

uk.louisvuitton.com