The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2023 (GPHG), the latest iteration of Geneva's biggest annual prizegiving, got underway last night (9 November). It is the year's only official watch award ceremony, where innovation and high-end horology take centre stage, putting the haute in horology.
This year, the categories were filled with lesser-known independents, sans industry giants Rolex and Patek Philippe. But when the entries offered such an extraordinary amount of hand-crafted complexity in each piece, we didn’t mind. Enjoy the wrist art of our favourite category winners.
Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2023: our pick of the winners
Men’s Complication – Vuotilainen World Timer
Gender marketing is thankfully disappearing, and even this traditional industry knows that many men’s watches will be worn on ladies’ wrists, and we get it. The 39x39mm cushion-cased winner by Kari Voutilainen is a great example, framed in medium-sized angular monochrome. With a hand-engraved guilloché dial and intense blue details, it’s an evocative ode to world travel.
Ladies’ Complication – Dior Montres Grand Soir Automate Etroile de Monsieur Dior
We love the flamboyantly decorated Grand Soir Automate de Monsieur Dior. A delicately hand-painted dial transports us to a star-studded night sky over Paris –diamonds and mechanically animated shooting stars gleaming – set in a pavé diamond-set case with a yellow gold bezel.
Tourbillon – Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit
This year’s prize for tourbillon-sporting wristwear goes to the salmon-pink titanium-cased Grand Sport. The fact that the category winner was the only one that didn’t flaunt the twirling wonder of its tourbillon within its dial says a lot about the power of understatement. Geneva’s slimmest, sharpest set of indices and spear hands are juxtaposed to a broad-shouldered 44mm case. An obsessively finished Laurent Ferrier, with an integrated bracelet, the 2023 choice du jour will stand out in any crowd.
Petite Aiguille – Christopher Ward Bel Canto
Even with an evening of artisanal wonders and gemset complexities, there’s a lot of charm in the Petite Aiguille award, awarded to affordable watches from CHF4,000 and CHF10,000 (roughly equivalent in euros). And for the first time, there is a British winner, the much-lauded Christopher Ward Bel Canto. Within its fascinating open-worked complexity is a visible sonnerie complication, chiming a melodious note to mark each hour.
Jewellery – Bulgari Serpenti Cleopatra
To call it a watch would be the wildly understating its five intricately glittering rows of diamond-and rhomboid-shaped links, inspired by the jewellery of Cleopatra. This Serpenti cuff has little to do with actual timekeeping but is about Bulgari’s heritage in Haute Gioallerie. Dazzled by its myriad gems and snow-set diamonds totalling 147 carats, you’ll find a tiny two-handed dial under a polished sky-blue stone. Within the classic shape of a broad 18ct pink gold cuff, the patterns created by the reflected light seem worthy of every one of its nearly one million Swiss Francs, the asking price.
Aiguille d’Or – Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 Ultra-Complication Universelle
It’s all in the long name, and it’s a fitting bookend to the rein of AP’s CEO Francois-Henry Benahmmias. The Aiguille d’Or was the final award of the evening at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2023, for the best watch across all categories, and we’re in awe of this mechanical tour de force. Its dial covers an unfathomable 1,000 parts and 40 functions, including a flying tourbillon. This is the most complicated watch ever produced by Audemars Piguet, and Francois-Henry’s fitting swansong as its successful, and last night very emotional, CEO.
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