Source: GPHG

So Who Won at the 2015 Oscars of Watchmaking?

The 2015 GPHG is over, and these are the winners.

Thursday evening in Geneva, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards were held in the city’s Grand Théâtre. These are the Oscars of fine watchmaking. The nominees were announced in July, and then we got a shortlist in September, but now the waiting is over. According to a jury of 26 watchmakers, journalists, and industry experts, these are the best watches of 2015.

Aiguille d’Or (Grand Prize): Greubel Forsey’s Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision

This incredible tourbillon is the 2015 watch of the year.
This incredible tourbillon is the 2015 watch of the year.
Source: GPHG

No surprises here. It wasn’t a shoo-in, but there’s no question Greubel Forsey is making some of the best watches on the planet right now. This is probably the most wearable model the company has made to date. It was one of my favorites at SIHH back in January, and I’m still impressed every time I see it. Bravo.

Artistic Crafts: Blancpain’s Villeret Cadran Shakudo

The design on the dial is achieved entirely through engraving.
The design on the dial is achieved entirely through engraving.
Source: GPHG

Most of the watches in this category are creations you wouldn’t want to wear on a daily basis but might want to encounter in a gallery. This Villeret Cadran Shakudo is right in line with that aesthetic, and the multicolored, multilayered engraving on the dial is unlike anything else you can find in a wristwatch.

Calendar: Hermès’s Slim d’Hermès QP

A perpetual calendar with dual time zones and great design is tough to beat.
A perpetual calendar with dual time zones and great design is tough to beat.
Source: GPHG

This watch wowed journalists and collectors when it was unveiled in March, and I would’ve been shocked had it not taken this category. The combination of a perpetual calendar, a second time zone, a beautiful moon phase, and custom art deco numerals make this a watch you can’t help but want to wear.

Chronograph: Piaget’s Altiplano Chronograph

 

This year, Piaget developed an ultrathin chronograph.
This year, Piaget developed an ultrathin chronograph.
Source: GPHG

Ultrathin is what Piaget is all about, and until this year the brand’s slim lineup didn’t include a chronograph. There were more complicated and ornate chronographs in the category, but the judges seem to have gone with something people really want to wear. I totally agree with their choice.

Jewellery: Audemars Piguet’s Diamond Punk

Even if diamonds aren’t your thing, there’s no denying how incredible this watch is.
Even if diamonds aren’t your thing, there’s no denying how incredible this watch is.
Source: GPHG

Looking at this, you might not guess it’s from the same company that makes the Royal Oak and Millenary, but there you have it. The stonework is astounding, and even if it’s not your type of watch, you can’t ignore just how skilled the artisans are who make it.

Ladies’: Hublot’s Big Bang Broderie

This watch is quintessentially Hublot, and the attention to detail is astounding.
This watch is quintessentially Hublot, and the attention to detail is astounding.
Source: GPHG

If the jury steered toward the wearable in other categories, here they went for the most outlandish pick. The dial and band here feature hand embroidery in a pattern that mixes flowers and skulls. Not exactly subtle, but oh so very Hublot.

Ladies’ High-Mechanical: Fabergé’s Lady Compliquée Peacock

An unusual and beautiful complication developed just for this watch.
An unusual and beautiful complication developed just for this watch.
Source: GPHG

Often complications are developed for men’s watches and are then adapted for ladies’ models. This time display, though—using a peacock and rotating disks—was created for this watch, which combines gem settings, mother-of-pearl dial work, and mechanical complexity.

Mechanical Exception: Jaquet Droz’s Charming Bird

Inspired by 18th century automata, this chirping bird fits on your wrist.
Inspired by 18th century automata, this chirping bird fits on your wrist.
Source: GPHG

The little bird in that bubble flutters its wings and chirps when you push the lone button on the case. It’s uncanny and sounds just like the real thing. The idea is taken from 18th century automata, shrunk down to fit on the wrist.

Men’s: Voutilainen GMR

You’d be hard-pressed to find a watch with higher-quality hand finishing than the GMR from Voutilainen.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a watch with higher-quality hand finishing than the GMR from Voutilainen.
Source: GPHG

Kari Voutilainen and his team make very few watches each year; the finishing on each tiny movement component and dial element is top-tier and inspired by traditional pocket watches. The overall look of the watches, though, is thoroughly modern and distinctive.

Petit Aiguille: Habring2’s Felix

Not every great watch has to cost a small fortune.
Not every great watch has to cost a small fortune.
Source: GPHG

In a category focused on relatively lower prices, the judges didn’t compromise on quality. The Felix includes Habring2’s first in-house movement designed and made in Austria, and the clean looks make it something you can wear every day. This is a real watch guy’s watch.

Sports: Tudor’s Pelagos

A major upgrade under the hood and a new color won the Pelagos this award.
A major upgrade under the hood and a new color won the Pelagos this award.
Source: GPHG

The Pelagos isn’t new, but Tudor updated it with a bright blue color scheme and also added its in-house movement earlier this year. The new model is equal parts indestructible and innovative. No one can argue with this award.

Striking: Girard-Perregaux’s Minute Repeater Tourbillon With Gold Bridges

This repeater shows off all the technology with a transparent dial.
This repeater shows off all the technology with a transparent dial.
Source: GPHG

The exaggerated gold bridges are a signature of Girard-Perregaux, but the mechanism they’re supporting is totally new. The open dial lets you really admire the complex chiming mechanism that makes this watch special.

Tourbillon: Ulysse Nardin’s Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon

For Ulysse Nardin this watch is understated, but it’s the mechanics that impress.
For Ulysse Nardin this watch is understated, but it’s the mechanics that impress.
Source: GPHG

Ulysse Nardin, known more for its ornate and over-the-top watches, this time opts for technical innovation instead of brash aesthetics. The tourbillon also boasts a special escapement that further enhances accuracy and reliability over time. Plus, that enamel dial is super handsome.

Horological Revelation: Laurent Ferrier’s Galet Square

A new shape for Laurent Ferrier, with all the usual precision.
A new shape for Laurent Ferrier, with all the usual precision.
Source: GPHG

Ferrier is a longtime veteran of Patek Philippe, and with his own brand he’s creating very high-end watches in small numbers. This is his first nonround watch, and it packs all the same technology in the movement as the round models.

Jury Prize: Vacheron Constantin’s Ref. 57260

The most complicated watch in the world got a surprise nod at the ceremony.
The most complicated watch in the world got a surprise nod at the ceremony.
Source: GPHG

This is the most complicated watch ever made. Full stop. It wasn’t nominated for anything (it wasn’t even announced until just a few weeks ago), but the jury decided to give it a special nod anyway.

Innovation Prize: Antoine Preziuso’s Tourbillon of Tourbillons 

A father-son duo created a trifecta of tourbillons.
A father-son duo created a trifecta of tourbillons.
Source: GPHG

This is the very first watch to combine three tourbillons in a single mechanism, and it was created by a father-son duo. The watch also received the Public Prize, voted for online not by the jury, but by the public. It was the only watch to win two awards.

Revival Watch: Piaget’s Extremely Piaget Double Sided Cuff

Two watches and tons of diamonds.
Two watches and tons of diamonds.
Source: GPHG

If the Altiplano shows off Piaget’s watchmaking chops, this one shows off the brand’s jewelry skills. The cuff has two watches and multiple rings of diamonds, recalling vintage pieces from the company’s archive.

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