Rolex Day-Date

GPHG 2021: Who Will Take The Trophy Home?

THM Desk
1 Nov 2021 |
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SUMMARIZEarrow down

GPHG 2021- for those who don’t know what this esteemed event is about let me sum it up for you in four words “Oscars of The Watch-Industry”. A horological red carpet event filled with masterpieces and an incredible display of the finest watchmaking. 

The History

The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) was founded in 2001 and recognised as a public interest organization since 2011.

The Canton and City of Geneva are both represented on the Foundation Board, chaired by Raymond Loretan since 2018. Carlo Lamprecht, the former President of the Geneva State Council who, co-founded the foundation with Carine Maillard, the current Director of the GPHG, and ruled over it from 2011 to 2017, was succeeded by the latter.

The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) Foundation's principal goal is to recognize and annually honor the most extraordinary modern works while also promoting watchmaking art worldwide.

Nick Foulkes President at GPHG
Nick Foulkes-President at GPHG

The list of finalists for the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 2021 edition comprises 84 timepieces divided into 14 categories, one of which will take that trophy home. And just like every year, this year too it is a tough call to make for the jury members; which includes Nick Foulkes, President at GPHG, Jean-Claude Biver, Brian Duffy, Chiara Fiorentino Pisa, Sophie Furly, Alexander Friedman, and more. Did you know our founder Karishma Karer also is a member of the GPHG Academy?  

"GPHG is not just another event in the world of watches. It is one of the most respected acknowledgments of the work that Manufacturers put in through the year. A testament to all their research, craftsmanship, and fine watchmaking skills. From contemporary brands to independents and micro-brands, this red carpet is a salute to the creativity and innovations of the watch industry. It is an absolute honor to be a part of this esteemed Academy." Karishma Karer, Founder - The Hour Markers.

While we all wait to see who will take the coveted Aiguille d’Or trophy, it’s sure an event every watch collector and enthusiast looks forward to.

Here are our hopes from the GPHG 2021: 

1. Van Cleef & Arpels | Lady Arpels Féerie

Nominated under the Ladies Complication category that pays great attention to mechanical complexity and innovation, this watch is a true masterpiece. The rule is simple: it can feature any form of classic or creative complications. Isn’t it an absolute delight to finally have watches purposefully created and manufactured to fit women's wrists? Is a tourbillon a complication? Is it ultra-thinness? The Lady Arpels Féerie is what we expect should be a winner in this category. 

Lady Féerie Watch VCARO8ZD00
Poetic Complications Collection, Lady Féerie Watch

Lady Feerie Watch VCARO8ZD00
A new addition to the Féerie timepieces collection, this piece blends watchmaking skills and traditional craftsmanship within a delicately proportioned 33mm case.

A fairy in a diamond-and-sapphire gown with plique-à-jour and grisaille enamel wings uses a diamond wand to show to the minutes using a retrograde mechanism on the dial of the Lady Féerie. The hours presented using a leap hour, with numerals visible in a moon-shaped window immediately below the center. A watch built with an exceptional complication just for women! This combination of watchmaking, jewelry, and traditional artisan techniques brings the poetic picture to life. 

2. Louis Erard | La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein

This watch has come as a knight in shining armour setting at a price point of $4000 competing with others in the Men's category. An almost perfect watch- the exquisite weekly planner developed by Alain Silberstein, easily recognisable as his work, is featured in La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein, with its three hands, date, and day. The days do not have names, but entertaining smileys–small, stylised faces symbolising different moods and reminding us that time is a flow, an experience, an emotion evolving through the days. 

La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein 75357TT02.BTT88
La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein for GPHGH 2021

Depending on the wearer's mood, it can go from a gloomy Monday to a bright Sunday (or vice versa)! Breathable wrist size and lightweight, this watch is a ‘search for harmony’. It brought out the inner child in all of us. 

3. Vacheron Constantin | Historiques American 1921

We all know a good classic with a rich heritage and one that; had a long-term impact on the watchmaking industry. A watch that celebrates a 100 years and stood out in the Iconic Category of GPHG 2021 is none other than the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 REFERENCE: 82035/000G-B735
With its 36.5mm case, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 fits even the slimmest of wrists.

A watch with an avant-garde design and a new interpretation of the American 1921 model, it is particularly admired by collectors and enthusiasts of Haute Horlogerie. The American 1921 has a 36.5mm casing that suits even the tiniest of wrists. 

Its slim form frames a grained silver-toned dial with black-painted Arabic numerals and a snailed small seconds counter with slender black 18K gold open-tipped hours and minutes hands with a snailed tiny seconds counter. A minute's track runs around the ring of the dial, adding a nostalgic touch in keeping with the original design. It stands out because of its exquisite, traditional, yet quirky, original appearance. More than a watch; it is a symbol of Vacheron Constantin's inventiveness.

4. Piaget | Exquisite Moments Watch

A striking piece of art and jewellery, nominated under the 'Jewellery Category' at GPHG 2021, this jewel pays homage to the intricate design and arrangement of the stones and diamonds.  We arrive at a quiet sanctuary of wonder and tranquility as the sun sets on the horizon of a tropical paradise, emerging to praise perfection in an explosion of unique splendor. Two magnificent diamonds of the most sought-after color grade, "Fancy Vivid Yellow," bathe us in a golden radiance.

Piaget Exquisite Moments Watch GPHG 2021 G0A45025
Piaget Exquisite Moments Watch GPHG 2021

Only one out of every ten thousand diamonds categorised as "Fancy," and only 6% of those dubbed "Fancy Yellow" receive the coveted "Vivid" designation. These diamonds are among the most sought-after gems in the world, gleaming brightly in an effect amplified by their dazzling cut, which was specifically designed for these stones so that their facets reflect light like rhombuses. 

Priced at $3 million, this item is gigantic yet subtle, and it's a great example of a well-coordinated idea from the designer through the diamond cutters, makers, and jewellers.

5. Oris | Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

What if we told you a watch could bring you optimism and warmth of better times? Yes, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy does just that, nominated in the Challenge Category. Crowned ‘Cotton Candy’ based on this thought, its striking pink dial is surely an eye-catcher. 

Oris Divers Sixty Five Cotton Candy GPHG 2021
Oris Divers Sixty Five Cotton Candy GPHG 2021

It borrows Oris' all-bronze case, bezel, crown, and bracelet design for the Hölstein Edition 2020 and adds a bright pallet of dial colors in sky blue, wild green, or lipstick pink. The 38mm case is purposely unisex, and bronze patinates during the natural, attractive oxidation process, creating its tale. 

 6. MB&F | LM01 Double Hairspring 

Nominated againin the Men's Category, the design appears sleek and straightforward, despite two high-contrast white dials and a towering suspended double hairspring balance placed on an eye-catching sky-blue dial. The movement through the rear of the display is an absolute treat.

MBandF LM101 GPHG 2021
MBandF LM101 GPHG 2021

The elegance of the LM101's movement doesn't simply keep authentic to a bygone age, with its undulating Geneva waves, hand-polished bevels, gold chatons, and countersunk blued screws. It was also the first MB&F caliber to be totally conceived and designed in-house, signaling the start of a new era in 2014. While the movement's precise finishing criteria and adherence to the horological history were handled by award-winning independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, its architecture and construction are entirely MB&F.

Although it has a clean appearance and a diameter of 40 mm, it dances to the beat of its drum. It is the ideal MB&F watch, encapsulating all the brand stands for in a more pure, less fanciful form.

 7. De Bethune | DB Kind of Two 

An almost magical timepiece, Two identities, two dials nominated in the Tourbillon Category. A technical and artistic practice: that leads to the discovery of a new topic of study. You can see a modern spin on the classic double-sided watch. Both visually and technically, these are two strikingly different faces. The DB Kind of Two Tourbillon is wholly reversible. So, you can wear it on either side depending on your mood.

GPHG 2021 De Bethune Kind of Two Tourbillon DBK2TV1
De Bethune presents a limited edition of 10 pieces endowed with two faces.

The watch is both a technical and artistic triumph. There are many more creative components to this piece; not least the employment of a tourbillon-based little second sign on the contemporary side of the watch; and a gorgeous, gigantic sweeping central second hand on the traditional side, besides the conspicuous flipping casing. Other details include the symmetrical reshaping of the famous deltoid-shaped bridge. 

Too many deserving options to choose from this year, it surely will be quite a tough one for the jury. Every watch exudes uniqueness, technical prowess and adds a smile to the wearer’s face. Who will take the trophy home? I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. The GPHG 2021 is set to take place on 4th November 2021 in Geneva. Stay tuned...