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The 15 Winning Watches Of The 2016 GPHG

Protocole XXL Secrets & Lights Venice Micro-Mosaic

In the early hours of the Australian morning, the watch industry was celebrating its night of nights – the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – more commonly known as the Oscars of watchmaking. Fifteen awards were given – along with a special jury prize for the George Daniels Educational Trust – adding up to a solid mix of safe bets and surprises. So without further ado, here are the best watches of 2016.

“AIGUILLE D’OR” GRAND PRIX

Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud
Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1

Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1

Impressive name for an impressive watch. The Chopard-owned brand’s debut piece is distinctive and complex, with a vintage-looking octagonal case and a top-notch, constant force fusée chain tourbillon. Excellence doesn’t come cheap though. The FB 1 has an RRP of 212,000 CHF.

PUBLIC PRIZE

Czapek Genève
33 bis Quai des Bergues

33 bis Quai des Bergues

The only award based on a popular vote, the Czapek Genève is an impressive watch, with its Grand Feu dial and pocket-watch inspired movement. In an interesting sign of the times, it’s also a watch that exists thanks to crowd funding.

REVIVAL WATCH PRIZE

TAG Heuer
Heuer Monza Chronograph

Heuer Monza Chronograph

Ironically, this recent award category is all about looking to the past. And we can’t think of a more deserving winner than the mighty Monza.

ARTISTIC CRAFTS WATCH PRIZE

Piaget
Protocole XXL Secrets & Lights Venice Micro-Mosaic

Protocole XXL Secrets & Lights Venice Micro-Mosaic

Pictures don’t do this watch justice. It’s just incredible. Five thousand glass tiles adorn the case and dial of this watch. How could it not win?

JEWELLERY WATCH PRIZE

Chanel
Secret Watch Signature Grenat

Secret Watch Signature Grenat

This is the category where the carats count. And Chanel’s cuff with a secret watch managed to outshine dazzling competition from the likes of Piaget’s pendant and Voutilainen’s stunning casework.

SPORTS WATCH PRIZE

Eberhard & Co.
Scafograf 300

Scafograf 300

The sports category is really diverse, with everything from a simple vintage-styled Alpina to incredibly complex Ulysse Nardin and Ressence pieces in the running. Given this mix, we were surprised to see Eberhard’s by-the-book diver take out the gong – but there’s no denying its classic looks.

“PETITE AIGUILLE” PRIZE

Tudor
Heritage Black Bay Bronze

Heritage Black Bay Bronze

Of all the awards, this is the one we keep the closest eye on, mostly because by definition the watches are affordable to mere mortals. This year the under 8000 CHF field had some great entries, particularly from Hermès and Seiko. Having said that, Tudor’s latest take on the Black Bay is an excellent choice.

MECHANICAL EXCEPTION WATCH PRIZE

Audemars Piguet
Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie

Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie

Mechanical Exception is a somewhat mixed bag of, well, exceptional watches. And while the AP is unlikely to ever be a volume piece, the incredible amount of research and development involved in its creation makes it a worthy winner.

TRAVEL TIME WATCH PRIZE

Fabergé
Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ

Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ

The Travel Time category was another strong grouping, but the new (and innovative) movement and distinctive looks of the Fabergé set it above the rest.

CALENDAR WATCH PRIZE

MB&F
Legacy Machine Perpetual

Legacy Machine Perpetual

MB&F had to win a prize with this watch – beautiful in its complexity and with an astonishing movement designed by Stephen McDonnell. Well done Max and friends!

TOURBILLON WATCH PRIZE

Girard-Perregaux
La Esmeralda Tourbillon

La Esmeralda Tourbillon

Another win for a Girard-Perregaux tourbillon! La Esmeralda is a real stunner and a worthy winner, even though we were gunning for Speake-Marin’s impressive Black Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon.

CHRONOGRAPH WATCH PRIZE

Montblanc
1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition

1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition

The chronograph category was hotly contested this year, with strong entries from Hublot, Eterna and Louis Monet. But Montblanc’s heritage-inspired limited edition edged out the competition to take the prize.

MEN’S WATCH PRIZE

Grönefeld
1941 Remontoire

1941 Remontoire

We’re not sure if the Dutch know what a ‘larrikin’ is, but if you look it up in the dictionary there’s a picture of the Grönefeld brothers. Beyond enjoying the odd beer, they’re also outstanding watchmakers, as the visually (and technically) stunning 1941 Remontoire proves.

LADIES’ HIGH-MECH WATCH PRIZE

Girard-Perregaux
Cat’s Eye Tourbillon with Gold Bridge

Cat’s Eye Tourbillon with Gold Bridge

Girard-Perreguax has an excellent track record with both tourbillons and women’s pieces – so it’s great to see them both combined here. We feel an honourable mention should also go to Ludovic Ballouard’s quirkily creative Upside Down Art Deco.

LADIES’ WATCH PRIZE

Piaget
Limelight Gala Milanese Bracelet

Limelight Gala Milanese Bracelet

The sinuous lines and super-supple Milanese bracelet of the Limelight Gala ensured this Piaget was a stand-out in the diamond-studded line-up.

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