Breaking Down The 2011 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Awards
The next watch analysis publish is as simple as Chris Meisenzahl. He’s a lengthy-time watch enthusiast and daily Speedmaster Professional individual. He blogs in the Pretense of Understanding and could be adopted on Twitter at http://twitter.com/speedmaster.
I recall in the past I had been a part of a thread on about the most watch forums. I said it had become bad we were not alive throughout the 40s-60s, things i had considered the “Golden Age” of mechanical watches. It appeared like in those days, obviously, all watches were mechanical, and many appeared reasonable priced, even thinking about inflation. But another poster rapidly set me right. He stated which were existed within the Golden Chronilogical age of mechanical watches at this time! Following a couple of moments of consideration I recognized he was absolutely correct.
A powerful argument might be made that people reside in a Golden Chronilogical age of mechanical watches now. We’ve the ultra-high-finish brands for example Megabytes&F, Patek, Lange, P Bethune, etc. We’ve independents for example Roger Cruz, Parmigiani, Peter Speake-Marin, Kari Voutilainen, Richard Mille, and F.P. Journe. Which is all additionally towards the usual suspects like Rolex watch, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and a large number of others. However for individuals without deep pockets you will find still other available choices. Keen on mechanical watches can select-up a Russian Vostok automatic for well under $100. And you will find a apparently unlimited quantity of Seiko Diver options under $300 and Seiko 5 choices for under $75. Also keep in mind, the Vostok and Seiko (remember Orient) automatics are true in-house actions, something that lots of the mid-tier Swiss brands are only able to claim using their fingers entered behind their backs along with a wink.
Where I am going wonderful this would be that the 2011 edition from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie p Genève (sometimes referred to as “Geneva The watchmaking industry Grand Prix”) honours were lately completed. The wedding is really a type of industry gathering where the Swiss watch industry fetes its very own. It’s less than obvious in my experience what amount of the event is marketing self-promotion through the industry, and just how expensive is more “pure.” Regardless, for all of us watch fans, it’s another chance to check out the items and manufactures we like.
The honours are selected with a panel selected by, well, I am in the dark about how one will get selected to be the panel of idol judges. I know a Swiss castle with Pascal Raffy in the gate, and puffs of whitened and black smoke being released of the chimney as candidates are selected [Erectile dysfunction. note – seems like a scene from the bad FOX TV reality dating or cooking show].
“Produced in 2001, and by this season 2011 underneath the aegis from the Geneva The watchmaking industry Grand Prix Foundation, the wedding is supposed to salute the difference of worldwide horological production, and yearly rewards the best masterpieces and the most crucial figures within the the watchmaking industry world. It therefore adds to marketing horology and it is prime values – namely innovation …”
This Year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie p Genève Honours were held on November 19th. Cutting towards the chase, the very best award champion was the P Bethune DB28, which required home the coveted Aiguille d’Or award. As I have pointed out before, I believe that P Bethune has got the slickest searching moonphase complication. The company is really a breath of outdoors in an enormous amount of Rolex watch Submariner homages and so on. Not too I dislike the Sub, it is simply it’s nice to determine some different new designs. And also the awards are granted mainly according to innovation, both technical and style.
“The international jury of this 11th edition, composed of watchmaking professionals, awarded the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix, the supreme award honouring the best timepiece of the year, to the DB28 model by De Bethune.”
Let’s check out the DB28:
– titanium or rose gold
– hand-wound, as the finest of movements generally are
– 276 components, twin barrels
– 6 day power reserve
– 3D moonphase display
While the DB28 was the belle of the ball, there were other awards presented as well.
The Best Men’s Watch award went to the Hermès Arceau Le Temps Suspendu. I really didn’t expect this; most of us don’t think of Hermès when we think of fine Swiss/French watchmaking. Do read Ariel’s review of this watch from earlier in the year.
“The timepiece itself is available in a 43mm wide situation in steel so that as a restricted edition of 174 pieces in 18k rose gold. The Arceau style situation includes a more pronounced carry structure on top and suavely curved numbers that appear to operate round the dial. … The retrograde date dial is remarkably readable and that i like the way the hands appears to leave nowhere. Within the watch is definitely an automatic mechanical movement using the special time suspended module which was specifically produced for the timepiece.”
The Best Design Watch prize was awarded to one of my favorite brands, Urwerk, for their stunning UR-110.
Skipping the technical details, the UR-110 is yet another crazy-cool creation from the geniuses inside Urwerk. Similar to De Bethune, they continue to be iconoclasts and shake-up the watch industry. Urwerk describes this watch …
“The UR-110 signifies time by way of a turning satellite complication on planetary gears featuring three parallel hour/minute modules resembling torpedoes. Time is shown on the best side from the watch, using the satellites carrying out a vertical line – to an hour – inside a downward motion. The resourcefulness of the layout is based on permitting the individual to see time discreetly and stylishly with no need to withdraw a cuff.”
And one of the most slick features? The dial side Control Board features an “Oil Change” indicator to alert the user when it is time for a service. Amazing. The movement is automatic with 46 jewels and a single barrel. Urwerk again implements their air turbines as part of the winding system. Do not miss Ariel’s hands-on look at this watch with pics. And the official Urwerk video? Also worth your time.
The Very Best Complicated Watch Prize was granted to Zenith for his or her amazing Academy Christophe Colomb Equation of your time. It is good to determine the Zenith ship back on the reasonable course following a major management shake-up and also the sunset from the Theirry Nataf era. The Christophe Colomb is yet another over-the-top creation, and that i love just from it. Of course, there may be good quality Nataf DNA within the toubillon of the piece, to his credit. Initially it appears muck such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon. And because of the bubble housing the complication, proprietors ought to be VERY conscious when dealing with entrance doors!
Ariel’s review of this watch describes the make-up of the tourbillon: “An escapement on gimbals that moves around such that the escapement more or less is always placed the same position. … At the bottom of the “gear ball” is a polished gold weight that keeps the entire thing pointed in the right direction. … the “tourbillon” in the Christophe Colomb moves only with the power of gravity.”
The full list of winners:
– “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix: De Bethune, DB28
– Best Ladies’ Watch Prize: Boucheron, Crazy Jungle Hathi
– Best Men’s Watch Prize: Hermès, Arceau Le Temps Suspendu
– Best Design Watch Prize: Urwerk, UR-110
– Best Jewellery and Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Arpels Polar Landscape
– Best Complicated Watch Prize: Zenith, Academy Christophe Colomb Equation of Time
– Best Sports Watch Prize: TAG Heuer, Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Chronograph
– “Petite Aiguille” Prize (for models under CHF 5’000): Montblanc, Star Worldtime GMT Automatic
– Best Watchmaker Prize: Vianney Halter
– Special Jury Prize: Patek Philippe Museum
– Public Prize: Audemars Piguet, Millenary 4101
So what are the surprises here? There are three surprises for me:
I must admit that I never would have expected to see anything from Hermès here, they’re definitely not one of the usual suspects.
It was a bit of a surprise to see TAG Heuer represented here. They’re generally considered the high-end of the mall watch world, somewhat out of place with the rest of this group as a brand. TAG Heuer does do some cutting-edge work with technology, but not much of it seems to make it out of the lab (think Monaco V4 and belt drives)
And rather conspicuous by their absence? Greubel Forsey, MB&F, and Harry Winston.
As an aside, I sometimes wonder if Rolex get’s too little credit for its slow but especially useful and practical innovations? The Parachrom hairspring for example? Though an innovation like that certainly isn’t flashy and has essentially no visual appeal.
And while I overall love the choices, I still find the Hermès choice a bit of a head-scratcher. It was selected over the Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-rotor and the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time? I do wonder how much pressure, implicit or explicit, the judging panel is under to make their choices either popular or in-step with “approved” choices. When reading various watch magazines one wonders why we can go years without reading a bad review, and why excuses are often made for the occasional poor category rating. We of course wonder if the fear of offending an advertiser (current or potential) is the cause. I have no idea what forces are at play in these awards, but I think it would be naive to assume there are none at all.
Regardless of my nit-picky comments, awards and events like the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève are indeed fun for us watch enthusiasts. They keep us entertained throughout the year, hopefully holding us over until we get to start discussing Basel 2012 in just a couple months. 😉 And in addition to being good entertainment, they’re also good for customers. These kinds of events keep competitive pressure on the watch manufactures to continue to innovate and introduce new technologies and products. Customers win in the end.