International design awards abound, but the Red Dot is inarguably the most important and widely recognized of them all.
The Red Dot awards prizes for design in a multitude of categories, from refrigerators to lawn mowers and everything in between. And there are multiple levels of prizes: Best of the Best, Design Prize, and Honorable Mention.
Until the 2015 competition, there was no dedicated watch category. That thankfully changed, and now the prestigious German prize counts a three-man jury dedicated exclusively to watches. The watch judges are Rüdiger Bucher, editor-in-chief of German watch magazine Chronos and head of editorial for the watch division of the Ebner Verlag publishing house, freelance journalist Gisbert Brunner, and industrial designer Simon Husslein.
You may recognize Husslein’s name, and that is because he has designed watches partially through his work as creative director of Studio Hannes Wettstein. The deceased Wettstein was a designer who worked with Nomos Glashütte, responsible for the then-new Nomos Zürich case shape. Husslein has worked with Nomos Glashütte, Ventura, and Braun.
See The 2015 Red Dot Has A New Watch Category. And The Winners Are . . . for a full interview with Bucher on the creation of the new category and what goes on behind the scenes at the Red Dot.
The Red Dot watch winners for 2017
I asked Bucher how the deliberations went for the 2017 choices. Understandably, he couldn’t say much about the specifics of the jury deliberations, but he did divulge a few interesting details regarding the judging session and what the judges look for.
“We orient ourselves primarily on the nine assessment criteria that Red Dot created,” he explained. “We try to be as objective and impartial as possible. It is certainly also good that I was already familiar with the mechanical watches that were entered, while there were also many quartz watches from Asia that we saw for the first time.”
So what do the jurors look for in particular? “Alongside a successful overall design, it is important to look for elements that bring a new aspect to watch design and that offer an added emotional value above and beyond the coherent form,” he answered. “We saw that above all in the Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Magic Gold, which is why it received the highest award, the Red Dot: Best of the Best. In this category all three jurors must find a united consensus. For the normal Red Dot it only takes two votes. There were some hot discussions, for of course we weren’t always of the same opinion!”
Red Dot Design Prize
Some of the 2017 winning brands of the Red Dot Design Prize have won in this category before, including Armin Strom, Nomos Glashütte, Braun, and Maurice Lacroix.
Without further ado, here are this year’s winners.
Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Magic Gold
The Best of the Best is the highest honor, and in 2017 only one watch from the hundreds entered achieved this status: the Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Magic Gold.
For more details on this watch, see Hublot Big Bang Meca-10: A Shift In Consciousness.
Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance
For me one of the most fascinating watches of the last year was the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance, and I tip my hat to the jury for rewarding this watch’s dual resonant regulators, which are fully visible on the dial.
For full details on this watch see A Synchronistic Technical Tour De Force: Armin Strom’s Mirrored Force Resonance.
Quick Facts Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance
Case: 43.4 x 13 mm, pink gold
Movement: manually winding Caliber ARF15 with visible resonance clutch spring, two independent, symmetrically mirrored regulators beating at 25,200 vph / 3.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, twin display of luminous seconds
Limitation: 50 pieces
Price: 67,000 Swiss francs
Remark: delivered with additional rubber strap
Nomos Glashütte Metro neomatik nachtblau
Nomos Glashütte introduced the Metro in 2014 and the neomatik line encompassing five new models in 2015.
New aesthetics, in-house mechanics, and a deep blue dial make this watch a winner in my eyes – and the Red Dot jury apparently also thought so.
Chronoswiss Flying Regulator
Chronoswiss has had some trouble finding a new design identity since the company changed hands back in 2012. Perhaps this is why the Flying Regulator was received so well by the jury: its design strongly reminds one of Chronoswiss’s heyday, during which Chronoswiss founder Gerd-Rüdiger Lang brought the regulator dial to wristwatches and created a new category there.
The Flying Regulator takes that idea one step further by lifting the subdial frames above the main dial to achieve a three-dimensional effect.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Skeleton and Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Chronograph Skeleton
“The outstanding and innovative collections from Maurice Lacroix have already made several big impressions at previous Red Dot Design Awards, making this the twelfth and thirteenth prizes the brand has won at the prestigious competition since 2007,” said Stéphane Waser, managing director of Maurice Lacroix.
The Masterpiece Chronograph Skeleton, launched in 2016, combines an openworked movement with the popular chronograph, simultaneously blending traditional with novel design elements.
The Masterpiece Skeleton is no less modern-looking with its openworked structure and colorful plating on the bridges.
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 and TAG Heuer Autavia Calibre Heuer 02
Both of these designs are not new in the TAG Heuer arsenal, but they have been cleverly revamped and modernized enough to be deserving of a design prize.
On a personal note, the Monaco has always been my favorite Heuer design – most likely because of the unusual design of the case.
What design competition would actually be complete without a ceramic-encased entry from Rado? Design is this brand’s stock in trade.
Rado re-launched its Ceramica collection in 2016 thanks to a thorough brush-up by designer Konstantin Grcic, who gave the geometric shape a more contemporary look and feel. And the jury must have noticed.
Shenzhen Ciga Design: The Innovative Anti-Seismic Mechanical Watch
After winning a design prize for its Moon Phase Wristwatch in 2016, Shenzhen Ciga Design once again emerges victorious at the 2017 competition.
Braun Classic Slim
Braun has always been known for the demanding design of its svelte quartz watches, which are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and versions. The Classic Slim epitomizes the brand.
For more information about the Red Dot awards, please visit www.en.red-dot.org.