In Contention: Ten Watches In The Running at the Oscars of the Watch Industry

The GPHG takes place in Geneva in November.

Watches
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The shortlist for this year’s Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Genève, the Oscars of the watch industry, have been announced ahead of the prize-giving ceremony in November.

Each year the best watches of the previous 12 months are voted for by a jury of experts from a selection of pieces submitted by brands for a number of specific categories. It is also worth noting that not every brand puts its watches forward for consideration.

While the full list of nominees can be found over at the GPHG, here HYPEBEAST looks at ten strong contenders.

Men’s
Hermes H08

 

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Hermes’ first dedicated men’s watch model received near universal praise this year after dropping at digital trade show, Watches and Wonders, in April. The finished design was applauded for its proportions, form, use of finishes and unique typography.

Men’s Complication
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph

 

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This category is certain to give judges a tough time as it places very different watches head-to-head. Bulgari’s decision to fit a worldtimer inside its softer Octo Roma case deserves praise, as do the very different interpretations of the jumping hour submitted by both Chanel and Chopard, but Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore packs in a chronograph and flying tourbillon inside a new 43mm case with contemporary, hypercard-inspired open dial.

Iconic
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

 

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In a category that often feels like a lifetime achievement award for classic designs, it feels about time that the Tudor Black Bay gets the praise it deserves and the brand’s reintroduction of sterling silver as a case material was one of the biggest talking points of the year.

Tourbillon
De Bethune Kind of Two Tourbillon

 

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The only thing better than one De Bethune is two of them and here revered Swiss watchmaker presents both sides of its design language, sci-fi and classical, with a reversible watch that flips around inside a central mount.

Calendar and Astronomy
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

 

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An often fussy, traditional complication housed in one of the most modern, disruptive watch designs of recent years. Bulgari has opted for a matter-of-fact presentation of information using a highly legible sans serif typeface that lends itself to the stark sandblasted finish of the Octo case.

Mechanical Exception
Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer

 

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Ulysse Nardin’s weeble-style UFO clock-cum-executive toy might have the wow factor while the Jacob & Co. minute repeater actually plays the Godfather theme, but little-known Bernhard Lederer has perfected Breguet’s infamously tricky Natural Escapement and created one of the best-looking movements in living memory.

Chronograph
Zenith Chronomaster Sport

 

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The Chronomaster Sport represented, well, the Zenith of a strong year for the Swiss brand. It transplanted the traditional interlinked sub dials associated with the first El Primero watches into a modern, highly specced high-beat chronograph.

Diver’s
Reservoir Hydrosphere Bronze

 

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Unless you plan on judging this category based on depth ratings and legibility, it becomes another subjective, aesthetic selection. On those grounds alone the Reservoir, one of the most idiosyncratic dive watch designs ever, deserves to be in with a chance.

Petite Aiguille
Breitling Top Time Deus Ex

 

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The winner of the “Small Needle” is simply the judge’s favorite watch between CHF 4,000 (approximately $4,350 USD) and CHF 10,000 ($10,880 USD). The judge’s might be swayed by the clean lines of the King Seiko or visionary watchmaker Vianney Halter’s collab with Louis Erard or the classical styling of the Garrick. But Breitling’s collab with Australian lifestyle brand, Deus Ex Machina, was another watch that met with nothing but praise when it dropped in February.

Challenge
anOrdain

 

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Taking into account everything below CHF 4,000 ($4,350 USD), the Challenge category is another completely subjective category, so there’s little to indicate which way the GPHG judges will go but the most impressive and fresh pieces here come from Chinese newcomer CIGA Design, which is offering the haute horlogerie-styled, 50-piece titanium Blue Planet automatic for just CHF 1,800 and anOrdain in Scotland – with its masterful enamel dials.

In other watch news, TAG Heuer revives its luminous Night Diver watch.

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