The Watches In The Running At This Year's GPHG Awards

The entrants for this year’s ‘Oscars of the watch industry’ are revealed.

Watches
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The GPHG – the ‘Oscars of the watch industry’ – has announced its full list of nominations for this year’s awards.

The category lists will be whittled down to shortlists before the judging committee decides on the eventual winners in November, so expect to find a number unfamiliar microbrands mixed in with the big brands and independent ateliers.

The GPHG entry fee is increasingly being seen as worthwhile marketing spend by new brands launching to the market; there’s little chance of them winning (Chinese brand CIGA being a worthy exception last year) but it puts them in front of the watch press, collectors and enthusiasts. 

Before then, Hypebeast takes a look at the entrants in a number of different categories.

Men’s

The Men’s category – with seemingly no technical or creative conditions – is one of the most subjective categories in the awards. Out of the 30 initial entries, there are at least eight candidates you could see progressing to the next round.

Chopard’s remarkable high beat 57,600vph Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF balances both looks and technical ability, while the Czapek Antarctique Frozen Star S features a dial made from osmium, the rarest metal on earth.

The Zenith possesses incredible historical importance, the Trilobe and the Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time both offer innovative display concepts, the Sylvain Pinaud seems to exhibit the best of classical watchmaking and the Parmigiani Fleurier represents the most convincing brand reboot in recent years.

But how do you argue against the Akrivia’s Chronomètre Contemporain II Rexhep Rexhepi? Watchmaker Rexhepi brings together a flawless dead-beat seconds movement and a two-layer enamel dial.

Men’s Complication

With 16 entrants, the Men’s Complication category is already a little unbalanced in that it carries a couple of time-only tourbillons. Not only is that problematic because a tourbillon isn’t strictly speaking a complication – as it doesn’t provide a distinct function beyond keeping time – but there is also a separate Tourbillon category.

One of those tourbillons is an all-blue skeletonized Code 11.59 which Audemars Piguet has snuck in ahead of a September drop, which is certainly worth knowing about, even if it belongs in a different category.

As such, this should be a three-horse race between the clever Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur worldtimer, the playful Singer Reimagined Flytrack Barista and the ingenious Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.

Iconic

This is the horological equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, the committee will have to agree on whose time has come. It would be totally reasonable to suggest Breitling’s 2022 Navitimer, Girard-Perregaux’s Casquette 2.0, Zenith’s Defy Revival A3642, IWC’s Big Pilot 43 and TAG Heuer’s Monaco – especially in this Gulf livery – are all in with a decent chance.

Tourbillon

Competition in the Tourbillon category is seriously tough with an ultra-fine tourbillon cage from Louis Vuitton and an extra large tourbillon courtesy of Montres KF while H. Moser and Cie has put a spherical hairspring inside its tourbillon.

But the tourbillons from both IWC and Grand Seiko feature integrated one-second remontoir mechanisms, offering that holy grail of watchmaking, constant force.

Calendar and Astronomy

This category is awash with eyebrow-raising haute horlogerie including the ruby link hour chain of the Behrens Perigee and the Krayon Anywhere will reveal the sunrise and sunset times anywhere on earth while Chinese watchmaker Xushu Ma represents the incredible intricacies of the Chinese Calendar with indications including six central hands.

Dominique Renaud – of Renaud et Papi fame – is part of the DRT trio responsible for creating the incredible DRT Tempus Fugit, which would appear to be the most complicated secular perpetual calendar ever developed.

The watch is capable of displaying the year up to 9999 and features a ‘power reserve’ personal to the owner – rather than the watch – based on life expectancy generated by the team, using an “algorithm which integrates the latest scientific advances on risk, notably from the environment, physiology and genomics.” The watch also houses a chip containing the owner’s DNA sequence and a “secret message” only accessible once the personal power reserve has expired.

Mechanical Exception

Again a very tough category, with the highest standards of watchmaking present. Bovet’s $500,000 USD piece unique Récital 20 Astérium certainly answers the brief with celestial maps, sidereal and annual calendars, tourbillon, equation of time and day/night indication. But so does Ferdinand Berthoud’s FB 2RSM.2-1 regulator with tourbillon, fusee-and-chain constant force, stop-seconds and independent dead-beat seconds. It would also be impossible to ignore Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary, the second thinnest watch ever made.

Jacob & Co.’s high-beat Jean Bugatti offers a completely different take on the chronograph, displaying the elapsed time using dual retrograde hands for seconds and 1/10th seconds and sapphire crystal discs for its 30-minute counter with twin tourbillons.

Equally mechanically, yet perhaps more scientific are Ulysse Nardin’s Freak S – the first automatic watch with dual escapements joined by a differential – and Frederique Constant’s Slimline Monolithic Manufacture which beats at 40Hz – ten times faster than the average watch – thanks to a single-piece silicon oscillator.

Chronograph

This is a three-way fight between Czapek’s Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue for its revealing open dial, Grönefeld’s debut chronograph, the 1941 Grönograaf, and MB&F’s LM Sequential EVO, which is quite possibly the most functional and complex chronograph ever made.

Elsewhere in watches, supermodel Gisele Bündchen tells Hypebeast about her new role at IWC.

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