On 10 November, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) will announce the winners of the 2022 awards at the Theâtre du Léman in Geneva. The annual competition honours the finest horological creations of the year and celebrates the people who breathe vitality and creativity into the watchmaking world. Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 edition before the award ceremony.
The Categories and Awards
Watches are nominated in one of fifteen categories, and automatically compete for the Aguille d’Or, the GPHG best-in-show award. Here are some of our highlights from this year’s nominations.
AKRIVIA Chronomètre Contemporain II
The Chronomètre Contemporain II feature subtle yet significant changes to its proportions, with a new case, dial, and movement. It continues with the aesthetic established by the Chronomètre Contemporain I, which won the best Men’s Watch at the GPHG 2018.
The Chronomètre Contemporain II case is a 15-part construction developed by the master casemaker Jean-Pierre Hagmann. Each case is made by hand using traditional methods with manually operated tools under the supervision of Jean-Pierre Hagmann, and carry the “JPH” stamp on one of its lugs. The vitreous enamel dial feature subtly reworked markings from the RRCCI, with varying thickness in the markings to offer visual contrast.
The symmetrical layout of the new Calibre RRCC02 may give one a sense of déjà vu, the construction and mechanics are completely different to that of the Calibre RRCC01. Featuring a symmetrical barrel bridge securing two mainsprings, each power a different gear train for two separate functions. One supplies energy to the redesigned balance wheel, which keeps time to chronometric standards. The other powers the deadbeat jumping seconds, with a hacking zero-reset function. As with all AKRIVIA watches, the movement components are beautifully hand-finished to exceptional standards.
MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential EVO
The 20th calibre by MB&F, this latest creation sees MB&F reuniting with Stephen McDonnell once again. This time, it is a reinvention of the chronograph.
While the double chronograph complication has been in existence for nearly two centuries, and as a wristwatch complication for nearly a hundred years, the LM Sequential EVO is groundbreaking in housing essentially two independent chronographs within the same movement, but linked to the same oscillator. The “Twinverter” switch at 9 o’clock is the game-changer. It operates as a binary switch that inverts the current start/stop status of each chronograph. With the Twinverter, the LM Sequential EVO can do things no other mechanical wristwatch has been able to accomplish so far. The chronograph vertical clutch is also reconfigured to sit within the main gear train. This eliminates the flutter of the chronograph seconds hand without the need for an amplitude-draining friction spring. And of course, the “Twinverter” concept is the crowning touch of this revolutionary watch. The ability to instantly toggle between operating modes for both chronographs open this mechanical complication to use in an unprecedented variety of possibilities.
Ulysse Nardin Freak S
The Freak shocked the watch world at its launch in 2001. The revolutionary creation put the movement centre-stage and used its components (not hands) to indicate time. 21 years later, Ulysse Nardin took this notion to another technological level. Resembling that of a spaceship, the Freak S continues the Freak tradition of having no crown and no hands, and using the movement itself to indicate time.
The Freak S features Ulysse Nardin’s new manufacture movement, the UN-251. With a double oscillator, the two XXL silicium balance-wheels with inertia blocks are inclined at 20˚ from one another. Linked by a differential, it draws the average of their rates to compensate the dual oscillator to ensure greater stability and precision in timekeeping. The improved “Grinder” automatic winding system features an oscillating weight connected to a frame carrying four blades, resulting in a more efficient transmission of energy.
Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0
At the vanguard of the quartz era, the Girard-Perregaux Casquette went against the norm of traditional round two-hand watches at the time of the original launch in 1976. The flat-shaped case design with a tubular LED display at one end was ahead of its time, and has been coveted by watch collectors ever since.
Following the success of the 2021 Only Watch pièce unique collaboration with Bamford Watch Department, Girard-Perregaux launched the Casquette 2.0 featuring the same quartz movement, Calibre GP09380. Of course, the LED still shows the original function of displaying the time, day and date; the new movement comes with some additional functions, including month and year indication, chronograph, and second time zone. The most unique feature is the secret date that the wearer can set to be shown each day at a specific time.
The Sarpaneva Nocturne makes a visual salute to the ruler of the night, with an image of an owl against a night sky. This nocturnal illustration is from the hand of the award-winning Finnish illustrator and graphic novelist, Ville Tietäväinen.
The dial consists of 6 different parts, all finished by hand to ensure the precision of expression. 233 apertures on the dial are hand-painted in 8 different colours using Super-LumiNova to create a captivating glow. Taking centre stage in the new Nocturn watch is the large Sarpaneva moon. Measuring at 11.8mm, the Moon Face also functions as a moon phase indicator, thanks to a rotating cut-out disc on the dial. To top it off, a hand-finished stainless steel index ring ensures the time can be precisely read to the minute.
Double Nomination for Louis Erard
The Jura-based independent watch brand Louis Erard scores two nominations in this year’s GPHG, with Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Massena LAB Gold nominated in the “Petite Aiguille” category, and the cheeky Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Seconde/Seconde in the Challenger category.
84 Watches and 6 Clocks Contend for 20 Prizes
This year, a new category for mechanical clocks opens the competition to time-measuring instruments such as longcase clocks and table clocks.
In addition, the GPHG Jury may choose, at their discretion, to present awards in four additional categories:
- Innovation: the best competing timepiece offering an innovative vision of time measurement through technique, design, display, materials, etc. This year, the jury may also assess watches for this award in terms of opening up new development pathways for watchmaking art, including sustainability, traceability, ethics, etc.
- Audacity: rewards the best competing watch/clock featuring a non-conformist, offbeat approach to watchmaking. The award aims to foster creative audacity.
- Horological Revelation: this prize rewards a competing watch/clock by a young brand (less than 10 years of existence since its first model was commercialised).
- Chronometry: the best competing watch/clock that stands out for its remarkable precision timekeeping performance (special escapement or distinctive regulating device), that is officially certified (ISO 3159 standards) by an inspection authority such as the COSC, TIMELAB, Besaçon Observatory, etc.
A Special Jury Prize may be awarded to a personality, institution, or initiative that has played a fundamental role in promoting high-quality watchmaking. Past winners of this category include Jean-Claude Biver, Luc Pettavino (founder of ONLY WATCH auctions), and Antoine Simonin (co-founder of WOSTEP).
The GPHG Awards Ceremony on 10 November 2022 will be broadcast live on the GPHG website. Don’t miss this highlight of the horological year!