Ahead of the awards ceremony of the annual Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) on 9 November at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva, 84 of the official shortlisted nominees went on display in Kuala Lumpur as part of its world tour. The Hour Glass hosted the 2023 GPHG’s only stop in southeast Asia with a special exhibition at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from 5 to 8 October.
Pinnacle of Contemporary Watchmaking
Watches from 14 of the GPHG’s 15 categories offered enthusiasts in the region a rare glimpse into the crème de la crème of modern horology. Attendees were treated to all shortlisted nominees in the watch categories comprising of Men’s and Ladies’, Men’s and Ladies’ Complications, Iconic, Tourbillon, Calendar and Astronomy, Mechanical Exception, Chronograph, Sports, Jewellery, Artistic Crafts, Challenge, and Petite Aguille.
Also on display was the iconic GPHG trophy, shaped as a golden hand. Created by Genevois graphic designer Roger Pfund, who also designed the Swiss passport and many banknotes, the trophy’s inspiration comes from Michelangelo’s fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in which god touches Adam’s extended hand to give him life. The trophy is made of gilded bronze and cast in Geneva, the historic home of haute horlogerie.
The gala event on 4 October to launch the GPHG exhibition in Kuala Lumpur saw special guests, media, and watch aficionados tour the exhibition at leisure, joined by Valérie Boscat from the GPHG Foundation. On top of getting the first look in the region at the 84 nominated timekeepers on tour, guests were treated to rousing performances from Q Sound, the former Principal Trombone for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, with his 21-piece ensemble band, joined by Malaysian singer-songwriter and actress, Aisha Retno.
A series of special activities delighted watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs of all ages, starting with a watch photography workshop, where enthusiasts got tips and tricks for that perfect watch shot. A fireside chat about The Persistence of Memory with Michael Tay, Group Managing Director of The Hour Glass, discussed the goal of creating a living online repository about contemporary artisanal watchmaking, and why it is important to document its developmental timeline through a contemporaneous archive of key watches. To ignite the horological passion in the younger generation, there were workshops on constructing mechanical clocks, as well as a colouring in session with Hublot.
Created in 2001, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève has the primary purpose to highlight and reward the most remarkable contemporary creations from the watchmaking world and promote its art, traditions, and innovations worldwide. The most notable way the organisation does this is through the GPHG annual competition, which involves several hundreds of watches marketed during the year, and attributing to the highest awards in this domain. Held in November each year, the awards draw elite representatives of the international watchmaking profession, united in honouring the finest creations and creators who breathe vitality and creativity into the watchmaking world.