The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie De Genève has announced the candidate watches for the 2018 edition of the Grand Prix. In addition to an expansion of participating jury members from 28 to 31 individuals (the jury is an eclectic mix and includes watchmakers, specialist horological journalists, retailers, collectors and more) the prize categories have been expanded too. One notable addition is the establishment of a Challenge Watch Prize, which is limited to watches priced under CHF 4,000 and which is open to smartwatches. This is apt to be a contentious category; the presence of smartwatches at the GPHG is certain to provoke a certain amount of controversy. There is one connected mechanical watch in the category (the X-One Mechanical Smartwatch) but there’s also a full-fledged smartwatch competing, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 41 Full Ceramic, priced at CHF 2,950.
In addition to the main award categories, which include standards such as Men’s Watch, Ladies’ Watch, Sports Watch, and Artistic Crafts, there are also general awards which can be given to any watch in all the prize categories. These include the best-of-show Aiguille d’Or, the hotly debated Revival Prize, the Innovation Prize, and the Special Jury Prize, which is given to “a personality, institution, or initiative that has played a fundamental role in promoting high quality watchmaking.” New for this year is the Audacity Prize, which “rewards the best watch, presented in one of the 12 categories, which features a non-conformist, offbeat approach to watchmaking.”
As always, watches are submitted for participation by their respective brands – this has in the past led to some criticism of the GPHG, which does not include major players like Omega, Rolex, and Patek Phillipe – although Rolex is participating insofar as Tudor has submitted the Black Bay 58 and the Black Bay GMT. One notable microbrand newcomer to the GPHG is Ming, which has submitted the Ming 19.01 in the Petite Aiguille category (watches between CHF 4,000-10,000).
The scope of the GPHG continues to expand – this year, there are a total of 105 participating brands, and a whopping 195 candidate watches. The first round of jury elimination voting is coming up, at which time the final competing …read more