Gallery Gods

All 72 nominees for this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve shown at Venetian Arsenal

THE venue couldn’t be better. It was no less than the Venetian Arsenal, that cluster of shipyard and armories in Venice, which for a time was considered the largest industrial complex in Europe. It was ahead of its time. It is stunning until now.

On September 28, what it contained within some of its walls were just as amazing: all 72 watches that have made it to the shortlist for the 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG).

The watches represent 40 brands, and are divided in 12 categories — Ladies, Ladies’ Complication, Men’s Complication, Chronograph, Chronometry, Mechanical Exception, Sports, Jewelry, Artistic Crafts, “Petite Aiguille,” and Challenge. They were chosen by a panel composed of 30 experts coming from diverse backgrounds.

Around 500 privileged guests gathered at Venetian Arsenal to view the timepieces. The exhibit, dedicated to art and design, marked the third partnership between GPHG and BMW Italy, after the organizations’ events held in Rome in 2016 and in Milan in last year. So displayed alongside the timepieces was the new BMW 8 Series Coupe, a creating that reflects the innovation and design that went into the watches.

“The GPHG is thrilled about this renewed partnership with BMW Italy. As a showcase for the watch industry, we are especially delighted to be kicking off this 2018 road show in Venice, cradle of art and city of beauty, as well as a place of trade and international exchanges,” said Raymond Loretan, president of GPHG.

Further attractions during the evening were the moving ballet performance of Roberto Bolle and his troupe, and the gourmet and oenological experiences supplied by Da Vittoria, a Michelin three-star restaurant. Oh, and the exclusive tasting of Bolgheri Sassicaia, one the world’s most refined and prestigious wines, does not seem like a shabby feature, too.

From Venice, the 2018 GPHG nominees will be flown to Hong Kong so they can be displayed at the Liang Yi Museum on October 10 and 11. They will then be moved to The Hour Glass in Singapore for an exhibit that runs from October 17 to 21. Upon returning to Geneva, the 72 watches will be housed in the Palatine rooms of the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire from November 1 to 14, where they will be accompanied by other shows dedicated to watch-making art and culture.

The winning watches will be announced on November 9 at the 18th GPHG prize-giving ceremony set at the Theatre du Leman in Geneva.