Brian M. Afuang
June 19, 2019    |    

Watch industry’s ‘Oscars’ shuffles categories

2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve adds, deletes some groupings

LIKE time itself, apparently the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) also marches on. Because in its 2019 edition the watch awards group has added four categories in which brands could enter their best and latest, while also deleting just as many other categories.

No longer listed in the 2019 categories, but which were present in the 2018 GPHG, are the Revival, Innovation, Sports Watch and Audacity prizes. But added this year are the Diver’s and Iconic categories. The Calendar and Astronomy, and Horological Revelation categories are returning to the list of prizes.


The GPHG explains the changes as part of its “perpetually shifting, evolving and adapting” character. The group on May 1 launched the search for the 19th edition of the awards. Brands have been given until the end of June to submit their entries.

The Diver’s category — seemingly a transformation of the previous Sports Watch prize since the winners here have tended to be diver’s pieces anyway — is dedicated to watches whose functions and materials have been designed for underwater activities.

The Iconic category is open to watches coming from an emblematic collection which had influenced watchmaking history for more than 25 years.

The Calendar and Astronomy category returns to accept men’s mechanical watches fitted with at least one calendar and/or astronomical complication.

The Horological Revelation prize also comes back to honor a creation from a youthful brand.

The top overall award in GPHG, of course, is the “Aiguille d’Or,” which in 2018 was clinched by the Bovet Recital 22 Grand Recital. There is no word yet if the GPHG will name a Special Jury Prize for a personality which had a profound contribution to the watchmaking industry. Receiving this award last year was Jean-Claude Biver.


Besides the four new categories, the rest of the awards groupings are Ladies (women’s watches with “basic” indications and a maximum eight-carat gem setting); Ladies’ Complication (watches which have innovative complications); Men’s (also having basic functions but only a five-carat cap on gems); Men’s Complication (watches which do not fit the definition of the Men’s and Mechanical Exception categories); Chronometry (watches with at least one tourbillon and/or a special escapement and/or another development improving chronometric precision); Mechanical Exception (men’s or ladies’ watches featuring a special mechanism, such as an innovative or sophisticated display, an automaton, a striking or any other acoustic function, a belt-driven movement or any other original and/or exceptional horological concept); Chronograph (mechanical chronographs which may have additional indications and/or complications); Jewelry (watches with exceptional gem settings); and Artistic Crafts (watches lavished with decorative techniques like enameling, lacquering, engraving, guilloche, skeleton-working, etc.).

Meanwhile, both the “Petite Aiguille” and Challenge categories accept smartwatches. “Petite Aiguille” is dedicated to watches priced between CHF4,000 and CHF10,000, Challenge is for those that cost less than CHF4,000.

GPHG Director Carine Maillard had previously explained the inclusion of additional awards is to “acknowledge the vitality and creativity of watch-making art in all its diversity.”

“We adapt the prize list each year based on trends especially observed at the main watch shows,” she said.

The list of watches pre-selected by the jury will be revealed on September 2. Winners will be announced on November 7 during the 19th GPHG Awards Ceremony at the Theatre du Leman in Geneva.


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