And The Winners Are…

Indies comprise the majority of awardees in the 18th Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve

AKRIVIA, Bovet, Chanel, De Bethune, Greubel Forsey, Habring2, Hermes, Konstantin Chaykin, Krayon, Laurent Ferrier, Nomos Glashutte, Seiko, Singer Reimagined, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels — these are the brands that have won the major and special categories in the 18th Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, or GPHG, the watch-making world’s annual pat on its back for jobs well done. And, judging by the list of this year’s winners, it’s clearly the low-volume but high-craftsmanship brands that got the chunk of appreciation from the jurors.

All right, Seiko made it to the roster. But then again it won the Sport category with its Prospex 1968 Diver’s Re-creation, besting the other pieces which all come from equally large-scale operations, namely Montblanc, TAG Heuer, Zenith and Ulysse Nardin. Only Faberge qualifies as the low-volume watchmaker, compared to the rest of the finalists, in this category.

Atsushi Kaneko, Director of Seiko Watch Corporation, winner of the Sports Watch Prize 2018
Revival Watch Prize- Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin

Of the 15 brands which won, Chanel, Greubel Forsey, Ulysse Nardin and Van Cleef & Arpels repeated their achievements in 2017 (though not necessarily taking the same awards). Vacheron Constantin is also a repeat winner in this year’s GPHG, distinguishing itself not only with the special award it took this year — the Revival Prize courtesy of its Historiques Triple Calendar 1942 — but also on account of it being the sole large and storied maison to land in the honors’ list.

Van Cleef & Arpels, apart from being a back-to-back awardee, this year topped all the others by being the only brand to win two categories, which are the Ladies’ Complication with the Lady Arpels Planetarium, and Jewelry, via its Secret de Coccinelle. 

Eric de Rocquigny, Directeur International Operations & Métiers of Van Cleef & Arpels, winner of the Jewellery Watch Prize 2018 and the Women’s Complication Watch Prize 2018
Pascal Raffy, Owner of Bovet 1822, winner of the "Aiguille d'Or" Grand Prix 2018

But taking the Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix — the overall best among the best — was the Bovet 1822 Recital 22 Grand Recital. This piece is the latest evolution of the brand’s Recital line introduced in 2016. In the Recital 22 Grand Recital, Bovet presents an astronomical theater in which the watch’s flying tourbillion becomes a depiction of the sun, on top of which resides a spherical, rotating rendition of Earth that displays a 24-hour scale. A moon, also spherical, completes an orbit around the Earth in exactly 29.53 days. This special Bovet, also a retrograde perpetual calendar, is actually a Tellerium Orrery, or a planetarium on a wristwatch. That it took the top honors in the 18th GPHG should not come as a surprise.

Meanwhile, the GPHG jurors also cited the vast contributions of Jean-Claude Biver to the Swiss watch industry, if not to the watch-making business in general, by giving the current non-executive president of the LVMH Group’s watch division the Special Jury Prize.

Here are the 2018 GPHG winners:

Nicolas Beau, Directeur International Horlogerie et Joaillerie of Chanel, winner of the Ladies' Watch Prize 2018
Eric de Rocquigny, Directeur International Operations & Métiers of Van Cleef & Arpels, winner of the Jewellery Watch Prize 2018 and the Women’s Complication Watch Prize 2018
Rexhep Rexhepi, Watchmaker and Founder of Akrivia, winner of the Men's Watch Prize 2018
Laurent Ferrier, Founder, winner of the Men’s Complication Watch Prize 2018
Marco Borraccino,Co-founder and CEO of Singer Reimagined, winner of the Chronograph Watch Prize 2018 and Nicolas Wiederrecht, Co-director Agenhor SA
Pierre Jacques,President and CEO of De Bethune, winner of the Chronometry Watch Prize 2018
Stephen Forsey,Co-founder of Greubel Forsey, winner of the Mechanical Exception Watch Prize 2018
Atsushi Kaneko, Director of Seiko Watch Corporation, winner of the Sports Watch Prize 2018
Laurent Dordet, La Montre Hermès CEO, winner of the Artistic Crafts Watch Prize 2018
Uwe Ahrendt, CEO of Nomos Glashütte, winner of the Challenge Watch Prize 2018
Konstantin Chaykin, Founder, winner of Audacity Prize 2018
Maria & Richard Habring, CEOs and owners of Habring2, winners of the "Petite Aiguille" Prize 2018
Revival Watch Prize- Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin
Rémi Maillat, Founder of Krayon, winner of the Innovation Prize 2018
Jean-Claude Biver, President non-executive of the LVMH Group Watch division, Chairman of Hublot & Zenith, winner of the Special Jury Prize 2018