Every year in November, the heaviest hitters in the watch world assemble in Geneva for one of the most important events of the year: the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). Ahead of the main event on November 10th, some 650 members of the GPHG selected 90 timepieces out of 254 entries as finalists in this year’s competition. The 84 watches and 6 clocks are divided into 15 categories spanning 20 prizes including the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix best-in-show award.
Founded 22 years ago, the GPHG started as a relatively low-key affair but has grown to become a major influence in the watch industry, and a place where the world’s top brands battle it out for bragging rights and social media clout. Here are some of the highlights among this year’s nominees.
Men’s Watch Category: Zenith Calibre 135 Observatoire
Zenith produced the Calibre 135 movement from 1949 to 1962, but in addition to the consumer version, it also created an “O” iteration solely for observatory chronometry competitions. The winner of 230 chronometry prizes — a major record in the history of watchmaking — the Calibre 135 “O” is now back in this stunning 10-piece limited edition. To make it even more drool-worthy, Zenith also convinced legendary watchmaker Kari Voutilainen to undertake the hand-finishing of the movement, creating a true work of horological art.
Men’s Complication Category: Singer Reimagined Barista
If there’s one thing Porsche fans love as much as their 911s it’s a good shot of espresso. That, we assume, was the thinking behind this highly specialized chronograph from the famous Porsche customizer’s watch division. Outfitted in a steel case and espresso brown strap, the Barista features a single pusher to activate its 60-second chronograph, and a visual scale to time your perfect shot. Milk frother not included.
Iconic Category: TAG Heuer Monaco x Gulf
Of all of the many versions of the TAG Heuer Monaco released over the years, this 2022 edition might have the most historical clout. A throwback to the days of TAG Heuer’s legendary partnership with JW Automotive Engineering (Le Mans overall winner in 1968, 1969 and 1975) and the watch became an icon thanks to Steve McQueen, who wore one on screen in 1971’s Le Mans. The return of this famous livery paired with TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 calibre proves the design has plenty of life left in it yet.
Tourbillon Category: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon
It takes a fair bit of technical jargon – and more words than we have room for here – to explain how Seiko’s Caliber 9ST1 is revolutionary, but in short, it’s the first tourbillon to utilize a constant-force mechanism as one unit on a single axis. Why does this matter? In a word: accuracy. You don’t, however, need a certificate in watchmaking to appreciate the Zaratsu polish on the Platinum 950 and Brilliant Hard Titanium case, or the hand-lacquered strap made from the same leather used for samurai armour.
Mechanical Exception Category: Chopard L.U.C Full-Strike Tourbillon
The watches in this category are celebrated for pushing the boundaries of high-watchmaking, and this exceptional Chopard certainly qualifies. Created to mark the 25th anniversary of L.U.C, the Maison’s artisanal movement division, this watch features a chronometer-certified L.U.C 08.02-L calibre equipped with a tourbillon and a minute-repeater that chimes the hour using a patented gong crafted from a single piece of sapphire crystal. Hand-finished to the loftiest of specifications, this stunning limited-edition is one of very few watches in the world to be awarded the esteemed Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal).