The nominees for The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) were announced last week. It's a yearly competition open to all watch brands, covering fine horology like the Oscars ceremony covers ingenious film. Although many of the category winners may convincingly exceed the £50,000 mark, we picked our favourite models that aren't going to require a remortgage.
(Hit the watches or titles for more pics and info.)
There were plenty of classy entries in the ladies category this year. Arguably the most impressive was the Audemars Piguet the Millenary Woman, but at a sky-high price of £375,000 it's only really suitable for women worth more than Oprah Winfrey with an appreciation for high-end horology. I'm no economist but I doubt that's a big target market. We loved this smart, fresh-looking ladies Carrera designed for the sultry young British supermodel Cara Delevingne, TAG's new lady ambassador. It comes in a large 41 mm with just enough diamond to make it super chic.
The new Tiffany collection marked a watchmaking revival for the brand that invented the "New York Minute". We were pleased to see Tiffany taking watchmaking seriously again, moving away from the diamond cocktail watches that have characterised their last half-century. This slimline, elegant model is inspired by a Tiffany & Co. gold watch given to U.S President Franklin D.Roosevelt in 1945. We love its simplicity, Arabic numbers, and that it says New York on the dial.
As with the ladies, there were more impressive watches in this category, such as the Audemars Piguet Schumacher Laptimer, which is possibly the most technical chrono of all time. But that will cost you two arms and two legs, or £200K depending on which you can spare, and here TAG do vintage-re-issue as well as anyone. This is based on the original 1963 Carrera, using the same iconic logo and the aged calfskin leather strap. Since industry big gun Jean-Claude Biver took over at TAG last December, they have put out a number of first-rate watches and are heading back up the ladder.
Petit Aiguille (watches under £5,300)
Hermès are now bona fide players in the watch world and this new collection takes them deeper into serious watchmaker territory. As well as its in-house movement, we love the simplistic design, the slimline fit, and the Art Deco numbers. The whole collection is very tidy indeed, including the stunning Perpetual Calendar (pics and details here).
Capeland Shelby® Cobra Collection: Limited Edition in Stainless Steel
In the world of luxury timepieces, this type of collaboration is about as common as a dismissive attitude towards the new Apple Watch, but here, romantic hopes for a harmonious fusion have finally borne fruit.
The winning timepieces will be on show in London at the SalonQP event at the Saatchi Gallery on November 12th to 14th 2015. Check out the full list of entries here.