Hosted by actor Edouard Baer, the GPHG's independent jury awarded 19 prizes to names such as Bvlgari, Chanel, Hermès, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin for their expertise and creativity.
In this article, I have selected some of the most incredible nominees of the Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, as well as the winners among women’s watch designs. One of them - Bvlgari’s ‘Serpenti Misteriosi Romani’ - took home the award for Best Jewellery Watch. It holds the astonishing title of being the most expensive high-end timepiece ever made. Costing almost €2,000,000, the price is largely owing to the 10 carat Sri Lankan sapphire, as well as a total of more than 60 carats of diamonds and 35 carats of sapphires which form the snake’s body and scales.
One of my personal favourite nominees in the Jewellery Watch category was Chopard’s ‘Waterlily’ watch from the 2019 ‘Red Carpet Collection.’ Crafted in ethical white gold, set with 43 carats of diamonds in the form of petals: heart, half moon and trapeze cuts mirrored nature’s floral forms. It required 36 weeks for Chopard’s artisans to complete the fully embellished dial, case and bracelet of this timepiece.
Van Cleef & Arpels were also represented at the awards, with a host of jewelled watches contending for different awards. In the ‘Secret Watch Jardin de Glace’, the maison has employed a Sri Lankan oval cut sapphire of 10.30 carats, as well as round, marquise cut and pear shaped sapphires, turquoise, round and baguette cut diamonds in white gold. An altogether more cosmic design embellished the ‘Lady Arpels™ Zodiac Lumineux Aries watch’: a glittering blue enamel dial reflects the starry night sky. The white gold bezel was adorned with diamonds, translucent blue enamel beads, a sculpted yellow gold Aries with a blue sapphire eye, yellow sapphires, and spessartite garnets - so many details to explore in one timepiece!
Moving to the Ladies Complication category, the most visually arresting design certainly belonged to the ‘Astronomia Fleurs de Jardin’ watch by Jacob & Co. Never one to shy away from grandiose, multi-dimensional complications, this piece was inspired by solar orbits. Under the three arms, gemstone flowers rotate clockwise around the dial - meaning that whenever you look at the watch face, the appearance is unique to that moment.
Another spectacular model that was also considered for an award, the ‘Soleil de Minuit’ flying tourbillon, comes courtesy of Chaumet. Resplendent in a multicoloured grand feu enamelled dial with a guilloché finish, it was created in collaboration with the artist Anita Porchet. Atop the delicate enamel artwork, the watch was embellished with topazes, garnets, sapphires, rubies and tourmalines that punctuate diamond spirals. The largest of them was a pear shaped garnet mounted in en tremblant setting that created extra movement inside the exquisite timepiece.
The 19th Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève awards were not limited to women’s jewellery watches only: the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ Grand Prix went to Audemars Piguet for their Royal Oak Self-winding Perpetual Calendar; the winner of the Ultra-Thin Ladies’ Watch Prize was Chanel, for their J12 Calibre 12.1. The Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize was awarded to MB&F, while the Men’s Complication Watch Prize went to Audemars Piguet, Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie. Audemars Piguet also won the Iconic Watch Prize with the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-thin. The Innovation Prize belongs to Vacheron Constantin, bestowed on the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar model.
The prize winners and a selection of the nominated designs are on display at the Geneva Musée d'Artet d’Histoire until November 14th 2019.