GPHG 2020 Breaking down the Oscars of watchmaking: The snubs

by Lewis Butterfield
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The Grand Prix D’Horologie De Geneve, the award show best described as the Oscars of watchmaking, held its annual award ceremony recently. As is inevitable with any awards event, there are always entrants which deserved to win a prize, but for whatever reason are deprived of the privilege.

Category:  Iconic

Criteria: men’s or ladies’ watches from an emblematic collection that has been exercising a lasting influence on watchmaking history and the watch market for more than 20 years.

Winner: Bvlgari Aluminium Chronograph

Snub: Girard-Perregaux Laureato infinity

When it comes to iconic in watchmaking, few names are mentioned before that of Gerald Genta. The man behind the revered Royal Oak and Nautilus was also the man behind the Girard-Perregaux Laureato, a model line which has become the back bone of the GP brand.

The latest release in the Laureato line, the Infinity edition is equipped with a handcrafted deep black onyx dial. Pink gold accents appear from the darkness, drawing the eyes to the information presented. This blend of aesthetic codes also features on other members of the Infinity collection, an expression of the brand’s infinite passion and unwavering respect for craftsmanship.

The Laureato Infinity is available in 38mm and 42mm options. Both versions are housed in a stainless-steel case which, along with the black onyx dial, provides the perfect foil for the various indications to shine. Both versions of the Laureato Infinity Edition feature an in-house self-winding movement, enhanced with traditional finishing and a pink gold oscillating weight. Consistent with Laureato tradition, alternating satin and polished finishes feature throughout. Great care is required when polishing the case and bracelet to ensure each type of finish is discrete with crisp delineation. The raised octagonal bezel features convex and concave surfaces which toy with light, culminating in alternating pockets of brilliance and shade.

The new Bvlgari Aluminium chronograph is a fantastic offering from the Italian fashion giant, but the Laureato infinity is a sleek, sexy reimaging of a truly Iconic model line. 

Category: Petite Aguille 

Criteria: watches with a retail price between CHF 4,000 and CHF 10,000. Smartwatches are admissible in this category.

Winner: Breitling Superocean Heritage’57

Snub: Sarpaneva x Moomin

Again, it is hard to find fault with the Breitling Superocean heritage 57. The watch is a revitalisation of a historically significant design, and its sales benefit a charitable cause. 

However, the watch which absolutely represents the most interesting and horologically intriguing proposition in this category is the Sarpaneva x Moomin.

A limited edition of 75 pieces (3 x 25) celebrating 75 years of Moomins, the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. This automatic wound wristwatch features three-layered skeletonized dials with 8 hand-painted Swiss Super-Luminova® emission colours in varying order creating unique combinations.

The craftsmanship on display here is reminiscent of timepieces costing many multiples more than the 5,380CHF price tag demanded of the Sarpaneva.

Category: Challenge

Criteria: watches with a retail price under CHF 4,000. Smartwatches are admissible in this category.

Winner: Tudor Black Bay 58

Snub: Kurono Bunkyō Tokyo

Here at Watchadvice we have spoken about our love for the Tudor Black bay 58, and in particular the recent blue addition. It is quite possibly the best vintage inspired diver on the market, and certainly the best within its price point.

However, when determining the best watches with a retail price under 4,000CHF, there is a watch that simply astonishes with its luminance.

KURONO is an initiative to create high-quality, Japan-made luxury timepieces designed by independent Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka. It aims to deliver to watch collectors a more accessible timepiece that shares the design DNA of Hajime’s exclusive handmade atelier watches, at affordable levels.

The Kurono Anniversary Green ‘mori’ continues the iconic art-deco design introduced by Hajime Asaoka, with its single-piece dial encased beneath a high-curvature box-sapphire crystal that mimics acrylic glass of the past, and provides a unique light-play.

The dial is a specially picked colour by Hajime-san in scintillating metallic green with a subtle radial sunburst pattern. Depending on how the light hits at different times of the day or from different angles, the dial displays shades of viridian and emerald, to pine and forest green. This ‘light play’ is further accentuated by the magnification effect of the box-sapphire, as well as the polished dial elements and hands.

The watch is in 316 steel with a solid case back, uses a Japanese-made mechanical self-winding ebauche movement, and features a power reserve of 40 hours. It’s size is 37mm due to Hajime-san’s preference for timeless and more classical dimensions, but wears larger due to the design of the lugs.

The Kurono bears a design and attention to detail that simply defies its astounding 1,799CHF price tag. 

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