The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, otherwise abbreviated to GPHG, is pretty much regarded as the Oscars of watchmaking.
It shines a light on, and hands over a very shiny gold award, to some of the best and brightest in the industry. This year was the 23rd edition of the GPHG awards and as usual, celebrated a single watch in 15 official categories; the “Aiguille d’Or” (Best in Show) award remaining the most coveted.
So, without further ado, it’s time for us deliver the official GPHG 2023 results directly from Geneva. From the best in technology and aesthetics, innovation and craftsmanship, let's explore the 2023 GPHG winners that have captured the hearts of a discerning jury and will no doubt leave an indelible mark in the history of horology…
Winner: Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Universelle RD #4
The most important award of the night is the Aiguille d'Or, which is essentially GPHG’s best in show category. For 2023, the award went to the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Universelle RD #4 and understandably so. This is an extremely complex watch with a total of 23 complications including a flying tourbillon, split-seconds flyback chronograph, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and a Grand Sonnerie Supersonnerie. Audemars Piguet had five nominations in total, and I was a little surprised that they hadn’t won anything up until this point but being GPHG 2023’s Aiguille d'Or winner definitely makes up for that.
Winner: Piaget Hidden Treasures
I’ll be honest, of all the watches in the Ladies’ category, the Pigaet Hidden Treasures was one I was certain wouldn’t win. But lo and behold, it’s taken home the gold award. According to the brand, it interprets the cuff watches from the 1960’s and offers a solid gold bangle engraved entirely by hand to evoke a texture similar to the bark of a tree. It’s certainly not to my taste; I’d have been happier to see Arnold & Son or Beauregard take the prize.
Winner: Dior Montres Grand Soir Automate Etoile de Monsieur Dior
The Dior Montres Grand Soir Automate Etoile de Monsieur Dior is a beautiful ladies watch, and one that certainly deserves the GPHG 2023 award here. It has a lovely story behind it; when Christian Dior was walking the streets of Paris one night, he found a star on the floor, a motif that would later become a symbol of luck for the designer. In honour of this story, the Montres Grand Soir Automate Etoile de Monsieur Dior boasts an automatic movement and Paris-themed dial which sees stars dance beneath the clouds.
Winner: Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans
As a huge lover of Parmigiani Fleurier’s integrated masterpiece, the PF Tonda Micro-Rotor, I am a little saddened this one didn’t make the cut, but my second choice would have been the Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans. This is the first release from the newly independent watchmaker and its design beautifully highlights superlative independent artisanship. The hand-engraved “dragon-scales” red gold dial is stunning and there’s so much to talk about going on through the case back that the watch probably deserves a dedicated hands-on review.
Winner: Voutilainen World Timer
The award for Men’s Complication went to the Voutilainen World Timer. Typically known for their traditional-looking, round watches, Voutilainen clearly surprised and impressed the judges with a cushion-shaped case and Worldtimer function placed at the centre of a black guilloche dial. The Worldtimer is entirely controlled using the single crown at 3 o’clock.
Winner: Ulysse Nardin Freak One
Taking the prize for Iconic was the Ulysse Nardin Freak One. I think the company’s Director Patrick Pruniaux summed up the watch pretty well in his acceptance speech. He explained that Ulysse Nardin are no masters of marketing, but they know how to make watches, and the Freak One is no ordinary watch, but a UFO that tells the time innovatively and iconically. That makes it certainly worthy of this prize.
Winner: Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit
Definitely the most simplistic-looking tourbillon watch in this category’s line-up, but the Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit is still a handsome design. The dawn-coloured dial appears like a classic time-only watch but through the open case back, you can witness the double-balance-spring tourbillon carriage.
Calendar & Astronomy
Winner: Bovet 1822 Récital 20 Astérium
How they picked a winner from this category, I’ll never know. It’s always an impressive line-up and we have to applaud all the brands here for mastering some of the most complex complications in horology. But the most complicated of them all is the Bovet 1822 Récital 20 Astérium. The manual-winding tourbillon has a sideral calendar which measures the exact time it takes for the earth to go round the sun (365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.77 seconds). It also displays the position of the stars in the sky, summer & winter equinox, annual calendar and plenty more…
Winner: Hautulence Sphere Series 1
After being fairly silent for several years, it’s great to see Hautulence’s recent reemergence get a round of applause. Known for their unconventional displays, they launched the Hautulence Sphere Series 1 watch earlier this year with an expressive rectangular case and a dial in two halves. The right side displaying a jumping hour complication and the left revealing the retrograde minutes placed above their in-house mechanical movement.
Winner: Petermann Bédat Chronographe Rattrapante
There were several worthy winners in the line-up for Chronograph at this year’s GPHG 2023 awards, but the jury ultimately chose the Petermann Bédat Chronographe Rattrapante. This Swiss watchmaker previously took home the "Horological Revelation Prize" back in 2020 and are quickly proving to be an independent company to look out for, especially now with their award-winning monopusher split-seconds chronograph with a jumping minute counter.
Winner: TUDOR Pelagos 39
The Sports category is a new one for GPHG 2023, replacing the category of Divers of previous years. I had my fingers crossed for DOXA in this instance since they are one of the lesser-known brands in the line-up and their Army model is a beast of a diver’s watch. But instead, the Tudor Pelagos took home the crown, (for the second year running if you include last year’s Diver’s category). I can’t deny it is a fantastic bit of kit for a price of just £3,930 offering a titanium case, COSC-certified movement and a water resistance of 200 metres.
Winner: Bulgari Serpenti Cleopatra
If there was a design to win the Jewellery GPHG 2023 award this year, it had to be the Bulgari Serpenti Cleopatra. It’s definitely more a piece of jewellery than a timepiece. It blinds with snake-inspired rose gold scales set with colourful topaz, rubellite, tanzanite and amethyst. At the very centre, appearing just like another gemstone, is a time-telling dial made from snow-setting diamonds.
Winner: Piaget Altiplano Métiers d'Art - Undulata
All of the timepieces nominated in this category are works of art, and I can only begin to imagine the painstaking detail and craft that goes into each of them. Taking home their second golden hand of the night was Piaget with the Altiplano Métiers d'Art – Undulata. I reckon it was the off-centred flying tourbillon that swayed the jury, as it did me. The complication is set on a backdrop of green, blue and iridescent hues.
Winner: Christopher Ward Bel Canto
I’m not even remotely surprised that British watchmaker Christopher Ward won the Petite Aiguille for their Bel Canto. It is one of the world’s most affordable Swiss Made mechanical chiming watches and has rightly taken over the internet these last twelve months, impressing with its futuristic aesthetic and FS01 in-house movement.
Winner: Raymond Weil Millésime automatic small seconds
If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a huge NOMOS Glashütte fan and they have already deservingly won the Challenge category before in 2018 with their Tangente neomatik 41 Update. But to see Raymond Weil take the prize here with their Millésime automatic small seconds watch is a nice surprise. They’re a well-priced Swiss watch brand and this design is a beautifully executed, vintage-inspired piece with plenty going for it. Let’s hope this award brings Raymond Weil a little more attention going forward.
Winner: L'Epée 1839 Time Fast II Chrome
For the off-the-wrist timekeeper, the award went to L'Epée 1839 Time Fast II Chrome. This fun and playful mechanical clock beautifully combines the horology and automotive worlds. Turning the ignition key starts the pistons of the V8 engine which move realistically up and down to then power the hours and minutes displayed on two stainless steel disks. These are placed upon the air filters feeding the dual carburetor banks on top of the engine.
So, there you have it, the winners of the GPHG 2023 awards. Do you agree with the results? Or is there a timepiece you believed should have gone home with a prize? Let us know in the comments below.
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