GPHG 2022: Big Wins for Independent Watchmaking and Modern Classics

This year's GPHG awards celebrate a golden age in watchmaking with modern fine watchmaking icons.

If this year's Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) is anything to go by, the industry is back with a vengeance and pouring all its creativity into a new era of fine watchmaking. Throughout the year, we've seen remarkable timepieces being released. The entries for each of the 21 categories in this year's awards demonstrate that even more explicitly.

With two new awards compared with last year's edition, GPHG 2022 was its biggest ever. The new categories were for Mechanical Clock and Chronometry, and not only were the nominees for the former varied, creative, and impressive, the winner was even more outstanding. Here are some of the most notable wins of the year. 

The Aiguille d'Or winner, MB&F's Legacy Machine Sequential Evo.
The Aiguille d'Or winner, MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential Evo.

Aiguille d’Or

MB&F's Legacy Machine Sequential Evo captured the votes of the jurors easily, with its integrated dual chronograph and multiple timing modes thanks to the "Twinverter" binary switch that Stephen McDonnell developed for the watch's movement. Not only are the patented chronograph clutches used in this calibre ingenious, but its display is also bold and full of action as the chronographs are activated. The case itself is also unique, using zirconium that's polished to a stunning finish. And if you look carefully, you'll see an image of a spider in the watch's design, adding nuance to Max Büsser's watch creativity. Definitely a well-deserved winner.

The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur takes world time travelling to a new level.
The Hermès Arceau Le temps voyageur takes time zone crossings to a new level.

Men's and Ladies’ Complication Watch

Hermès' take on watchmaking is, as usual, poetic and playful. The Arceau Le temps voyageur is the brand's creative take on the world time function, with a special module developed by Jean-François Mojon of Chronode. It displays the local time on a satellite, while the home hour is presented via an aperture at 12 o'clock. As you adjust the time, the satellite literally jumps on the dial, making its way across the globe as you transit time zones. What better way to show the time than this? 

What surprised us at this GPHG is the Arceau Le temps voyageur winning not one but two categories, the Men's and Ladies' Complication. Quite a fell swoop, as it were, and another triumph for unisex watchmaking with sophistication and style. 

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RSM.2-1
The Ferdinand Berthoud Chronometre FB 2RSM.2-1 is a truly exceptional watch..

Mechanical Exception

Ferdinand Berthoud's Chronomètre FB 2RSM.2-1 is exceptionally handsome, based on the clockmaker's Marine Clock No. 8. It combines many elements of watchmaking and cohesively brings them together into one timepiece, from the digital hour display to the regulator style minutes. It has a truly exceptional movement, featuring a tourbillon regulator with a suspended fusee-and-chain transmission and barrel. It also incorporates a deadbeat seconds and stop-seconds function. All these, and it also has a chronometer rating. It's a masterpiece inside and out.

The Van Cleef and Arpels Fontaine aux Oiseaux.
The Van Cleef and Arpels Fontaine Aux Oiseaux automaton is truly a grand timepiece featuring multiple crafts.

Mechanical Clock

While we're fond of clocks and other non-wristwatch objects in general, we have to say that this new category presented highly modern variations of the classic mantel or clock tower. And in this category, Van Cleef & Arpels' Fontaine Aux Oiseaux automaton fully deserves its win. If you haven't seen this at work, the automaton function causes the water surface, made from chalcedony, rock crystal, and aluminium, to ripple. Then an enamelled water lily blooms and a golden, gem-set dragonfly takes wing. Finally, two automaton birds carved out of gold and set with stones begin a courtship display, with birdsong ringing out.

Meanwhile, the time is shown at the base of the fountain in a retrograde display. It's an incredible performance that you will want to enjoy over and over. Combining so many different elements of clockmaking craft into one single object, perfectly synchronised with each other, makes this truly an exceptional timepiece. 

The Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon wins GPHG 2022's discretionary Chronometry prize.
The Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon wins GPHG 2022's Chronometry prize.

Chronometry

The rules for the Chronometry prize state that it goes to a watch with remarkable precision in timekeeping performance, certified by an inspection authority. The award is discretionary, and it goes to Grand Seiko's Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon. This is the brand's first mechanical complication and is unique in having the tourbillon and constant-force mechanism operating as one unit. This minimises energy loss and ensures the regulator delivers consistent and highly precise timekeeping. The watch more than measures up to COSC standards across its entire power reserve of three days.

The watch itself also looks incredible, thanks to the skeletonised dial, which reveals the movement and balances it with negative space on the watch. Skeletonised lugs match the aesthetic of the watch design, giving Grand Seiko's most complex timepiece a highly contemporary and technical look. 

Here's the complete list of all winners:

Aiguille d'Or: MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential Evo

Ladies' Watch: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Automatic

Ladies' Complication Watch: Hermès Arceau Le temps voyageur

Men's Watch: Atelier Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain II

Men's Complication Watch: Arceau Le temps voyageur

Iconic Watch: TAG Heuer Monaco x Gulf

Tourbillon Watch: H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton

Calendar and Astronomy Watch: Krayon Anywhere

Mechanical Exception Watch: Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RSM.2-1

Chronograph Watch: Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf Tantalum

Diver's Watch: Tudor Pelagos FXD

Jewellery Watch: Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery

Artistic Crafts Watch: Voutilainen Ji-Ku

Petite Aiguille: Trilobe Nuit Fantastique Dune Edition

Challenge Watch: M.A.D. Editions M.A.D.1 Red

Mechanical Clock: Van Cleef & Arpels Fontaine Aux Oiseaux automaton

Chronometry: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon

Horological Revelation: Sylvain Pinaud Origine

Audacity: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary

Innovation: Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier 

Special Jury: François Junod

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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