With so many exceptional luxury watches, but so little time to shop for them all, a panel of the world’s most eminent Swiss watch experts has made the task easier by awarding prizes to 16 truly special timepieces. The winners of the recent 15th Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève include super-premium watches hand-crafted by Antoine Preziuso, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Fabergé, Girard-Perregaux, Habring2, Hermès, Hublot, Jaquet Droz, Laurent Ferrier, Piaget, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin and Voutilainen. But they all took a backseat to the Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix winner, Greubel Forsey, for the stunning Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision. To help you narrow down which pieces to add to your holiday gift list, here are some of our favorites, all of which really make our hearts tick-tock.
Photo Credit: Greubel Forsey
Greubel Forsey, Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision
By incorporating a dome into the sapphire crystal on the back of Greubel Forsey's Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision, this white-gold enameled beauty allows the inclined tourbillon cage to overlap the reference surface of the rear bridges. It’s a triumph of technology and craftsmanship with geometry similar to a Roman vault, and it requires such expertise that each bridge is signed by the craftsman-decorator who executed it. With 288 parts in the movement and a 72-hour power-reserve indicator, it’s a 24/7 winner.
Photo Credit: Voutilainen
The Men’s Watch Prize winner features a 24-hour second time zone, retrograde power reserve indicator, sapphire crystal, Côtes de Genève decoration, and handmade movement with 250 components and 28 jewels. Made of German silver, this mechanical topflight allows the wearer to adjust the second time zone by the crown, which then advances by jumping an hour each time rather than rotating freely, smartly avoiding any loss of accuracy. Only 12 of Voutilainen's GMR have been made.
Photo Credit: Antoine Preziuso
Antoine Preziuso Genève, Tourbillon of Tourbillons
A double winner of the Innovation Watch Prize and Public Prize, Antoine Preziuso’s mechanical choreography is his latest work to feature three tourbillons on a revolving plate. Producing this “mechanical ballet” involves a central planetary triple-differential, and requires the smallest ball-bearing in the world—both made by Preziuso. The result is the poetic Tourbillon of Tourbillons, a timepiece so complicated that that no computer program can accurately simulate it.
Photo Credit: Piaget
Piaget, Altiplano Chronograph
With understated simplicity, Piaget’s Altiplano newcomer won the Chronograph Watch Prize for its legendary slenderness and the added complication of an ultra-thin hand-wound chronograph function. It has a 4.65 mm movement and case just 8.24 mm thin. This year, judges were so impressed with Piaget’s line, that it was the only watchmaker to win for two watches in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.
Photo Credit: Piaget
Piaget, Extremely Piaget Cuff Watch
The Revival Watch Prize went to this glamorous showstopper with bursts of color and shapes inspired by the 1960s and 1970s. Piaget’s 1950s development of ultra-thin movements made it possible to introduce hard stone dials without expanding the slim cases. Crafted using goldsmithing and haute couture methods, the Extremely Piaget Cuff Watch gives the metal a distinctive character with the hammered gold technique. This glittering Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie winner is a jewelry-meets-watchmaking work of wearable art.
Photo Credit: Hublot
Hublot, Big Bang Broderie
This sexy and glamorous ode to femininity took the Ladies’ Watch Prize for its merger of Hublot’s fine watch-making with St. Gallen embroidery created by Bischoff, the leading Swiss house for haute couture and lingerie. The Big Bang Broderie's design features an embroidered skull pattern on a dial studded with 11 diamonds, and soft arabesques on the bezel and strap. The HUB1110 automatic mechanical movement has 63 components and 21 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve, and comes in gold, silver or an all-black version studded with black diamonds.
Photo Credit: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet, Diamond Punk
A bold, angular upstart stole the Jewelry Watch Prize. Disrupting traditional watch design, this striking haute jewelry cuff bracelet watch uses 7,848 snow-set diamonds to define its 56 sharp pyramid facets. Another 300 diamonds bedazzle the dial, which is hidden under a sliding cover. Each avant garde Diamond Punk watch is result of 1,440 painstaking hours of labor by watchmakers, designers, jewelers and gem-setters working as a team.