Live from Geneva! It's the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève.
The 2022 edition of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) – the watch industry's top awards show – just wrapped up in Geneva. All the categories have been announced, including the highly coveted Aiguille d'Or, the event's top prize, which this year ended up in the very deserving hands of one of the watch world's most popular personalities.
The GPHG is the best showcase the watch world has to highlight its best and brightest. It's not perfect by any means, and a number of important and influential watchmakers decline to take part. You'll notice that there were no watches from Rolex, Richemont (outside of Van Cleef & Arpels), or the Swatch Group in contention. But the GPHG does, in fact, matter. It's one of the few events that brings together many aspects of the watch industry – from mechanical clocks and jewelry to all elements of Swiss watchmaking culture.
I'm writing this story in between the ceremony at Geneva's Théâtre du Léman and the Gala dinner, so without further ado, let's take a quick look over the winners of all 20+ categories with some quick thoughts.
Winner: MB&F LM Sequential EVO
Quick Take: I don't have much to add here that wasn't already covered in my introductory Hands-On with MB&F's first-ever chronograph. The LM Sequential EVO is a positively brilliant piece of engineering and I think the jury made an excellent choice with the winner of the Grand Prize. I heartily encourage you to read our previous coverage on the watch (here and here) – and I also want to offer a huge congratulations to Max Büsser, Stephen McDonnell, and the entire MB&F team.
Winner: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Automatic 36mm
Quick Take: I'm on the record as being a huge fan of the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF, so I'm happy to see the brand walk away with some new hardware to commemorate the collection's success. I do find it interesting that out of all the categories the Tonda PF was shortlisted in, it ended up winning in a category it isn't immediately associated with, in Ladies' watches. It's a deserving winner, either way.
Winner: Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
Quick Take: I must be one complicated lady because I absolutely love this watch. We took a close look at the model and complication when this watch was announced, but I don't think any of us could have guessed the – spoiler alert – multiple end-of-year accolades that awaited it.
Winner: Rexhep Rexhepi Chronometre Contemporain II
Quick Take: Some of the loudest applause of the night came after Rexhep Rexhepi was announced as the winner of the Men's category for the Chronometre Contemporain II, three/four years after he won the same category for the first edition of the watch. Check out my coverage of the watch, right here.
Winner: Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
Quick Take: That's right – Hermès ended up with both the Men's and Women's Complication prizes at tonight's show. Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic watch (as I mentioned above), but I would honestly have preferred to see the jury spread the love around a bit and showcase more than one model family.
Winner: TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition Calibre Heuer 02
Quick Take: No one knows what this category actually entails, but in the words of the immortal Will Ferrell, it's provocative. It gets the people going.
Yes, the Monaco is iconic. As for what makes it "more" iconic in its Gulf Racing guise than the other shortlisted watches (such as the IWC Big Pilot and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak)? I couldn't tell you.
Winner: H. Moser & Cie. Cylindrical Tourbillon
Quick Take: I was quick to call the H. Moser & Cie. Cylindrical Tourbillon one of my favorite high-end watch releases of the year after it debuted at Watches & Wonders in March, so I have to say I was glad to see it honored in some fashion tonight. The tourbillon category was one of the toughest to predict, with Grand Seiko, Greubel Forsey, and Theo Auffret also in the running, but I'm glad to say at least one of the other shortlisted brands was honored in another category later in the evening.
Calendar & Astronomy
Winner: Krayon Anywhere
Quick Take: My favorite watch from Geneva Watch Days this year was – as I said at the time – not a new watch at all. First released in 2020, the Krayon Anywhere was my favorite watch of the young trade show as well as this year's winner in the Calendar & Astronomy category. I'll leave you with how I described it a few months ago – "This is simply the smartest watch I've seen in a long time (able to accurately compute the sunrise-sunset times in a single location for an entire year), and it's also one of the most comfortable pieces I tried on all week."
Winner: Ferdinand Berthoud FB 2RSM.2-1
Quick Take: Ferdinand Berthoud creates so few watches, but the ones it does release are usually bound to show up on stage during the GPHG. With the Mechanical Exception award, the FB 2RSM.2-1 becomes the fourth Ferdinand Berthoud watch to win at the once-a-year show.
Winner: Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf Tantalum
Quick Take: With MB&F's chronograph winning the Aiguille d'Or, the stage was cleared for Grönefeld to walk away with the Chronograph prize. This is a super cool watch (for more details, click here) that absolutely deserved to be honored in some fashion tonight.
Winner: Tudor Pelagos FXD
Quick Take: You know I love the countdown bezel! So you'll hear no complaints from me that Tudor ended up with this year's dive watch prize. Revisit when Hodinkee contributor Allen Farmelo took it diving, earlier this year.
Winner: Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewelry
Quick Take: Bulgari, winner of last year's Aiguille d'Or, earned this year's GPHG prize for Jewelry with a very elaborate take on the Serpenti. I'm not qualified to judge a watch based on its gem setting, but it's hard to imagine there's anything more difficult than setting a diamond bezel inside the mouth of a golden snake.
Winner: Kari Voutilainen Ji-Ku
Quick Take: A year without Kari Voutilainen winning a GPHG is a year not worth living. So thank goodness Kari Voutilainen ended up on stage at the Théâtre du Léman for the Ji-Ku, a remarkable timepiece that combines the best of Swiss horological engineering and Japanese craftsmanship – brought to life through the mind of a single crafty Finn named Voutilainen.
Winner: Trilobe Nuit Fantastique Dune Edition
Quick Take: An underdog walks away with one of the more hotly contested prizes of the night. Regular Hodinkee readers will be familiar with the work of Trilobe (the Hodinkee Shop is even an Authorized Retailer of the brand), so it's nice to see a new face on stage against fierce competition from the likes of Grand Seiko, Zenith, and Massena LAB. If you're new to the Trilobe brand, don't miss my In-Depth on the company from earlier this year.
Winner: M.A.D.1 RED Edition
Quick Take: Max Büsser must feel comfortable on the stage of the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva – the MB&F founder won his ninth GPHG award (including the Aiguille d'Or tonight) and the first under the M.A.D 1 branding with the funky (and budget-friendly) M.A.D.1 RED Edition. Cole took this exact watch for A Week On The Wrist a few months back.
Winner: Van Cleef & Arpels Fontaine Aux Oiseaux Automaton
Quick Take: I was personally rooting for the Alain Silberstein collab UTINAM clock in this category, but the Van Cleef is also a deserving winner. Seriously – just watch this video from this year's Watches & Wonders of the automaton in action.
Winner: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon
Quick Take: I'm beyond thrilled that Grand Seiko was recognized by the Swiss industry for a genuinely pioneering release in the Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon. I'm happy that MB&F LM Sequential EVO ended up with the Aiguille d'Or, but I have to admit part of me is disappointed we didn't see the Kodo walk away with the top prize. The award for Chronometry is a great consolation for one of the most incredible releases of 2022.
Winner: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary
Quick Take: Bulgari won last year's top prize at the GPHG for the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, and then they went and made the standard Octo Finissimo even thinner with the Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary edition. Only one brand has gone back-to-back with Aiguille d'Or wins (Patek Philippe, in the early 2000s), so it wasn't in the cards for Bulgari this year, but the Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary still ended up with the Audacity Prize for good reason.
Winner: Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier
Quick Take: "I don't think it would suit my wrist, but the Lady Arpels Heures Florale definitely stole my heart."
That was my dear friend James Stacey's reaction after handling the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier during Watches & Wonders earlier this year, and I think he's on to something. This very special Van Cleef & Arpels timepiece must have stolen the heart of the jury to end up with the equally special Innovation prize.
Winner: Sylvain Pinaud Origine
Quick Take: I'll admit I thought this Sylvain Pinaud had a small chance at taking away the Men's Prize, but I should have never doubted the brilliance of Rexhep Rexhepi and his team. That said, it was still fantastic to see it end up with some sort of recognition. The Origine is already a quiet hit among indie lovers and is set to make Sylvain Pinaud a star.
Special Jury Prize
Winner: François Junod
Quick Take: François Junod is the Swiss watch industry's go-to automaton specialist. He's had a lengthy career across the industry, and the GPHG jury chose to honor him today. It's rare for behind-the-scenes makers such as Junod to be honored in this way, which should highlight just how highly he is thought of across the watch world.
Best Young Student
Winner: Simon Debaz
Quick Take: I'll be upfront – I have no idea who Simon Debaz is. But that's kind of the point of honoring a student, right? I can't wait to see what he does in the future.