By Zahra Al-Kateb
The 14th Edition of the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve is under way, and this year no less than 72 pre selected watches will be running to win the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix.
With this year’s GPHG attracting record participation, all major watch groups are being represented, along with a number of independent companies.
Vote for your favorite amongst the following pre-selected watches and automatically participate in the drawing to win a Girard – Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Petite Seconde, worth $11372.29.
Here are the six finalists in the “Petite Aiguille” category. Tomorrow we will be revealing the Sports category.
BELL & ROSS, BR03-92 CERAMIC BLACK MATTE
Because Bell & Ross watches meet the demands of those working under extreme conditions, Bell & Ross has established a reputation among professional users. Today astronauts, fighter pilots, divers, mine-clearing experts and elite police officers use Bell & Ross watches as a tool in their work.
In their quest to create the ideal utilitarian watch—drawing on their experience in the aeronautical and military fields— engineers, master watchmakers, designers and professional aviators pooled their expertise to define a novel concept: the instrument watch.
Since aeronautical instrumentation is the gold standard in terms of readability, reliability and performance, the BR 03 instrument watch echoes the design principles of a plane’s cockpit clock. A utilitarian watch, perfectly suited for professional use, it is
the ideal embodiment of the brand’s philosophy: functionality drives design.
With the constant ambition to remain at the cutting edge of watchmaking technique, Bell & Ross is a pioneer in the latest technologies, mainly those first created for aeronautical or military use. In 2014, stamping its modern vision on professional watchmaking, Bell & Ross enhanced the BR 03 instrument watch with a high-tech, hard-wearing material: ceramic.
In aeronautics, and especially aerospace, ceramics are the material of choice for parts that must withstand extremely high temperatures, exposure to acids, corrosion and erosion. This is why ceramics are commonly found in thermal cladding or the nose cones of spacecrafts and due to its biocompatibility it is often found in the medical world.
Bell & Ross has reworked the ceramic, developing a specific manufacturing process which enhances the intrinsic qualities of this remarkable material, which resists scratching, does not fade, and weighs less than other materials.
• Scratch-proof: Ceramic is one of the hardest materials in the world, after diamond, making it resistant to wear and fading. Its unglazed color will stand the test of time.
• Lightweight: lighter than steel, it is still ultra-strong.
• Comfortable: hypoallergenic, easy to wear, it is soft to the touch and immediately adapts to body temperature.
Producing a BR 03 from ceramic forced the designers to revise the complex construction of the case. The BR 03 CERAMIC is built around the movement and its steel container protected by a shell, a cover and a ceramic case back. The eight screws visible on the outside of the ceramic case act like a clamp to seal the watch, guaranteeing its complete solidity and water resistance.
A genuine professional tool, the BR 03 responds to the legibility requirements of professional aviators:
• The matte black finish of the case found on aircraft instrument panels optimizes reading the dial by preventing reflection.
• The sober design, black dial, large white numerals, shape of the hands and photoluminescent coating allow immediate reading of the time, both during the day and at night.
CHOPARD, GRAND PRIX DE MONACO HISTORIQUE CHRONO
The new collection of Grand Prix de Monaco Historique watches is composed of three precision instruments intended to support drivers. This complete high-performance range is composed of three models: the Chrono, the Automatic and the Power control, all dedicated to the most prestigious of the classic Grand Prix races. Together, they embody Chopard’s passion for racing as well as its demanding horological standards.
Featuring racing cars dating from the 1920s through to 1985, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique is by nature a multi-faceted competition that brings together a number of profoundly different machines. They all embody the mechanical excellence of their era and are driven in real-life conditions by passionately dedicated drivers. Serving as sponsor and official timekeeper of the race since 2002, Chopard is also involved for emotional reasons. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard’s co-president, is a keen aficionado of historical cars. For each edition, held every two years, Chopard has thus far presented a limited-edition chronograph – the type of model typically associated with racing. In 2014 and for the very first time, Chopard is launching a full-fledged collection related to this race. The new Grand Prix de Monaco range thus offers a complete range of watches featuring functions as varied as the three main types of car engines: V6, V8 and V12.
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic watch is the ultimate timekeeping instrument. Its COSC-certified self-winding calibre is very much like a V6 engine. It guarantees chronometric performance to match the demands of drivers and of Chopard itself. Playing the role of a V8 engine, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Power Control features a power-reserve indicator placed at 6 o’clock. Its appearance is directly inspired by petrol or oil gauges. Finally, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono is the V12 of the family. This powerful, sleek and noble instrument is the driver’s watch par excellence. The three Grand Prix de Monaco Historique models stem from a shared platform and are distinguished by an entirely reconsidered and new design. The chassis is a 44.5 mm titanium case chosen for its slightness, its hardness and its compatibility. Its case-back is engraved with the Automobile Club de Monaco logo and for this reason it is made of steel which is better suited to engraving. The lugs have been redesigned to ensure enhanced comfort. But the most significant modifications relate to the dial, which features a grooved and snailed surface, thus creating an impression of constant movement reminiscent both of high-speed racing cars and of chicane kerbs.
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2014 collection sees the introduction of a new shade. Yellow is one of the basic colours in the racing vocabulary. This vibrant and highly visible hue stands for the speed and danger with which drivers live constantly. The luminescent hour-markers, the hands and the case-back are all designed to ensure that the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Automatic, Power Control and Chronograph models are as easy as possible to wear, use and read. That is how Chopard sees racing: mechanical excellence, impeccable ergonomics, along with the elegance inseparably bound to the world of drivers.
MONTBLANC, MEISTERSTÜCK HERITAGE MOONPHASE
This “Spirit of Meisterstück” was the starting point for the development of a new line of watches: the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection. This new collection is inspired by the standards of the Montblanc Meisterstück. Like the legendary fountain pen, these timepieces are distinguished by masterly craftsmanship, timeless design and perfect functionality. The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection embodies the finest Swiss watchmaking in each and every detail.
For example, the time is shown by faceted hands in the classical dauphine shape, which sweep over cambered, silver-white dials that have been tastefully embellished with sunburst patterns. Dauphine hands are extremely challenging to fabricate because their clear geometry, straight contours and perfectly smooth flanks would instantly reveal even the tiniest flaw in their manufacturing or assembly. Their elegant length is an especially distinguishing feature of fine watchmaking. The hour circle combines polished faceted appliqués in three different lengths and an eye-catching applied Roman numeral “XII”. In accord with the best watchmaking tradition, each appliqué stands atop two little feet which are firmly riveted to the dial. The classical shape of the elegant 39-diameter case is accentuated by various finishings on the surfaces, for example, horizontal satin finishing on the middle piece. The crown is adorned with Montblanc’s emblem in polished, raised relief against a matte sand-blasted background.
Watch aficionados appreciate the classical complication of the moon-phase display not only because of the cleverness of the mechanical solution, but also and especially thanks to its aesthetic styling. The moonphase display of the Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase is integrated into the scale of the date display, which relies on a classical blued hand. The moon’s phases appear in the traditional manner inside a semicircular window along a “double-bubble” line, which gives the moon’s silhouette its gradually changing faces on the underlying disc. This moon-phase watch has all the characteristic features associated with Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage design. The 39-mm-diameter case is made of stainless steel flanks, which descend vertically, are beautified with horizontal satin finishing. The bezel is narrow, convexly rounded and polished to a glossy finish. This component surrounds the slightly cambered dial, which has a finely shimmering sunburst pattern. The hour circle is made of clearly faceted, applied indices and an applied Roman numeral “XII”, above which the sharply faceted and sharply tapering dauphine hands reliably sweep their orbits. The precise progress of the hands is assured by automatic Calibre MB 29.14. Its mechanisms – especially its winding rotor and the gleaming golden 4-hertz balance – can be viewed through a pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case.
A black alligator-skin wristband with large reptilian scales and a pronged buckle made of stainless steel round out the timelessly elegant appearance of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase.
SEIKO, GRAND SEIKO HI-BEAT 36000 GMT
Grand Seiko is simply the very best of Seiko. Since its birth in 1960, the ideals of Grand Seiko have remained precisely the same. Grand Seiko embodies the pure essence of watchmaking: high accuracy, legibility, and reliability. Every Grand Seiko watch shares these values and has its unique combination of functional beauty and design purity. With sales rising rapidly since its global launch in 2010, Grand Seiko is increasingly recognized as one of the world’s great luxury watch brands.
The hi-beat GMT caliber, 9S86, is new, but Seiko’s tradition in hi-beat watchmaking stretches back to 1967, when the first Seiko hi-beat 36,000 vph was launched. The new caliber 9S86 has been created on the platform of the hi-beat caliber 9S85 that has been the leading watch in the Grand Seiko collection since 2009. This caliber has all the features of the existing caliber, with the addition of a 24-hour GMT hand and independent hour hand adjustment. To ensure the hi-beat calibers maintain their high accuracy, Seiko created a new alloy, Spron 610, for the balance springs, delivering greater resistance to magnetism and shock. The escapement wheel and pallet fork are engineered using MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) technology for enhanced precision and durability, and a new reverser was created to increase the winding efficiency. The result is a hi-beat watch with accuracy of +8/-1 seconds a day in normal wearing conditions and a power reserve of 55 hours with a single barrel.
The case design is typical Grand Seiko. It is a contemporary reinterpretation of the iconic Grand Seiko design back in the 1960’s and offers highly polished, distortion-free surfaces, clean edges and perfect comfort on the wrist. The dial texture complements the simplicity of the case. It has a delicate radial pattern that is inspired by the many-ridged contours of Mt. Iwate, the mountain that is visible through the side windows of the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio where all Grand Seiko mechanical watches are manufactured and assembled, by hand, by the studio’s craftsmen and women. The razor-sharp edges to the hands and hour markers are signature characteristics of Grand Seiko. Through the sapphire case- back glitters a specially designed titanium oscillating weight. The upper part of the oscillating weight is treated with an anodic oxidation of the titanium to deliver a special gold tone. Titanium is used for its high elasticity and vibration absorbency, which reduces the distortion of the oscillating weight and impact on the weight bearings.
TAG HEUER, CARRERA CALIBRE 1887 CHRONOGRAPHE “RACING”
Born in 1963 from the imagination of jack heuer, the carrera collection was inspired by the legendary “carrera panamericana mexico road race,” the world’s most grueling open-road endurance competition. it is the first sports chronograph specifically designed for professional drivers and sports car enthusiasts.
Since then, the carrera collection has become one of the most iconic thanks to its unrivalled technology, inspired design and has perpetually reinvented itself, reworking the codes that shaped its legend to create a future worthy of its past and present. the carrera’s uncluttered, rugged construction and at-a-glance legibility continues to set it instantly apart.
This year, more than half a century after its creation, the collection is enriched with a new carrera chronograph powered by the 1887 in-house movement in a full black ultralight titanium version.
Its modern sporty touches draw upon the codes of motorsports – such as the double-digit hand-applied arabic numerals, red hands and stiching and tachymeter scale. a racing look aligned with true racing lore, in an exclusive tribute to a unique heritage.
ZENITH, EL PRIMERO SYNOPSIS
The new El Primero Synopsis line comprising three references capitalises on a legendary movement while remaining true to several iconic Zenith signature touches. Accurately displaying the hours, minutes and small seconds at 9 o’clock, this watch beats at the rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour imparted by El Primero caliber 4613. Thanks to its distinctive dial opening highlighted by a screw-fastened appliqué and revealing a glimpse of its silicon components, it has never been so easy to admire this movement in action.
An avant-garde material featured in the El Primero Synopsis models, silicon represents a major breakthrough in the quest for the grail of mechanical watchmaking – namely eliminating the need for lubricants.
The lever and escape wheel of the El Primero Synopsis models are made of silicon, harder than steel – which leads to reduced wear – and far lighter – which requires less force to achieve the same result – silicon also boasts a low friction coefficient and is both anti-magnetic and corrosion-resistant. It is definitely a material with a promising future in pushing the boundaries of mechanical precision.
Listening to the swift and steady 36,000 vibrations-per-hour beat of the El Primero calibre is already a unique experience, but actually watching this fast-paced cadence in action takes things to a whole new level. That is exactly what is offered in the new El Primero Synopsis, a classic and elegant watch encapsulating the entire genetic heritage – and the vibrations – of the legendary models from the Manufacture Zenith.
A round case, a subtle dial design featuring perfect readability, together with pure lines throughout: such are the signature features of the new El Primero Synopsis by Zenith. However, what really sets it apart from its competitors is the opening revealing its exceptional mechanical heart. The pink gold or steel 40 mm case frames an appealing silver-toned dial affording a view over the escapement of the exceptional “engine” throbbing inside: El Primero Calibre 4613.
Guided by the same spirit and in keeping with the essential principles of watchmaking, a sapphire crystal ensures a truly beautiful view from both sides of the dial. These aesthetic virtues are backed by the reliability of a case that is water-resistant to 100 metres and fitted with a screw-lock crown, together with seamless case and wristband integration guaranteeing remarkably ergonomic comfort.