The 9th annual edition of the “Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève” rolled out the red carpet on Saturday, the 14th of November, 2009 at the “Grand Théâtre” the facade of which was specially illuminated for the event by the renowned Zurich artist, Gerry Hofstetter. This International Grand Prix rewards each year the best watchmaking creations. Its mission is to encourage creativity and to participate in the discovery of new talent. During the evening, eleven awards were attributed, with the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or” award going to the Lange Zeitwerk watch of A. Lange & Söhne.
Before an audience of more that 1500, Christian Lüscher et Natacha Wenger, the two masters of ceremony, made their entry and welcomed all the guests.
The most prestigious award of all, the Grand Prize of “L’Aiguille d’Or”, went to the Lange Zeitwerk watch of A. Lange & Söhne. Francois-Paul Journe, laureat of the 2008 edition, symbolically transmitted the precious trophy to Walter Lange and Jerry Schaper. This watch is a clear sign of the reconquest of the fame of A. Lange & Söhne and illustrates the vision of Günther Blümlein who had given a boost to the brand with Walter Lange, 4th generation of the Lange dynasty.
The Special Jury Prize crowned this year a exceptional personality of the horology world, Dr Ludwig Oechslin, Director of the International Museum of Horology of La Chaux de Fond. Very surprised and honored of this prize, Dr Ludwig Oechslin evoked the “miracle” of horology and the mechanical challenge represented by its continuous movements similar small enclaves of eternity.
The famous Public Prize, as for it, was attributed to Meccanico dG no 3 of de Grisogono. As mentioned by Laurent Picciotto, this watch with its double analog and digital display “ is much more complex than it seems to be, what the public seems to fully understand”. Fawaz Gruosi warmly thanked his colleagues and retailers who have had the force to continue the adventure. This Prize of the Public was by internet voted on web site www.worldtempus.com and by the visitors to the traveling exhibition presenting the 62 pre-selected watches by the jury of the “Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève”. As a reminder, this touring exposition started in Singapore in September as part of the “Living in Style” event. The exposition then made a stop in Zurich on the Bahnhofstrasse, then to Geneva at UBS (Corraterie) where the watches are now on display until November 20.
Those persons who voted for their favorite watch automatically participated in the draw to win a prestigious timepiece. We were pleasantly surprised to see Vincent Perez on the “Grand Théâtre” stage to draw the winning entry for a magnificent Vulcain brand watch. Vincent Perez made an analogy between the world of cinema and that of horology in quoting that a successful film can be likened to the work of a goldsmith.
The Sports watch prize is awarded to the Richard Mille diver’s watch RM 025. The 25th reference of this brand, which knows how to surprise, gave new direction with a round case. Richard Mille did not hide his pleasure and declared, “when you win, you feel really good”.
The Men’s watch prize is accorded to the Jules Audemars watch with Audemars Piguet escapement of Audemars Piguet. Philippe Merck, director general, expressed his thanks to the team of genius’ that created this watch, representing as it does, according to him, the spirit of all antique chronographs, and this particularly touched him.
The Ladies watch prize was awarded to the Limelight Twice watch of Piaget, a reversible bracelet wristwatch where the polishing of the set parts is particularly remarkable. Philippe Leopold Metzger is very proud of this prize but his greatest pride, in these difficult times is to have maintained his full team “who is responsible for the beauty and grandeur of this brand”.
The Design watch prize is attributed to the Opus 9 of Harry Winston, a design watch but nevertheless complex with its two sliding diamond chains which indicate the hours and minutes. Tom O’Neill, CEO of the brand, invited two long-time partners, Eric Giroud, designer, and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, watchmaker, to join him on stage to share this success together.
The Complicated watch prize was given to Double Tourbillon Technique of Greubel Forsey. Stephen Forsey, Co-founder of the brand, expressed all his gratitude to his team and underlined that all the Greubel Forsey codes have been expressed in this tourbillon.
The Jewelry watch prize was attributed to the One Million $ Black Caviar Bang of Hublot, a watch that symbolizes the fusion of jewelry and watchmaking. Jean-Claude Biver received the prize modestly in remembering that the success must be shared and communicated.
The Best Watchmaker prize this year is awarded to Anthony Randall, brilliant English watchmaker as acknowledgement of the totality of his work.
Finally, the best student in the first year of the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève received from the hands of Richard Mille a watch of his collection and moreover an invitation to complete a stage in the heart of his workshop.