The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix) is the name of an annual watchmaking prize as well as the organization that awards it.
Awarded in November of each year since 2001, the GPHG includes prizes in important categories, including men's/women's, sport watch, technical innovation, and complication. There is also a prize for the best watch maker and a special jury prize. Originally given by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), the GPHG became a registered public interest organization in 2011.
The organization consists of:
With the exception of a special audience prize, only a selected jury of watch professionals are allowed to vote, and price is one consideration. GPHG has become one of the most important prizes in the world of watches, awarded annually at a banquet in November. One can compare it with the Academy Awards (“Oscars”) of the U.S. film industry. An Asian Edition was also held. The winner of the Aiguille d'Or (Golden Pointer) automatically gets a seat in the jury in the following year.
The number of prizes awarded has expanded dramatically since 2013. The original ceremony, held in 2001, gave just 7 trophies. Until 2012, the number was roughly steady between 9 and 11 awards. In 2013 the prizes were expanded to 15, then 17, and 18. As of 2019, 19 trophies were given.
Although not all brands submit a watch for competition, those that are selected for a prize often celebrate the win. Audemars Piguet is the big winner historically, with Vacheron Constantin close behind. Some brands, notably Swatch and Glashütte Original have never entered the competition, and Rolex and Patek Philippe have not entered in over a decade. TAG Heuer, Zenith, Maurice Lacroix, Bovet 1822, and Chopard have the poorest record of wins per nominated watches.
As of 2020, the following companies have won five or more prizes.
|4||Van Cleef & Arpels||9|
|11||A. Lange & Söhne||6|
Because the watch industry is so consolidated, it is not surprising that the luxury watch groups are well-represented at the event. Richemont has claimed the most prizes by far, nearly twice as much as LVMH and 3.5 times as many as Swatch Group. But this reflects the differing number of entries as well: Richemont has entered four times as many watches as Swatch, but not many more than LVMH. This showing by the watchmaking groups makes the strong performance of independent brands like Audemars Piguet, Chopard, Voutilainen, Greubel Forsey, and F.P. Journe all the more impressive. Groups like Rolex and Seiko Group are under-represented since they have not entered many watches in competition.
As of 2020, the following manufacturers have won five or more prizes.
The following watches won more than one prize at the same GPHG ceremony:
These awards are for the best watch overall, or in a specific price band, and are the highest awards given at the ceremony.
The grand prize from the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève for “the best overall watch among all categories”. The winner is included in the jury for the next year's voting.
“Petite aiguille” is French for “small (hour) hand”, and this award is for watches with a retail price under CHF 7,500 (2012-2013) or 8,000 (2014-2017). Since 2018, this prize is for a watch priced between CHF 4,000 and 10,000, with watches priced under this in the new Challenge category.
“Watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of one or several artistic techniques, such as: enamelling, lacquering, engraving, guilloché (engine-turning), openworking (skeleton-working), etc.”
A new category was introduced in 2019 for dive watches, replacing the previous Sports Watch Prize, which had existed since 2003 for watches “designed for the measurement or practice of sport” including water and shock resistance.
This new category was created for 2019 and goes “to the best watch from an emblematic collection that has been exercising a lasting influence on watchmaking history and the watch market for more than 25 years.” This replaced the Revival Watch Prize which existed since 2013 for watches that are “a contemporary reinterpretation or reissue of an iconic old model.”
“Watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewellery making and gemsetting”
Women's watches with no or basic complications and simple gemsetting
Men's watches with basic complications and simple gemsetting. Complicated watches were split out in 2013 and 2014.
Watches with at least one major complication (full calendar, perpetual calendar, striking mechanism, tourbillon, split-seconds chronograph). This prize category was split into various specialties in 2013 and retired.
Women's watches with “mechanical creativity and complexity.” Originally called Ladies' High-Mech Watch Prize but renamed Ladies Complication in 2018.
Watches with “a special mechanism, such as an innovative or sophisticated display, an automaton, a striking or any other acoustic function, a belt-driven movement or any other original and/or exceptional horological concept”.
The following categories may or may not be awarded at the discretion of the jury.
The Audacity Prize rewards the best watch featuring a non-conformist, offbeat approach to watchmaking. It is discretionary whether the jury selects a winner or not and was introduced in 2018.
This discretionary prize is only awarded if the jury feels a watch reflects “the most innovative research on a conceptual level” (originally) or “innovative vision of time measurement (in terms of technique, design, materials, etc.) and opens up new development pathways for the watchmaking art.”
The Electronic Watch Prize existed only for one year, 2006. Today, smartwatches are eligible only under the Challenge Watch Prize. There is also an optional Smartwatch Prize, at the discretion of the jury.
Since 2008, this prize is for “a personality, institution or initiative that has played a fundamental role in promoting high-quality watchmaking” rather than a watch or brand.
The following categories are no longer included as of 2020.
The Public Prize was retired in 2016.
The prizes are awarded at an annual ceremony in Geneva with a press conference.