Buying Time: Rewarding Innovation

A closer look at a few winners from one of the world’s most prestigious annual watchmaking events

Since 2001 The Grand Prix D’Horlogerie Foundation has bestowed the “Oscars” of Swiss watchmaking on an annual basis. On October 29, 2015, the 15th Annual Awards took place in Geneva, Switzerland, with 18 separate categories being represented. Before the jury awards were announced, a global roadshow traveled through five cities displaying each of the entries for every category. These six winners highlight the immense creativity and craftsmanship that define Swiss watchmaking.

Tourbillon Watch Prize
“Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon” by Ulysse Nardin

The winner in the Tourbillon category itself took more than eight years in research and development before it finally became a reality. The different components of the tourbillon complication itself were developed and created using a very flexible material called silicium. This material allows for a frictionless movement which does not require lubrication. The rotating cage is shaped like an anchor, which is the official symbol of the brand. 18 examples of the watch in both white gold and rose gold are available, and the hand wound movement offers a seven day power reserve indicated with an arc over the tourbillon cage.
/ $84,000
Dejaun Jewelers, The Village at Westfield Topanga


Mechanical Exception Watch Prize
“The Charming Bird” by Jaquet Droz

Known for clean lines and an elegant aesthetic, Jaquet Droz’s latest creation is visually creative and completely unique. A 47 mm case contains an actual miniaturized bird which sings at different timing intervals. In similar fashion to a minute repeater, the bird’s different tones denote unique periods of time. Whereas a minute repeater relies on percussion to create sound, the bird uses the principle of a wind wood, pushing air with the help of tiny pistons that push the air through different bellows using varying speed. The hand engraved bird sits under a curved glass dome located at the 6 o’clock section of the dial. The self-winding mechanical movement has a 38 hour power reserve and the watch is limited to 28 examples.
/ Inquire for pricing
Feldmar Watch Company, Los Angeles


“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix
Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision by Greubel Forsey

The Grand Prize winner this year emanated from arguably one of the most dynamic engineering firms in the industry. GF continues to push the boundaries of design and technology, specializing in the refinement and perfection of the tourbillon movement. This new model pushes the tourbillon cage to the back of the watch case facing the wearer’s wrist. The aesthetic of the piece is one of simplistic beauty instead of the technically complicated displays of previous GF models. The 43.5 mm case is still quite large, but the repositioning of the tourbillon cage has allowed the thickness of the watch to be dramatically reduced. Only 22 examples in white gold will ever be produced.
/ $325,000
Westime Malibu


Calendar Watch Prize
Slim d’Hermes QP” by Hermés

This slightly smaller example stands out because of its understated design which belies a mechanical masterpiece. At a mere 39.5 mm and a thickness of only 9.06 mm the annual perpetual calendar movement with both leap years and a moon phase is housed in a remarkably compact space. The simple contrast of gold and black over a white dial make the watch easy to read and remarkably elegant for the number of complications present. In addition, the stark contrast of the white dial with the dark blue moon phase display is also where the brand is placed, clearly because the moon and stars draw the eye.
/ $38,900
Hermès, Beverly Hills

Public Prize
The “Tourbillon of Tourbillons” by Antoine Preziuso

This small manufacturer of bespoke timepieces finally realized their dream which they first conceived way back in 2004: a triple tourbillon that moves in unison by utilizing a revolving plate. The difficulty comes from actually having the three tourbillons moving at the same cadence, since the twin barrels of the movement need to transfer power equally and at the same time to achieve this. The watch claims to have the smallest ball bearing in the world inside of its movement, measuring a miniscule 1.6 mm. The skeletonized movement is housed in one of the most masculine looking cases on the market, containing 24 large screws which adorn the crown of the piece.
/ Inquire for pricing. Purchase of watch includes trip to Geneva to meet watchmaker.  Airfare and accommodations included.


Ladies High-Mech Watch Prize
“Lady Compliquee Peacock” by Faberge

This is not a ladies’ quartz watch with a high fashion brand name. This 242-piece movement with 38 jewels and three complications is a true technical marvel worthy of any highly complicated male timepiece. But a white alligator strap, platinum case, and feathering peacock on the dial all point to a truly feminine piece. The jeweled peacock displayed on the watch dial has its tail feathers systematically revealed during each hour, due to the fact that it moves with the rotating hours ring. A retrograde system is used to move the feathers back into place and start the process all over again.
/ $98,000
Westime West Hollywood