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The Winners From Every Category of The 2023 GPHG - My Predictions

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I often wonder what the point of an awards show like the GPHG is.

I often wonder what the point of an awards show like the GPHG is. To me, it feels like art is subjective and can’t be placed in a category and judged to be “worthy” or not.

But then again, what do I know, maybe there’s value in it. Perhaps winners actually are grinners and the value lies in the exposure that the nominations receive.

Among the list of names that make up the grand jury are watch industry veterans like former CEO of Audemars Piguet François-Henry Bennahmias, Nepotism babies Frédéric and Jean Arnault, and the infamous Aurel Bacs. An illustrious list for sure and in the hopes that one day I will be selected as a talking head among these knowledgeable watch folk, I’m going to run my own little awards show.

Here’s my picks from each category of the GPHG 2023.

Let's go.

Ladies’ - The Beauregard Lili Bouton

The Beauregard Lili Bouton
The Beauregard Lili Bouton

As the name suggests, this is the ‘ladies’ category. I’m no lady, but you know what? I’m married to one, so I’m qualified enough…
My pick is the Beauregard Lili Bouton. Starting off strong with a quarts watch, the Lili Bouton’s claim to fame is its hand polished stone petal dial. The depth and lustre that the individual petals create is wonderful, and I can’t decide whether it looks soft or hard. It’s rare that I feel like a brand should make a mens version of a ladies watch, but in this case, I want one.

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Ladies’ Complication - The Celestial Voyager “Arctic Sunrise” by Andersen Geneve

The Celestial Voyager “Arctic Sunrise” by Anderson Geneve
The Celestial Voyager “Arctic Sunrise” by Andersen Geneve

If ‘perfect balance’ was a category in the GPHG then this Celestial Voyager “Arctic Sunrise” by Andersen Geneve would, hands down, be the winner. My god, this thing is beautiful.
From the cloisonné enamel and hand guilloché central disc to the white mother-of-pearl city ring around the outside. It’s got to be the winner of this category.
As a bonus, it also comes with a Charles Simon case, it’s almost worth buying the watch just for that.
Of all the pieces nominated this year, this is the one I want to see in person the most. Let's make it happen Andersen Geneve, send me a review watch!!!

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Men’s - The Chronomètre Artisans by Simon Brette

The Chronomètre Artisans by Simon Brette
The Chronomètre Artisans by Simon Brette

The first time I saw Simon Brette, was in an interview with Wei Koh on YouTube. I was blown away by his demeanour, a far cry from what you would expect from a guy with this much talent. The humility he showed was and is refreshing in the watch industry.
Ok, enough man crushing, onto The Chronomètre Artisans. The first thing that hits you with this watch is the dial treatment. These ‘Dragon scales’, as Simon calls them, are three-dimensional flakes of gold making up a mosaic that covers the dial plate. We’ve also got beautiful sculptural hands and a running seconds mechanism on the front. But what about the back? They mustn’t have had much time left for the back, right?
Wrong.

The Chronomètre Artisans by Simon Brette
The Chronomètre Artisans by Simon Brette

Flip the watch over, and you’re met with the deepest concave barrel covers you’ve ever seen, a huge and immaculately polished full balance bridge and the most beautiful screw heads I’ve ever seen. I’m quite comfortable in saying that this is my new grail watch. If the Chronomètre Artisans doesn’t win, the game is rigged.

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Men’s Complication - The Worldtimer by Voutileinen

The Worldtimer by Voutileinen
The Worldtimer by Voutileinen

Much like the watch above, the Voutileinen world timer is immaculately finished on the front and the back of the case.
Kari has moved away from the more conventional round case for the first time (except for that pocket watch he did a year ago) and went for a TV inspired shape for the world timer. For those of you from a younger generation, yes, that’s what shape TV’s used to be.
All the usual Voutileinen details are there, the hand guilloché dial, the beautifully decorated movement and the large-scale balance wheel. It has a similar feel to the watch above from Simon Brette, with just a hint of Finnish charm. Bravo Kari.

The Worldtimer by Voutileinen
The Worldtimer by Voutileinen

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Iconic - The Freak One by Ulysse Nardin

The Freak One by Ulysse Nardin
The Freak One by Ulysse Nardin

If there ever was an icon in the watch world, it would have to be the Freak One. It was the first ‘hyper’ watch when the first edition was released in 2001 and, until now, is one of the most forward-thinking pieces in the industry.
No crown, central carousel ‘minute hand’ and an innovative winding system called the grinder. No, not the app.
I got to try it on just before the launch and although it is a big boy at 44 mm, It wears well. Besides, if you’re into wearing spaceships on your wrist, you want everyone to know about it, right?

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Tourbillon - The Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit by Laurent Ferrier

The Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit by Laurent Ferrier
The Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit by Laurent Ferrier

The double-balance-spring escapement of the Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit is a beautifully modern interpretation of the gravity defying complication by the man who raced alongside Paul Newman. This alone has me won over, The fact that the only way you can see it is through the case back makes it all the more cool. It’s an indulgence just for you.
The case profile is organic with a pebble like smoothness and modern proportions, it pairs well with the contemporary ruthenium treated bridges and modern movement architecture. Mr Ferrier does it right!

The Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit by Laurent Ferrier
The Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit by Laurent Ferrier

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Calendar and Astronomy - The Tonda PF Xiali Calendar by Parmigiani Fleurier

The Tonda PF Xiali Calendar by Parmigiani Fleurier
The Tonda PF Xiali Calendar by Parmigiani Fleurier

Next in the line of unique calendar watches created by Parmigiani Fleurier, after the Gregorian and Muslin editions, comes the Tonda PF Xiali Calendar.
At first glance, you may think it’s just a regular calendar watch with Chinese printing instead of English, but, my friends, you would be mistaken.

Here’s an overview of the sub dials.

Subdial at 12:00
Level 1: Name of the year (the years are named instead of the months)
Level 2: Zodiac animal
Level 3: Zodiac element + ying/yang

Subdial at 09:00
Month number (1 to 12)

Subdial at 03:00
Day number and indication if today is a long or short day (imagine the complexity behind this!?)

Subdial at 06:00
Moon phase indication

One of the more interesting aspects of the Chinese calendar is that it’s calculated using both the solar and the lunar cycle, then synchronised together using a thirteenth month that occurs every three years. This allows the calendar to predict when the lunar new year will occur, an event that can vary between the months in the western calendar.
Don’t ask me how any of this works, ok….

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Mechanical Exception - The RS 23 by Rudis Sylva

The RS 23 by Rudis Sylva
The RS 23 by Rudis Sylva

This watch embodies what I love most about watchmaking. The constant innovation and refinement of a technology that has long been rendered obsolete. I am, of course, talking about the Tourbillon. Although that statement does fit mechanical watches as a whole, there's something about the Tourbillon that just screams obsolete to me.
For all of its complexity, is has one problem, it takes one whole rotation for it to cancel the effects of gravity, so what do you do?
Well, the mad scientists over at Rudis Sylva came up with a solution. A toothed and interlinked set of balance wheels that oppose each other while working off a shared pallet fork and escapement. They call this the ‘Harmonious Oscillator’, and it can instantly negate any variance in timing across each balance wheel, in tern being a more efficient and accurate way of negating the effects of gravity on timekeeping. It’ a smart solution to an irrelevant issue, but I’m glad it exists and that brands like Rudis Sylva have the brains to figure it out.

It also just looks dope…

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Chronograph - The Tentagraph by Grand Seiko

The Tentagraph by Grand Seiko
The Tentagraph by Grand Seiko

When I read that the Tentagraph was the first ever mechanical Chronograph from Grand Seiko, I had to do a double take. Could that actually be true? Since 1960, had this brand of incredible resources and capability never made a relatively simple mechanical chronograph? It’s true!

For their first outing, we are getting all the hallmarks of modern Grand Seiko. A fantastic dial, razor sharp case finishing and movement tech with a twist.

The name Tentagraph is a combination of all four of the key elements of the movement. TEN – for ten beats per second, T- for three days power reserve, A for automatic winding and GRAPH - for Chronograph. This is a very straightforward and logical way of naming something, and I like it.

Is it just me, or do the 9S series of mechanical movements from Grand seiko have a bit of A Lange & Sohne about them?

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Sports - The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF by Chopard

The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF by Chopard
The Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF by Chopard

For any of my regular readers, it will be no surprise that I adore the Alpine Eagle. Give it to me in any flavour and I’ll love it. Gold, Lucent steel, two-tone, diamond bezel, Delicious!
This flavour, however, is one of the tastiest.
The Cadence 8HF looks like your standard alpine eagle on the outside but includes one of Chopard's most advanced movements. The Calibre 01.12-C beats at a ridiculous 57,600 vibrations per hour…. That's fast. For comparison, your boring-ass Datejust beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. That's slow.

If we use the logic that faster = good… Then the Chopard Cadence 8HF is really…really good.

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Jewellery - The Swinging Sautoir by Piaget

The Swinging Sautoir by Piaget
The Swinging Sautoir by Piaget

The first of two ‘non-watch’ pieces in my list, the Swinging Sautoir is my pick for one reason and one reason only. Ok, well, maybe two reasons, the first being that all the other choices are a little hard on the eyes. The second and more ‘journalistic’ reason is that they have put the dial on upside down. Presumably because it is for the wearer to read, a choice that, for a necklace, is just absurd.  I guess a piece like this is for the more self-indulgent among us, and there’s nothing more self-indulgent than making sure the logo faces you when you flip it up to tell the time.

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Artistic Crafts - The Jumping Hours – Rising Sun Edition by Andersen Geneve

The Jumping Hours – Rising Sun Edition by Anderson Geneve
The Jumping Hours – Rising Sun Edition by Andersen Geneve

When a watch company pays tribute to a community of watch collectors, they usually do a different coloured strap or put a logo on the case back. That’s cool, but Andersen Geneve does things a little differently.
As a tribute to the Japanese watch communities bond with Andersen Geneve, the Jumping Hours – Rising Sun Edition Is anything but a cheap attempt at personalisation to fit a market.
Pairing their signature jumping hours complication with an unbelievably beautiful hand guilloché 18 ct pink gold dial that has a pattern that is reminiscent of the arts of Japan. Add to the mix a platinum case with welded lugs, and you’ve got yourself something truly special. It’s just a shame that only 50 of them will be made.

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“Petite Aiguille” -The Black Bay by Tudor

The Black Bay by Tudor
The Black Bay by Tudor

As the self-proclaimed ‘little hand’ of the GPHG, the “Petite Aiguille” includes watches from CHF 4,000 to CHF 10,000. It’s also the most interesting to mere mortals like yours truly, as my taste far out exceeds my bank balance.
I’ve gone with a watch that on the surface is super boring, I admit, but when you’re a watch fan, sometimes you’ve just got to stick with the hits.
The Black Bay 41 from Tudor is like that trustworthy friend who always turns up on time and is never too drunk.
It’s a little boring, as I said, but it gets the job done, and it gets it done well.
The watch is slimmer than the original, has a Metas certified movement and a killer five link bracelet. Come on, Tudor, just call it a jubilee… Everyone else does.

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Challenge - The Watermelon by Studio Underd0g

The Watermelon by Studio Underd0g
The Watermelon by Studio Underd0g

Coming in well under the allowed CHF 3,500 limit is the Watermelon by Studio Underd0g. This watch proves to me that there are still some people who don’t take themselves too seriously in the watch industry. With a ‘big eye’ subdial layout and a colour scheme that has me yearning for summer. I’m willing to forgive the fact that it’s not a seedless watermelon, just this once. My dad told me that a vine would grow out of my ears if I ate one, way to bring up childhood trauma Studio Underd0g.

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Mechanical Clock - The iZMAN by Alain Silberstein

The iZMAN by Alain Silberstein
The iZMAN by Alain Silberstein

This is probably the most pointless category of the entire GPHG and one that I really didn’t want to pay attention to. But, alas, as the title of the post states, I will choose a piece from EVERY, category. So here we go.
The iZMAN by Alain Silberstein is my reluctant choice. It’s a tourbillon travel clock with a removable winding key and a smiley face on the dial. It’s kind of weird, and I respect it for that.

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Will all of my predictions come true? Probably not, but It's fun to speculate! Let me know what you think of my picks by messaging me on instagram! @mitchjhbarber

See you in the next one xx

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