In an event that brought together nearly a thousand watch lovers from all over the world, the 22nd awards ceremony of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève took place on Thursday 10th November. Collectors, watchmakers, board executives and press excitedly flocked to the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva to find out who’d be the proud recipients of the most recognised accolades in the industry.
The 650 members of the Academy, representing the various sectors of the profession, chaired by Nick Foulkes, rewarded watchmaking excellence and expertise by attributing 21 prizes – including the coveted “Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix best-in-show” distinction, which was awarded to MB&F for the Legacy Machine Sequential Evo watch.
Maximilian Büsser, owner and creative director at MB&F, was understandably over the Moon, since beside the top prize, he also scooped the Challenge Watch Prize for their M.A.D. Editions, M.A.D.1 Red. He told me on the night: “This Aiguille d’Or award is rewarding Stephen McDonnell’s genius, the autodidact from Belfast who, over ten years, painstakingly created two revolutionary and incredibly beautiful movements – first the LM Perpetual and now the LM Sequential. We are incredibly grateful to Stephen and probably the whole industry should be too.”
Maximilian Büsser with the which won MB&F the Aiguille d’Or 2022, which he won for MB&F’s watch Legacy Machine Sequential Evo (on the right). On the left, M.A.D. Editions M.A.D.1 Red, winner of theChallenge Watch Prize.
From the very beginning, MB&F stood out for its creativity, a principle that keeps being the guiding force of the brand. “Being creative is a state of mind,” says Max, “all of us were creative when we were children, but unfortunately, it seems 80 to 90 percent of adults feel they have lost that distinctive trait. What I have learned over all these years is that to be really creative you must not be scared of being wrong or being judged. It also means being surrounded by people you trust that will help you not drown when you lose footing – that that place where real creativity nests.”
Brothers Bertrand and Edouard Meylan came on stage to receive the Tourbillon prize awarded to H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton watch. Over a glass of champagne, Edouard told me, “This victory is a victory for all of us, and it shows that we are on the right track. It is the recognition of our almost 200-year-old know-how, of uncompromising mechanical watchmaking and of the power of classicism approached in an offbeat and sexy way. It is also a great reward for independent watchmaking. This award marks an additional stage in the development of the Moser brand and sets a very positive outlook for the future.”
Brothers Bertrand and Edouard Meylan and the watch that got them the GPHG 2022 Tourbillon prize, the H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton.
Akrivia, Bvlgari, Grand Seiko, Ferdinand Berthoud, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hermès, Krayon, M.A.D. Editions, Parmigiani Fleurier, Sylvain Pinaud, TAG Heuer, Trilobe, Tudor, Van Cleef & Arpels and Voutilainen were also honoured with one of the prestigious awards. The Special Jury Prize, which rewards a key figure or institution in the watchmaking world, was attributed this year to François Junod, automaton-maker and sculptor.
Left: Gautier Massonneau, founder and creative director and Volcy Bloch, CEO of Trilobe. Right: Trilobe’s Nuit Fantastique Dune edition, winner of the “Petite Aiguille” prize.
Volcy Bloch, CEO of Trilobe, and Gautier Massonneau, founder and creative director, were particularly delighted with their “Petite Aiguille” Prize, awarded to Trilobe’s Nuit Fantastique Dune Edition watch. Speaking after the ceremony, Volcy said to me: “We are very proud to win this prize, which represents an incredible mark of recognition from the watch industry and watch lovers, only four years after the brand’s official launch. We dedicate it to all of the people who embraced Trilobe’s spirit. Stay tuned for the many innovations ahead!”
I would say the same. The GPHG Foundation proved once again their instrumental role as promoters of watchmaking, contributing to the influence and dynamism of the industry as a whole. Furthermore, their recognition of young watchmakers and independent brands is a huge encouragement for those willing to develop a career in such a mechanically and artistically interesting sector, which only a few decades ago, was at the brink of extinction.
2022 PRIZE LIST
“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix: MB&F, Legacy Machine Sequential Evo
Ladies’ Watch Prize: Parmigiani Fleurier, Tonda PF Automatic
Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize: Hermès, Arceau Le temps voyageur
Men’s Watch Prize: Akrivia, Chronomètre Contemporain II
Men’s Complication Watch Prize: Hermès, Arceau Le temps voyageur
Iconic Watch Prize: TAG Heuer, Monaco X Gulf
Tourbillon Watch Prize: H. Moser & Cie, Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton
Calendar and Astronomy Watch Prize: Krayon, Anywhere
Mechanical Exception Watch Prize: Ferdinand Berthoud, FB 2RSM.2-1
Chronograph Watch Prize: Grönefeld, 1941 Grönograaf Tantalum
Diver’s Watch Prize: Tudor, Pelagos FXD
Jewellery Watch Prize: Bulgari, Serpenti Misteriosi
High Jewellery Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: Voutilainen, Ji-Ku
“Petite Aiguille” Prize: Trilobe, Nuit Fantastique Dune Edition
Challenge Watch Prize: M.A.D. Editions, M.A.D.1 Red
Mechanical Clock Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Fontaine Aux Oiseaux automaton
Innovation Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch
Audacity Prize: Bulgari, Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary
Chronometry Prize: Grand Seiko, Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon
“Horological Revelation” Prize: Sylvain Pinaud, Origine
Special Jury Prize: François Junod, automaton-maker and sculptor
The 90 nominated timepieces, including the winners, are on display at the Musée Rath in Geneva until 20th November 2022. The 2022 winners will also be presented in New York from December 1st to 4th.