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Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve Ladies' High Mech Category

By Neharika Padala |  September 4 2014


The 14th Edition of the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve is under way, and this year no less than 72 pre selected watches will be running to win the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix.

With this year’s GPHG attracting record participation, all major watch groups are being represented, along with a number of independent companies.

Vote for your favorite amongst the following pre-selected watches and automatically participate in the drawing to win a Girard – Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Petite Seconde, worth $11372.29.

Here are the six finalists in the Ladies’ High-Mech category. Tomorrow we will be revealing the Men’s category.

www.gphg.org

BREGUET, REINE DE NAPLES JOUR/NUIT

Among the timepieces Breguet produces, those in the Reine de Naples collection have always been noted for lapsing into poetry. This impression is no doubt due to the unique shape of the case, which symbolises the origin of life, but it could also be because it is a collection in which each highly complicated watch is made only for women. In the Reine de Naples models, Breguet thus expresses its high regard for women through both artistic and mechanical skills.

Last year, Breguet presented the Reine de Naples Jour/Nuit model, a mechanical interpretation of the daily ballet of the sun and the moon in the heavens. It arrived to critical and popular acclaim, and thereafter won several prizes. This year, the company has decided to offer a variant that is even more splendid with a gem-encrusted Reine de Naples model that does honour to the jewellery skills of Breguet’s artists. The bezel and caseband are set with 131 baguette diamonds, while the dial and the ball attachment are finely decorated in a frosting of diamonds. The crown is topped by a briolette diamond.

Breguet’s mechanical expertise is also on display, since this watch is fitted with the movement specially made for the Reine de Naples collection. Apart from indicating the hours and minutes it animates a whimsical representation of the hours of the day and night on a second dial. The two dials combine in a figure 8, a symbolic number in many cultures, which recalls the sign for infinity.  A titanium moon is placed on a disc of lapis lazuli while the path of the sun is represented by the facetted rim of the balance-wheel that throws out rays of light. The sun moves according to the motion of the balance on a daylong tour of the Arabic Chapter ring before setting beneath the horizon of the steel bridge supporting the mechanism. Decorations on the disc add to the enchantment with inserts of mother-of-pearl for clouds and the living gleam of gold stars.

To bring the time easily to hand, the dial for the hours and minutes has a mother-of-pearl chapter ring engraved with Roman numerals, while Arabic numerals adorn the mother-of-pearl inset surrounding the representation of the day and night hours. All this is staged in the tasteful and finely crafted surroundings of the Reine de Naples case.

The astute combination of watchmaking and jewellery engineered by Breguet results in an excellent watch and an ornament that sparkles with a thousand fires. It offers women the sophistication of a unique and poetic horological complication.

CHOPARD, HAPPY SPORT TOURBILLON JOAILLERIE

2014. The Happy Sport joins the world of Haute Horlogerie with the Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie model housing a an L.U.C 02.16-L movement produced by the Chopard Manufacture. The magnificent radiance of Haute Joaillerie adorning the Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie stages the perfect setting for this exceptional movement. Available in 18-carat white or rose gold, this creation stems from the most delicate gem-setting techniques such as the snow setting that entirely carpets the dial with a flurry of diamonds. The tourbillon bridge are also gem-set, as is the bezel embellished with the refined touch of 36 trapeze-cut diamonds. The crown features baguette-cut diamonds and a briolette-cut diamond. Last but not least comes the 7 famous moving diamonds spinning between two sapphire crystals. Their infinite freedom of movement reaffirms the joyful spirit of the Happy Sport watch.

The tourbillon movement, a pinnacle of traditional watchmaking, is firmly propelled into the modern age by the Happy Sport attitude. It thus acquires its new stature as a contemporary kinetic work of art. This tourbillon movement was especially designed to match the style of the Happy Sport cases and this 42 mm diameter makes this the largest model in the collection. Endowed with a 9-day power reserve corresponding to 216 hours of autonomy, the Happy Sport Tourbillon Joaillerie bears the imprint of excellence: that of the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, a prestigious certification that notably distinguishes the quality of its finishing and the meticulous care lavished by the artisans on every single part of the movement.

In less than 20 years, Chopard Manufacture has succeeded in joining the extremely exclusive ranks of authentic watchmaking “Manufactures”. While perpetuating the traditional values and skills of horology, Chopard Manufacture is resolutely geared towards research, high technology and design. It thereby testifies to the formidable vitality of the House of Chopard in its constant quest to form new ties between the past and the enduring spirit of innovation.

CHRISTOPHE CLARET, MARGOT

“He loves me… He loves me not.” The elusive answer wafts in on a delicate petal, announced by a Tinker Bell-like chime. Behind the game, an enchantingly innovative complication specifically developed for women. Christophe Claret’s Margot ‘picks petals’ with the simple press of a button.

The story goes that the Île Saint-Louis in the center of Paris during the Middle Ages was a meadow lined with willows and poplars. It was an idyllic place for sweethearts to stroll and ‘learn’ the depth of each other’s love by picking petals off a daisy while reciting: “Il m’aime… il ne m’aime pas du tout”. Translation: He loves me… he loves me not (at all).

Note that while the English version is all or nothing – i.e. loves me, loves me not –  the French has a wider range of possibilities: loves me a little, loves me lots, loves me passionately, loves me madly, or doesn’t love me at all.
The tradition has since transcended time and is the perfect allegory for Christophe Claret’s desire to create a watch that is both charming and complex, the ultimate embodiment of women. As a beautiful expression of true love, Margot takes watchmaking savoir-faire and transforms it into an amorous declaration.

Margot is Christophe Claret’s first ladies’ watch complication. It features an ingenious mechanism that helps to ‘predict’ – or at least tries to – one of nature’s paramount questions: “Does he love me?” A simple press of the pusher at 2 o’clock brings the watch to life. With each press, a petal – sometimes a pair of petals, it is impossible to foresee – subtly disappears under the dial in a smooth action, perfectly depicting the delicate undressing of the flower. The eagerly-awaited answer appears at random in calligraphic letters (in French) on the dial at 4 o’clock: Un peu (a little) – beaucoup (a lot) – passionnément (passionately) – à la folie (madly) – pas du tout (not at all)?

At each press of the pusher, a distinct, crystalline chime resonates, aurally signaling the pace of the game. The striking mechanism is one of Manufacture Claret’s signature complications, blending technical mastery with sublime esthetics, and here its hammer is adorned with a prong-set ruby. A caseband window at 8 o’clock allows clear views of it vertically striking the cathedral gong above.

Such an original technique called for ingenious design. The dial exudes romantic femininity: At the whim of its iridescent reflections, the natural mother of pearl dial reveals delicately engraved verses penned by Victor Hugo, one of the standard-bearers of the 19th century French Romantic movement. These excerpts are taken from the writer’s classic poem Unité, which features in his compendium Les Contemplations.

On the dial, three pear-shaped diamonds at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock poetically punctuate the scene. A pair of gold-tipped, steel hands – each delicately rounded by hand – glides over the 12 white, satin-lacquered titanium petals that tightly embrace the central citrine pistil, its multi-level corolla intensifying the three-dimensionality of the dial’s landscape.

FRÉDÉRIC JOUVENOT, SURYA

Called Surya, in reference to the INDIA God of sun, the sun-shaped hour display is unique. It is the first hour display over 24 hours that shows the sun’s path and the alternation of night and day.

Simple to read yet fitted with a complex mechanism, this piece in Frédéric Jouvenot’s Solar Deity collection has two faces, corresponding to the day and night cycles. For the first time in watchmaking history, a timepiece displays the time without conventional hands, numerals or disks.

Each hour is represented by a radioconcentric flower’s petals, i.e. starting from the centre and radiating towards the edge of the dial. The twelve petals show the path of the sun on the dial while indicating the hour to come and the past hour.

At mid-day, all the petals are green to represent daylight. At that precise moment, the dial represents the sun at its zenith. As time passes, the rays become black, one after another, clockwise; the dial darkens and announces oncoming night. Midnight is represented by twelve dark petals reflecting in the night. To symbolise the return to light, the petals take turns to pivot again until mid-day, thus completing a full 24 hour cycle.

Telling the time remains instinctive. Each hour keeps its conventional position and the minutes are indicated by a central cartouche fitted with an index that completes a revolution on the fixed minute disc. The display maintains the conventional angular gap of a watch for instinctive reading.
The whole complication mechanism is enclosed in the central 12 mm diameter and 5 mm high case which contains no fewer than 100 parts, including 24 rubies which will activate the hour’s jumping petals.

Example: at 3.30 p.m., the first three petals are black and the minute indicator points to 6 o’clock, as on a conventional dial. The conventional angular gap between 3 o’clock and 30 minutes is thus maintained. Herein lies the feat accomplished by Frédéric Jouvenot; having maintained conventional reading of the dial with a revolutionary hour display system.

CHAUMET, CHAUMET HORTENSIA TOURBILLON WATCH

Precious watches are inspired by nature; a nature that is stylised, touching and bucolic, expressing a different dimension of time, of movement, of emotion and celebrating the savoir-faire of jewellers, engravers, stone setters, sculptors, miniature painters and watchmakers who perpetuate and enrich the Maison’s watch collections. Each timepiece embodies the extraordinary dreams, creativity, technical ingenuity and jewellery expertise of Chaumet.

The Hortensia collection blossoms with wondrous bouquets of gold and precious stones in creations that are an ode to eternal beauty.

The dial of this diamond-set white gold watch reveals a tourbillon mechanism. The tourbillon is situated at 6 o’clock on a background of grand feu enamel decorated with a corolla of hydrangeas; each applied flower has been sculpted and hand-engraved, then enamelled with silver foil in its centre. A sapphire glass back unveils the hand-winding mechanical movement – a CP 12V-X caliber – featuring the hydrangea flower design on the upper disc and main plate. The alligator leather strap and its jaw pin buckle adorned with white gold and diamond-set hydrangea flowers is the perfect finishing touch for these subtly refined Haute Horlogerie timepieces.

LOUIS VUITTON, TAMBOUR MONOGRAM TOURBILLON

Louis Vuitton is opening a new chapter in its Great Complications saga by offering a Tambour Monogram Tourbillon in white gold.

A new face for the collection’s star piece.

The exceptional Tourbillon is seen as the most illustrious of complications and has become the ambassador for the Maison’s watchmaking dimension.

Pink gold makes way for white gold, but its manufacture mechanism remains unchanged. The self-winding Tourbillon movement designed by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton is still housed in the case. The LV80 calibre keeps time at 28,800 vibrations/hour and offers a 35hour power reserve.

Visible through the sapphire back, it reveals its Geneva Stripes decoration that adopts a sunray motif in harmony with the guillochage on the mother-of-pearl and diamond dial, while the lozine remains engraved on the oscillating weight.

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