GPHG 2015: Ladies High-Mech Watches
With the pre-selected Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève watches now visible on the organization’s own site, enthusiasts can see all the nominees for the annual “Oscars of the watchmaking industry”on Oct. 29. Until then, we will annotate the list of nominated watches for you with a series of posts, organized by category, so you can put each nominee into context.

All told, 72 timepieces will be competing to win the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prize or one of the 16 prizes awarded for creative talent and watchmaking expertise. Readers can submit their own vote for the Public Prize at the GPGH site, where each voter also enters a contest to win a Glorious Knight Chronograph by DeWitt.

Today we look at the watches nominated in the Ladies High-Mech category.


This Il Giardino Notturno watch is a study in dial design, with its bold moon-phase indicator traversing the upper part of the dial, grounded by the mother-of-pearl moonflower display below. The 37mm white gold watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours, with hours and minutes in addition to the moon-phase complication. Diamonds decorate the bezel and also add sparkling details to the flowers, which are crafted from varying shades of mother-of-pearl. The moonflowers are engraved using the champlevé technique, then gem set, polished and rhodium-plated. The marquetry specialist then sets white and Tahitian mother-of-pearl inserts into the engraved petals.


The Hortensia Creative Complication foregoes the use of hands to mark the hours, engaging flowers in their stead. The highly decorated dial celebrates various art forms, including engraving, stone setting, sculpting and enameling, and two hydrangea blooms take center stage. The central diamond-set flower indicates the hours with a pink sapphire petal, while the second blossom, in pink mother-of-pearl, indicates the minutes. This 41mm white gold watch is powered by a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 36 hours. It comes on a white leather strap with a folding buckle.


Taking its inspiration from Peter Carl Fabergé’s Peacock Egg of 1908, the Lady Compliquée Peacock watch features hours and retrograde minutes via an Agenhor-designed manual-winding retrograde movement. Hours are read at the winding crown at three o’clock via a mother-of-pearl ring that rotates counterclockwise, while the minutes are indicated by the fanning tail feathers of a peacock that move simultaneously but at different speeds. The 38mm platinum watch is set with 54 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel. The 18-karat gold dial is set with 127 brilliant-cut diamonds, 31 Paraiba tourmalines and 57 tsavorites.


This rendition of the Jaquet-Droz Lady 8 Flower is a nice example of the company’s roots in the art of the automaton that began with Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The automaton in this case is the opening and closing of the enameled and engraved lotus under the domed crystal at the upper part of the stylized figure eight. The beautifully decorated dial on the lower part of the watch is home to a butterfly with outstretched wings and central hours and minutes hands. The Jaquet Droz 615 self-winding, single-barrel mechanical movement’s timekeeping attributes include hours and minutes. A pusher actuates the automaton, which begins the ballet of the petals opening to reveal a swiveling diamond inside.


The silver guilloché dial is home to a variety of indications: month and leap year cycle at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock, moon phases at 6 o’clock and day of the week at 9 o’clock. The movement will require no manual adjustment until the year 2100, but if correction should be necessary in the event that the timepiece has not been worn for a long time, tiny correctors hidden inside the watch allow for fast and easy adjustment. The 36mm red gold case houses the self-winding caliber MB 29.15, which may be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback. The bezel is set with 60 diamonds, and the winding crown is set with the patented Montblanc Diamond.


Even with the current profusion of skeletonized watches, this Piaget Altiplano 1200S is a real standout: It takes the double prize for thinness for a gem-set skeletonized automatic timepiece at just 3.00mm for the movement and 6.00mm for the case. Apparently it requires about four days to finish one 1200D movement, including the gem setting, and even the tiny screw heads are concealed under black sapphire cabochons so as not to interrupt the jewelry-like display. Over all, 360 brilliant-cut diamonds decorate this timepiece, which is available only in Piaget boutiques.
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