expo geneve 2014 01

Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, select watches on display

The winners will be picked on October 31, 2014, but the 72 timepieces vying for 19 prizes in 12 categories at the 2014 edition of the event were presented one week before. An interesting harvest, featuring the return of the Swatch Group.

By Joel Grandjean

The Cité du Temps building, which seems to float on the waters of the Rhône River in Geneva, could not have dreamt of better guests for that rainy Wednesday evening. Among the 72 models that had come home to roost from their prelims around the world – in Delhi, India, and Beijing, China – it was the Swatch Group, followed by the Richemont and LVMH groups, that had made a triumphant return to this event. 

Proof that the diplomatic efforts of Carlo Lamprecht, president of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and the daily toils of his team had born fruit. Proof, too, that independent judgment and the quality of the selection processes can henceforth be fully trusted by participants. And speaking of independence… It was encouraging to note a 30 percent jump in the number of brands that do not belong to any major group.

Carlos Lamprecht

Baring the car show in Geneva and the agricultural trade fair Olma in St. Gallen, the Grand Prix is the only event that actually gets a State Councilor to attend, Carlo Lamprecht likes to point out. This year, it was Johann Schneider-Ammann, who has been in charge of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs since 2010. His presence will widen the horizon offered by the local political dignitaries in the face of an audience that is both Genevan as well cosmopolitan, since some of those present will be fans who flew in from India and China.


Demand is, in fact, global. It means extra pressure on the locals, so, as they did last year, the organizers will have to turn some people away. There is talk of 300 to 400 people! Because the Grand Théâtre, even with its many balconies, has become tighter and tighter each year. The reason for this success is not the presence of the two emcees, the smart-alecky writer Frédéric Beigbeder and the former Miss Switzerland, Melanie Winiger, now an actress. It simply derives from the fact that the event has reached its institutional age. 

Whatever… the evening will be under the sign of the watch and glamour, of course, it's what the hall itself suggests with its red carpeting, just like the name of the sponsor, now for the fourth time, the Bank of Rothschild (which means "red sign").

On October 31, the jury selection – which stipulates that a third of the members must be renewed each year – will be done in a congenial atmosphere. In the midst of industry wheels, including a solid crop of CEOs, including, as well, thanks to the main sponsor, students to be encouraged, and crafts to be uplifted. The program will feature a few new categories to enable all those who registered to compete with comparable watches and according to shared criteria.

Tourbillons, Striking, Mechanical Exceptions, these micromechanical UFOs that were pioneered by Maximilian Büsser and the Urwerk brand. Until that time, the timepieces can be admired – you can even vote for one right from this site, for the Public Prize.

De Bethune

And it is something that should not be missed, because once the winners have been announced, the exhibition will continue its journey representing Switzerland, Geneva and horological excellence abroad, first to England for the Salon QP, November 6-8

Jaquet Droz


Tudor Prince Oyster Bay "Snowflake"



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