It’s “Oscars” time for the luxury watch world, with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève having just taken place. The annual event spans 14 categories, ranging from best divers watch to best chronograph. So if you’re looking to source the best watches for men, this is an excellent place to start, at the very least for inspiration.
And this year did not disappoint, largely due to the fact that the watch world could gather together in one place again after nearly two years of isolation and lockdowns. So let’s start with that. Then let’s get to the award winners, representing some of the world’s elite brands:
“Aiguille D’Or” Grand Prix – Bulgari Octo Finissimo
Octogonal shaped case, titanium, metal strap, titanium dial, self-winding mechanical, power reserve 60 hours, 40 mm. Price, including VAT: 57,000 CHF ($77,650 CAD, $62,400 USD).
“Aesthetics are inseparable from functionality when it comes to reinterpreting a sophisticated classic horological complication in a resolutely contemporary manner. The outcome? No less than 408 components interacting within the extremely limited space provided by the slender 5.80 mm case of the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar. The development of the 2.75 mm calibre required the movement design engineers of the Manufacture in Le Sentier to devise new solutions, such as the use of a micro-rotor and the optimal use of the space between the components without reducing their dimensions.”
Men’s Watch Prize: Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Caliber 9SA5
Steel case, folding buckle, polished lacquer, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve 80 hours, 40 mm. Price: 10,500 CHF ($14,300 CAD, $11,500 USD).
“The watch is powered by the revolutionary Caliber 9SA5, released in 2020 in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko. The SLGH005 watch is the first creation equipped with the new caliber to join the main Grand Seiko collection. Caliber 9SA5 has a precision rate of -3 to +5 seconds a day and achieves a long power reserve of 80 hours. The precision, power and slimness of Caliber 9SA5 are the result of the radical re-design of key structures.”
Men’s Complication Watch Prize: MB&F LMX Titanium
Titanium case, leather strap, manual-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is168 hours, lacquered subdials, green CVD dial plate, 44 mm. Price: 106000 CHF ($144,350 CAD, $116,075 USD).
“Of particular note is the new bespoke balance wheel. It’s a 13.4mm behemoth with inertia blocks that marks a departure from the more traditional screwed balances. That offers greater accuracy to the watchmaker in regulating the heart of LMX. Other refinements include the polished arms of the straight bridges exposed on the dial plate, manually finished to impart a curved, or bercé, profile on their upper surfaces.”
Iconic Watch Prize: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra Thin
Platinum case, smoked green dial with sunburst pattern, 39 mm size, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 40 hours. Price is 97100 CHF ($132,300 CAD, $106,330 USD).
“The 39mm “Jumbo” is presented with a full 950 platinum case and bracelet as well as a smoked green dial adorned with a sunburst pattern. This is the first time that this configuration has been employed within the 15202 collection. Just 8.1 mm in thickness, the case also confers a slender appearance. The white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands are treated with luminescent coating, aiding legibility in dim light.”
Tourbillon Watch Prize: De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon
Titanium, leather strap, one side of the dial titanium other side guilloché, manual-winding mechanical, power reserve is120 hours, ten pieces limited series, 42.8 mm. Price: 215000 CHF ($292,800 CAD, $235,360 USD).
“Two very different faces, both aesthetically and technically. The DB Kind of Two Tourbillon is perfectly reversible. It can be worn on either side according to the mood of the moment. The front side of the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon displays a dial featuring a sleek, contemporary design. It has central hours and minutes hands as well as a tourbillon at 6 o’clock, complete with a 30-second indication.
“The other side reveals a dial based on more traditional aesthetic inspiration. It has a finely hand-guilloché central part surrounded by the numerals already featured on the dials of De Bethune models such as the DB8 and DB10.”
Calendar and Astronomy Watch Prize: Christiaan Van Der Klaauw CVDK Planetarium Eise Eisinga
Pink gold case, leather strap, 40 mm, micro oil painted dial by hand dial, six piece limited series, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 96 hours. Price: 59950 CHF ($81,530 CAD, $65,600 USD).
“The in-house designed module gives you the smallest mechanical heliocentric Planetarium in the world. It displays real time the solar orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It also shows you the minutes, the hours, the date and month. The smallest mechanical Planetarium in the world is located at the 6 o’clock position. The colored planets are hand painted. The golden Sun is positioned exactly in the middle of the Planetarium.”
Mechanical Exception Watch Prize: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic
White gold case, leather bracelet, lacquered dial finish, 41 mm, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 48 hours. Price: 30300 CHF ($41,200 CAD, $33,120 USD).
“The case-back of the white gold case serves as the mainplate to which 219 components are affixed. Piaget craftsmen’s precise technique has also allowed for a suspended barrel, held in place by a single bridge on the dial side. This impressive men’s ultra-thin watch highlights the signature codes of the Altiplano collection from its alternating double and simple indexes to its off-centred hour and minute display. Its modern open-worked design gives this luxury white gold watch a pure and contemporary aesthetic that allows you to bask in its ingenuity.”
Best watches for men: Chronograph Watch Prize: Zenith Chronomaster Sport
Steel case, 41 mm, metal strap, white lacquered dial with 3 colored subdials, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 60 hours. Price: 9900 CHF ($13,400 CAD, $10,800 USD).
“This worthy descendant of the Chronomaster lineage features a sleek, robust and beautifully proportioned steel case. It measures 41 mm wide with pump-style pushers. The watch is driven by the new high-frequency El Primero 3600 calibre offering greater performance and precision than ever. Endowed with a 60-hour power reserve, the mechanism and its striking architecture can be admired through the sapphire display back. That reveals a blue column wheel and open rotor marked with the five-pointed Zenith star. The new Chronomaster Sport is the only watch to feature a 1/10th of a second display etched directly on its polished and graduated black ceramic bezel.”
Best watches for men: Diver’s Watch Prize: Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver Skyline Blue
Steel, navy blue PVD treatment case, rubber strap, 44 mm, sunray navy blue dial finish, 100 metre water resistance, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 50 hours. Price: 6350 CHF ($8,635 CAD, $6,940 USD).
“This year, this iconic watch has been reimagined in the form of the Tambour Street Diver. That takes Louis Vuitton into the realm of high-end sports watchmaking with a timepiece designed to go from the gym to the club, the beach to the office. Robust and edgy with a decidedly sporty outlook. The Tambour Street Diver brings together all the requirements of a traditional dive watch. It retains the colourful, creative and unconventional style elements that have always been central to the House.”
Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: MB&F LM SE Eddy Jaquet ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’
Pink gold case material, leather bracelet, 44.5 mm, lacquered subdials, hand engraved dial finish, one-piece limited series, manual-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 72 hours. Price: 159000 CHF ($216,630 CAD, $173,750 USD).
“MB&F puts the work of a traditional artisan in the spotlight with the LM Split Escapement ‘Eddy Jaquet’ edition. It’s a series of eight unique pieces featuring the extraordinary imagination and skill of the master engraver, depicting the novels of Jules Verne – including “Around the World in Eighty Days”.
“Petite Aiguille” Prize: Tudor Black Bay Ceramic
Ceramic case material, leather, rubber strap, 41 mm, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 70 hours. Price: 4500 CHF ($6,130 CAD, $4,900 USD).
“41 mm diameter case in matt black ceramic, domed dial, with applied hour markers. Snowflake hands, one of the hallmarks of the TUDOR diving watches introduced in 1969. Grade A Swiss Super-LumiNova luminescent material, Manufacture Calibre MT5602-1U. Certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), with a silicon hairspring. Master Chronometer certification.”
Challenge Watch Prize: CIGA Design Blue Planet
Titanium case material, rubber bracelet, 46 mm, self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 40 hours. Price: 1800 CHF ($2,455 CAD, $1,970 USD).
“The whole world has been suffered from COVID-19 since 2020, which lead us to rethink how we can treat the earth better. The purpose of creating the Blue Planet is to remind all of us to protect our only home. We invented a brand-new mechanical movement. On the typical movement 30° rotation of the hour hand followed by a 360° rotation of the minutes hand. We developed a new gear ratio, on which the hour hand(the earth) rotates by 30° and the minute chapter ring rotates by 390°. The original technology was named “Asynchronous-Follow”.
Horological Revelation Prize: Furlan Marri MR. Grey Ref. 1041-A
Steel case, leather strap, 38 mm, matte sandblast , PVD polished indexes dial, Hybrid Meca-Quartz movement. Price: 495 CHF ($675 CAD, $540 USD).
“Furlan Marri was founded in Geneva by two young enthusiasts a year ago. The first story told by Furlan Marri is that of the Mecha-Quartz chronograph. A mechanical module on a quartz base, invented in the 1980s (in Switzerland and Japan), during the quartz crisis, in order to rediscover the feeling of a vintage mechanical chronograph. This first model was funded in less than a minute by a crowdfunding campaign, in March 2021, created in less than a year.”
Audacity Prize: Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem
Pink gold case material, black alligator strap, enamel, hand-painting, hand-engravings dial finish, 46.8 mm, manual-winding mechanical movement, power reserve is 100 hours. Price: 465000 CHF ($635,000 CAD, $509,000 USD).
“Having produced several special orders for watches with automata in secret for a select group of clients, Louis Vuitton decided to lift the veil on the mystery by creating a one of a kind model. It took two years of development for the Tambour Carpe Diem to join the House’s watch collections. “Our aim was to get off the beaten track”, explains Michel Navas, Master Watchmaker at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. “We wanted to bring to the jacquemart our vision of the 21st century with all the energy and creativity characteristic of our brand since it began producing watches in 2002.”
Originally, jacquemarts were automata created to strike the hours on church bell towers. When watchmakers miniaturised them on timepieces, their function became essentially decorative – to add a bit of fun to the dial – and the time continued to be indicated by classic hands.”
Innovation Prize: Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
White gold case, skeletonised dial finish, 44 mm, leather bracelet, manual-winding mechanical movement, 25 pieces limited series, power reserve is 38 hours. Price: 137850 CHF ($188,200 CAD, $151,000 USD).
“Lederer Watches’ Central Impulse Chronometer is the fruit of ten years of labour from Bernhard Lederer. This refined, gray gold, 44 mm chronometer is fitted with a blue dial featuring a sophisticated pattern and two openworked small seconds. Through those, the movement’s design, finishings and structure are revealed.
Calibre 9012 incorporates a double gear train, a double remontoire and a peerless escapement. Its structure is all about depth, with bridges whose shapes, volumes and outlines are unique. Some are full and engraved, others are openworked while all of them are hand-bevelled and finished according to exacting quality standards.
The movement’s structure features a single crown which leads to a pair of separate gear trains. Each has its own barrel and its own remontoire. Wound every 10 seconds, the latter provide a constant force, a perfectly even torque to the Central Impulse Chronometer escapement.”