This week in November is a busy time for us here in Geneva. The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) and major watch auctions are all happening within a single week.
In addition, this year we have the eighth edition of biennial charity watch auction Only Watch taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, which exponentially raises the level of anticipation surrounding in the city. For the next ten days, at least in the eyes of watch lovers everywhere, Geneva is the centre of the universe.
The precise location varies within Geneva from day to day, but one could argue that two days ago, it was at the Musées d’art et d’histoire, when the GPHG jury convened for the final round of voting. It’s my third year on the jury, and every year without fail, the day after the final vote, I get asked who the winners are.
The 84 watches at the Musées d'art et d'histoire © WorldTempus/Joy Corthésy
Here’s the thing. I don’t know. None of us knows. We vote on each category in turn, and we vote individually after handling the watches in person, using a personal set of ballot papers issued by the GPHG organising team. Open discussion is permitted and encouraged, but the vote is ultimately secret, unless you plan on going around each judging table looking over people’s shoulders to see who they’ve voted for. (I can think of quite a few of my fellow jury members who would react pretty negatively to that.) The seating arrangement is also mixed up every three categories or so, ensuring that table discussions are kept fresh and that each jurist has the chance to experience different points of view. After we go through each category, our ballot papers are submitted to an official notary of the City of Geneva, who sits in camera in the jury chamber to make sure there’s no messing about. And that’s as much as any of us knows about the vote before the envelopes are opened on stage at the ceremony.
Our Editor-in-chief Suzanne Wong voting © WorldTempus/Suzanne Wong
In the run up to the awards ceremony, which takes place tomorrow evening, we’ve seen quite a bit of buzz about the various categories, diverse speculation about the winners and so on. Several industry friends have told me about the betting pools set up by enterprising individuals in their offices, and someone actually showed me an Instagram account that’s openly giving odds and accepting wagers. It’s probably not super legit. Don’t do online gambling, boys and girls. Stay in school.
Here at WorldTempus, we’re getting in on the fun as well. Head on over to our Instagram story feed — we’re offering a prize to a follower who correctly guesses the winner of the GPHG Prix d’Aiguille d’Or 2019. Don’t forget as well to follow the action, live streamed on our website starting tomorrow 6.30pm Central European Time (CET). And if you can’t wait until tomorrow evening to get your fill of GPHG content, we’ve got all the news and coverage on the last six months of GPHG happenings on a dedicated GPHG section.
And one last thing for all competing brands: Break a leg!