What is the biggest surprise of the 2014 edition for you?
The record number of watches in the competition. More than 240 watches have been submitted this year. And all the major watchmaking groups are represented, alongside numerous independent brands. We are pleased to see brands both big and small in healthy competition with each other, in the knowledge that their participation in the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix promotes the art of watchmaking as a whole. We are delighted with this record participation, which validates our work. Since the Foundation of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix was set up in 2011 we have worked hard to ensure that it is transparent, independent and that it develops at international level. But the future of the Grand Prix is in the hands of the stakeholders in the world of watchmaking. That is why we would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all the brands who accept the challenge of this competition, as well as all those who support us in our celebration of the 12th Art.
What are the main changes that have been made for the 14th edition of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix?
We follow current trends and developments closely in order to showcase the variety in watch production and adapt the prizes and the categories in the competition each year. This year sees the following new categories: Chronograph, Calendar, Tourbillon, Striking watches and Mechanical Exceptions, because we believe that it is important to reward creativity and expertise in these areas.
Each year, one-third of the jury is renewed. Among the new members we are delighted to welcome Philippe Dufour, who was awarded the jury’s special prize in 2013, as well as William Rohr, Takeshi Matsuyama, John Goldberger, Zhixiang Ding and three major watch retailers: René Beyer (Beyer Chronometrie AG), Abdul Hamied Seddiqi (Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons) and Michael Tay (The Hour Glass). American singer and watch collector John Mayer and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who joined last year, are once again part of the jury, whose full composition is listed on our website: www.gphg.org.
What are your general impressions of the range of watches submitted by the brands? Do you see a continuity in trends?
Every year we are surprised by the extraordinary creativity and vitality in the art of watchmaking. The watches entered in the competition are an excellent reflection of the values that are traditionally associated with watchmaking: excellence, innovation, precision and expertise. We admire this industry which manages to reinvent itself year after year yet maintain a continuity and respect for its values, and it is an honour for us to help with its promotion.
Does the exhibition planned in New Delhi for the first time meet a genuine demand from the Indian consumer?
The travelling exhibition of the watches pre-selected by the jury will indeed make a stopover in New Delhi for the first time this year, from 26 to 27 September. Each year, we try to bring this exhibition, which gives an international audience the chance to see some of the best watches of the year, to new destinations. We choose the countries with the biggest interest and also pursue opportunities as and when they arise. In this particular case it was both a wish on our part and a proposal from a major Indian retailer, Ethos Watches, who is our partner for the organisation. The exhibition will first be presented to a select audience of watch lovers at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi, with a dinner organised for 150 people in the embassy gardens. It will then be open to a wider audience at the Imperial Hotel, in the centre of New Delhi. The pre-selected watch will then be presented in Beijing and, as is customary, in Geneva for the ten days preceding the awards ceremony. Finally, all the winners will be on display at Salon QP in London the following week.