The official website of the GPHG offers a mine of useful information to those who know how to access and process it. Using data mining techniques, we crawled the site to extract meaningful data about the 3,000-plus watches that have been entered into the competition over the past 14 years in order to come up with nine facts from the GPHG archives.
Note that this was largely made possible by the fact that the GPHG records its specifications in a standardised format since 2008, allowing the data to be read quite easily. Before 2008, however, only the brand name, model and a descriptive text (which could be either in English or French) are recorded on the official website. And before 2003, only the prize winners, rather than all participating watches, are recorded. The analysis below is therefore based mainly, but not exclusively, on the categorised data available from 2008.
1) Total number of different brands that have participated: 289
2) Brand with most number of entries: TAG Heuer (79 entries)
3) Biggest watch entered: The Bichrono Rafaga by DeLaCour measures a whopping 60.5 x 59mm and was entered in 2013 but did not make the preselection.
4) Smallest watch entered: Ludovic Lesemann’s “Peel Me!” at 15mm diameter.
The only entry in the competition by jeweller Ludovic Lesemann, the original design of the “Peel Me!” watch took the form of a sphere that could be peeled like an orange to form a bracelet. The 1800 diamonds used in each of the 33 limited edition watches pushed the cost to 90,000 Swiss francs. Sadly, this interesting piece failed to make the cut.
5) Most popular size of watch: 42mm
More a point for reflection, this figure is testament to an era of relatively large watches that may well be passing. Will this figure still be the same in five year’s time? (Note that this is the most popular single diameter indicated across all 3,000-plus watches and not an average of all the different sizes submitted).
6) The thinnest watch ever entered: Piaget Altiplano Extra Thin enamel
A factual inaccuracy in the archives mistakenly throws up a Piaget Altiplano reference G0A33082 as the thinnest watch ever entered in the competition. But the case height of 2mm indicated would make the complete watch even thinner than the movement inside it (which is 2.1mm high)! The real honour goes to another Piaget Altiplano model, the 900P entered in this year’s competition, which is the world’s thinnest mechanical watch at 3.65mm.
7) The most expensive watch entered in the GPHG: Hublot 5 million dollars.
Ironically, it almost slipped through the net in our analysis because the price is not indicated in the watch specifications, even though it is very clear from the watch’s name. Submitted and pre-selected in the GPHG 2012, it is by far the most expensive ever seen in the competition, costing twice the price of its nearest rival.
8) The cheapest watch entered: Azzaro Swiss Legend (365 Swiss francs)
9) The most water resistant: The limited-edition Pita Oceana model entered in the GPHG 2010 was water resistant to 5000 metres and broke new ground in diver’s watch technology. Unfortunately it was not shortlisted in the competition.
A more technical overview on how we produced this analysis (in English only), together with the programming source code, can be found on this Github page.