How is the 15th anniversary of the GPHG shaping up?
Carine Maillard : Registrations have been open since the start of May and close on 22nd June. We saw a record number of entries last year and hope to see the same this year, too. The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie is a competition but it has a unifying image. It is a promotional tool for the entire industry, regardless of who wins. As Nick Hayek recently said, “the Swiss watchmaking industry is seen as a single entity by its customers”. We count on the participation of the brands, because taking part both shows the vitality of the entire industry and supports it, which we believe is all the more important in the current climate. As usual, the 15th awards ceremony will take place at the Grand Théâtre de Genève on 29th October. But we will be using a different venue for the 2016 and 2017 editions because this theatre will be under renovation.
Carlo Lamprecht : For the fifth consecutive year, in other words since the creation of the GPHG Foundation, the Swiss Federal Council will be represented at the awards ceremony. This year, Mr Alain Berset, Minister in charge of the Federal Department of Home Affairs will honour us with his presence. The arrival of smart watches, the difficulties created by the strength of the Swiss franc, the drop in sales in some Asian markets are just some of the challenges that the Swiss watchmaking industry faces this year. Our travelling exhibition that presents the most beautiful creations of the year helps the industry to consolidate its position in the major markets of the world.
What will be the most significant stopover for the exhibition this year?
Carine Maillard : Our exhibition in Dubai, which will take place from 18th until 22nd October. This stage of our road show will be a part of the first Dubai Watch Week, organised by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in association with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. This partnership allows us to extend our horizons and offer, in parallel to our exhibition of the shortlisted watches, a forum on the art and culture of watchmaking that will include discussions, conferences and workshops. The Dubai Watch Week is intended to be a cultural and educational platform and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Dubai calendar and the watchmaking calendar.
Carlo Lamprecht : In addition to Dubai, which has included the GPHG in the great annual events of the United Arab Emirates, we wanted to go back to Hong Kong as well, since it is a strategic location for watch sales in Asia. Although it has yet to be confirmed, we are in the advanced stages of discussions to be present in South Korea for the first time, in Seoul, where the luxury market is booming. After the exhibition in Geneva, the winning watches will be on show at Salon QP in London. All these exhibitions will be complemented by debates and events that are open to watch fans and collectors and moderated by world-renowned figures in the industry. All this is achieved with the help of the Swiss embassies in the respective countries.
In 2012 you institutionalised the 12th Art, the art of measuring time. Is it too early to talk about the impact of this move?
Carlo Lamprecht : Carlo Lamprecht: I am increasingly convinced that this designation is not outdated and that, on the contrary, it is fully justified. We that people are taking it into account more and more, quite naturally and quite justifiably. The ingenuity of the innovations we see, the constant quest for excellence and the emotion such creations evoke from fans, watchmaking definitely deserves to be recognised and admitted to the Pantheon of the arts, under the chapter of the XIIth Art.