Ladies watches have always played an important role in the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve, or GPHG, and the upcoming edition is no exception. Two categories are exclusively dedicated to ladies timepieces, while others, such as the Jewellery and Artistic Crafts category, also incorporate watches for women. The pre-selected watches are very impressive, and show how far ladies watches have come. Not too long ago, the vast majority of them where quartz powered, and now we see complicated movements combine with intricate designs, often without sacrificing functionality.
One of the contestants in the Ladies category is the Urwerk UR-106 Flower Power. It is still remarkable to see how a very masculine watch brand like Urwerk, can all of a sudden create such a stunning watch for the fairer sex, without compromising any part of the brands DNA.
It is however up to some tough competition, as Chanel competes in the category with the Première Camélia Skeleton. The brand has very quickly developed itself as a serious player in Haute Horlogerie ladies watches. Regarding design, the brand already has a few classics, but these are now matched with creative, and very beautiful, Manufacture movements.
Audemars Piguet enters the Royal Oak Frosted Gold in this category. It is still remarkable, how after 40 years, the Royal Oak can still look as current as when it first entered the market. However, by applying the Florentine decoration technique, Audemars Piguet has given the audemars piguet royal oak 39mm skeleton rose gold a whole new look, and one that most likely will please the judges of the GPHG.
Further contestants in this category are the Chopard Imperiale Moonphase, Fiona Krüger’s Petit Skull Celebration “Eternity” and Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tonda Métropolitaine Sélène Galaxy.
The solution to the problem of how to get great tone and volume out of the water-resistant audemars piguet dual time was solved by changing how the gongs are mounted while in the view. Normally in a repeater, the block for the gongs is screwed onto the movement plate, on the side with the movement opposite the dial (in repeaters with display backs, the only part of the chiming system that is certainly visible is usually the regulator, the hammers, and the gongs themselves). This usually means the sound has to travel through the caseback, and that the dial, crystal, and situation act as resonating surfaces. The blend of all these factors is what determines the final sound.
In the Ladies High-Mech category compete the more complicated women’s watches for the highest honor, such as the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Papillon Automate. With a miniature butterfly on the dial, which can flutter its wings in a very realistic way, the audemars piguet royal oak extra-thin was the talk of SIHH 2017, and might actually do the same at the GPHG.
Tourbillons in ladies watches are no exception anymore. They usually go beyond what we find in men’s watches, a beautiful audemars piguet quantieme perpetuel automatique with a tourbillon as main attraction, but rather incorporate it into a watch that also displays other artistic components. A great example of this is the Graff Mastergraff Floral Tourbillon, where the tourbillon is just one ingredient, placed on equal grounds with the rest what this watch has to offer.
Girard-Perregaux emphasizes the moon phase complication with the Cat’s Eye Celestial. As a window to space, it dominates the design of this watch, yet in the most stunning way. Girard-Perregaux achieved this by paying significant attention to also the other details of the watch. A strong contender, but in order to win, it not only needs to beat the two watches mentioned above but also the Claude Meylan Tortue “Petite Fleur,” the Chaumet Creative Complication Colombes and the Little Lange 1 Moonphase by A.Lange & söhne, who also compete in this category.