(From Left to Right: Carine Maillard, Director GPHG, Ian Thorpe, Valérie Boscat, Director Marketing and Communications GPHG)
The Hour Glass Australia recently hosted the first stage of the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) roadshow in Sydney featuring the 84 timepieces pre-selected by the 2019 jury. At the opening night, we sat down with Carine Maillard, Director of the GPHG to understand a little more about the Foundation, its mission and the journey so far.
Could you tell us a little about the GPHG?
The journey has been exciting, like every year. We had many brands participating this year and a record of registered watches. We had the first round of voting by the jury in July and we gathered all the 84 pre-selected watches for the travelling exhibition, which is for a cosmopolite public a very unique opportunity to see the finest watches of the year reunited in a same place. Sydney is the first stop of the 2019 traveling exhibition and after that we will be going to Bangkok, Mexico, Puebla, Geneva and then Dubai with the winning watches. The brands are following and recognise our efforts greatly. Next year we will celebrate the 20th edition of the GPHG, which is a great milestone, with new projects to grow and evolve in our mission to celebrate the vitality and excellence of watchmaking.
It is the first time GPHG has come to Australia…
Australia is definitely a growing market, gaining great momentum, hence it is very important for us to be here. When The Hour Glass suggested to have an exhibition here in Sydney, we thought it was a great opportunity. It is always essential for us to find a credible and serious local partner in the countries we visit to be able to organise a quality event. With The Hour Glass we had the guarantee to have a well organized and great exhibition.
Could you take us through the application process?
We are very much into transparency. The brands decide to participate or not and have to register in May-June. There were some 200 entries at the beginning, all presented on our website and distributed in 14 categories. The jury then narrowed these down to 84, in the first round of voting. The voting process is explained in our Rules, available on our website. The second round which is three days before the Awards ceremony, this is where the Jury will come together in Geneva, to physically evaluate the 84 preselected watches and proceed to the second round of voting to determine the winners of the various awards.
How has the Challenge category evolved?
In our first year we had a lot of participants in that category and we were extremely happy with the turn out. This year is a little less than last year, but still big. This category is important because it highlights excellence at a low price, making such watches is a real challenge. We opened two other categories this year – Iconic – which is for brands that have models which have been around for more than 25 years. We also have the diver’s category, instead of the sports category. Fairs like Baselworld and SIHH are a great opportunities for us to map out and see what we shall introduce. If we see there are many new models in one category, that’s when we consider it. For example this year we also have again our Calendar category, which we did not have last year. We try to adapt to the market and tendencies, in order to salute the best creations of the year in all their diversity.
Coming to the Jury, how important is it to have an external viewpoint?
We don’t have many people from outside the industry. Most of the jury members are involved in the industry in some way or the other. It’s true that we had some personalities like Philippe Starck, the french designer, or Eric Singer, the musician from Kiss, who also are very much interested in watches. This year we have Aldis Hodge, who is extremely knowledgeable about watches. We always try to have personalities involved in the aesthetics and the art side. This is a very important perspective of course, essential to have in the jury.