Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève opens in Dubai

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Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève opens in Dubai

Adding glamour to Dubai’s reputation at a time when the UAE is vying to host the World Expo 2020, the city on Tuesday rolled out the red carpet for the “Oscar” nominees in haute horlogerie.

By Suresh Pattali

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Published: Wed 23 Oct 2013, 9:39 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:00 PM

The opening of Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), the only globally recognised independent international awards for excellence in watchmaking, at the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, DIFC, placed Dubai alongside the world’s most prestigious luxury capitals.

“This will be our first time bringing these exquisite timepieces to the Middle East and it is a pleasure to showcase this year’s edition of an event that has been dubbed the watch industry’s “Oscars” by many, and offer the opportunity to experience watches that have been pre-selected by the distinguished jury of this 13th Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix,” said Carlo Lamprecht, president of the GPHG Foundation.

Lamprecht thanked pioneers Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons who have played a key role in bringing the exhibition to Dubai, which he said is “undoubtedly one of the world’s most prestigious capitals and luxury tourist destinations that is on the verge of becoming a leading hub in the fields of finance and international trade”.

He said the GPHG was keen on linking with Dubai because of the foundation’s close relations with Seddiqi & Sons and wanted to share the city’s experience. Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, vice- chairman of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and a jury member of the 2011 GPHG award, said the exhibition is a milestone for the watch industry in the Middle East and serves as a “reminder of the growing importance of Dubai as a pivotal tour de force within the region”.

“To have the GPHG in Dubai is a great honour and a positive sign of great things to come,” he added.

Besides Dubai, Beijing, Macau and Singapore are the only cities lucky enough to host the touring exhibition of 69 masterpieces shortlisted from more than 200 nominees. The watches are vying for the top spot in 10 categories and the coveted Golden Hand prize.

Carine Maillard, director of the GPHG, said this year the number of categories has been increased from seven to 10 to honour the diversity of creations. “There are more and more Ladies’ Complication watches, and Artistic Crafts are very much in the limelight, so we have created categories to reward the expertise displayed in these fields,” said Maillard.

She said two new awards are joining the 2013 prize list — the “Revival Prize” that will salute the best contemporary interpretations of an iconic model and the horological “Revelation Prize” that will reward a creation by a youthful brand.

She said the GPHG has also broadened the fields of competence represented within its jury by enlisting personalities recognised as authorities in the world of design, jewellery and architecture. Apart from American rock star John Mayer, designer Philippe Starck and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the jury also includes Indian jeweller and collector Viren Bhagat.

Calude Sfeir, the Middle East’s biggest watch collector, is another key member of the jury which will announce the winners on November 15 at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. It will be broadcast worldwide and commented live from New York.

For now, the Dubai exhibition will run till October 24.

In the Ladies’ Complications, Boucheron’s Épure Tourbillon Vitis with its extraordinary vine leaf design incorporating an intricate web of veins and a bunch of grapes sculpted from one-piece of mother-of-pearl, and Van Cleef’s & Arpels’ the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée oozing the grace of a ballerina will steal the heart of any member of the fair sex. The Épure Tourbillon Vitis pays homage to nature while the magical Lady Arpels is a poetic vision of time.

The entire Innovation category, including Antoine Martin’s Slow Runner, born out of the watchmaker’s idea of “slowing down time”, and Vianney Halter’s Deep Space Tourbillon, is a mind-blowing experience.

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