Nobody remembers who finished in second place, or so the saying goes. Not many people remember Carl Lewis' valiant dash to the line in the 1988 Summer Olympics 100-metre final, as he trailed in the wake of a juiced up Ben Johnson. People will be aghast to hear that Chocolat was nominated for the best film Oscar in 2000 and I am sure everyone has forgotten HD DVD lost out to Blu-Ray in the hi-def format war that raged in the middle of the naughties. Before the prizes are handed out, however, we all take an indulgent interest in the host of contenders and, in the watch world, such giddy interest is focused on the list of nominees for the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Gen?ve, held at the Geneva Watch Festival, in Switzerland, every November. The nominees for men's watch of the year are a curious and disparate bunch which have been nominated for technical or innovative reasons. Here we take a look at some of the more stylish contenders.
When one considers award-winning watches one instinctively thinks of venerable brands such as Audemars Piguet and, this year, the company's Millenary 4101 (right) has been nominated for the best men's watch award. The Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 is the latest version to come out of the Millenary range and maintains the oval case but with some changes to the face. The dial is slightly exposed, revealing the complex movement and showing off the expert handicraft that Audemars Piguet is famed for. The watch has been nominated for its innovative new Calibre 4101 movement that neatly fits the watch case with no need for a ring or additional plate to fill empty space inside. The face itself is a delight- fully eccentric play on the orthodox, with elongated and warped numerals and a 60-second counter at the seven o'clock position. The Millenary 4101 has an enormous 60-hour power reserve and comes with a black or brown crocodile leather strap. The timepiece comes in two varieties, with the stainless-steel version priced at HK$161,000 and the rose-gold version costing HK$265,000.
Frederique Constant has been nominated for its simple yet classic looking Slimline Automatic (right). Available with either a numeral free white or black face, the first thing that strikes you about this watch is the lack of clutter on the 40mm dial. The case comes in a choice of stainless steel, rose gold, yellow gold or titanium. The Slimline Automatic is water resistant to 60 metres and there is a date indicator at the three o'clock position but aside from that there is little that is showy about this watch and it is all the better for it. Prices depend on the bracelet and case options, with the lowest priced options starting at HK$13,500 and the most expensive topping out at HK$26,500.
Rounding out the awards round-up is the Baume et Mercier Capeland Flyback Chronograph 10007 (above). Priced at HK$34,700, the timepiece is feature packed, with a tachymeter, telemeter, date function as well as the flyback chronograph in the name, which make this a winner on price per complications alone. The 44mm case is made of polished 18-carat rose gold and the face has old world, nautical charm, with overlapping dials and indicators and charming typefonts used for the numerals. Water resistant to 50 metres, the Capeland Flyback Chronograph 10007 also has a meaty power reserve of 48 hours and comes complete with a brown alligator leather strap with ecru stitching.