Awards season is upon us. No, I don't mean the Oscars, nor the Globes, nor even the criminally under-reported Slammy Awards that honour the year's brightest and best in the world of professional wrestling. (Yes, they really exist, and who doesn't want to know which wrestler had the best facial hair, or sent the best tweet over the past year? Exactly.)
The watch industry has its own Oscars, of sorts, every November, when the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) is held. This year, the awards will be presented on November 15, so that still gives us time to pick through the best specimens in the running for prizes.
First up, in the sports watch category, is the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Extreme Limited Edition (below left). A new addition to the Pontos line, the Pontos S Extreme continues the range's masculine outline and design, with the case a beefy (though not overly so) 43mm, in a hi-tech alloy, and the case-back made of titanium. What makes this a limited edition is the black and red colour scheme. The dial design has more than an air of Tag Heuer about it, but there's nothing wrong with mimicking the best sports watchmakers out there. On the black dial there are three chronograph subdials, with small seconds at the nine o'clock position, a 30-minute chronograph subdial at the 12 o'clock position and a 12-hour subdial at the six o'clock position, where there is also a date window. Inside is a Valjoux 7750 movement that pumps out 46 hours of power. Bolstering its sporty credentials, the strap is black leather with contrasting red stitching, but really you should be swapping that out for a Nato strap. Limited to 999 pieces, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Extreme Limited Edition is priced at HK$50,500. There are also non-limited versions in blue- and khaki-coloured cases, priced at HK$46,000.
Next, we come to the men's complications category, perhaps the most keenly followed award by journalists and nerds of a horology persuasion. There are a lot of great watches in this category, but perhaps the standout in terms of looks is the Romain Jerome Moon Orbit (above left). Limited to 25 pieces and priced at about HK$1 million, the Moon Orbit is sized at a chunky 48.5mm by 44.5mm, and, at 20.35mm thick, it isn't a watch for the slim-wristed. The curiously shaped case is made of steel and houses an even more curiously designed double-faced dial - one face to indicate the time, the other to show off the flying tourbillon that "orbits" the left-hand side of the watch. At the bottom of the watch - nominally the six o'clock area - there is a wonderfully simple and modernist power-reserve indicator, to gauge the 42 hours of power. The lunar element in the name doesn't refer to a moon-phase indication, because there isn't one; rather it's a nod to the Apollo 11 missions, with Romain Jerome claiming steel harvested from that spacecraft went into the manufacture. So in a sense, this watch can actually lay claim to the "out of this world" cliche.
Finally, we have the Zeitwinkel 273° (above right), which is also up for the men's complications watch award. A more simplistic and classically designed watch, the 273° couldn't be any more different to the Moon Orbit. Its major features are the large date window at the 10 o'clock position and the power-reserve indicator on the opposite side. The steel case is sized at 42.5mm and houses the in-house ZW 0103 movement that is sure to please the judges with the impressive 72 hours of power it provides. The Zeitwinkel 273° is priced at about HK$100,000 and is also available in midnight blue.