Breguet Classique Chronometrie wins watchmaking's top prize

The top prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie d'Genève (GPHG), watchmaking's highest awards, has been awarded to the Breguet Classique Chronométrie.

If right now you're thinking "Oh, like the Oscars of watchmaking?" - stop! But yes, sort of. There are prizes for everything from diamond-studded ladies watches to no-nonsense sport watches to high complications.

But the Aiguille d'Or (or "Golden Hand") is reserved for the most impressive watch across all categories.

The GPHG was established in 2001 as a way to promote watchmaking worldwide. While it is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and in fact the City of Geneva and the Canton of Geneva are both founding members of the supporting foundation, the competition is not limited to Swiss watches, and an exhibition of each year's competitors travels the world as a touring exhibition before the winners are announced.

These winners are chosen by a diverse 25-person jury that consists of auction veterans, working watchmakers, journalists, designers, watch collectors, retailers, and even the odd watch-loving celebrity such as John Mayer.

The Classique Chronométrie looks every bit the part of a classic Breguet watch. It has the fluted caseband, the guilloché dial, and the open-tipped hands that are even named for the French watchmaker.

But under the hood is where things get really interesting: A magnetic pivot system replaces the typical bearings for the balance, creating a nearly frictionless environment. To make this possible, the double balance spring and escape wheel must be made from silicon, a non-magnetic material. That this whole thing beats at 10 Hz - more than twice the speed of most watches - is absolutely insane.

Truly answering the question "What's the best watch?" is impossible. But no one could fault you for answering "the Breguet Classique Chronométrie".

Visit the gallery for a full list of the winners in all categories.

BLOOMBERG