An astonishingly intricate, three-dimensional display of the planet is the eye-catching hero of the timepiece announced as 2018's best at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards handed out in in Geneva, Switzerland.
'The Oscars of Watchmaking', as GPHG is known, eschews popularity and marketing to hone in on fine craftsmanship, artistic appeal and astonishing feats of miniaturised engineering – all of which are categorised by this year's overall winner (known as the Aiguille d'Or Grand Prix) – the Bovet 1822 Récital 22 Grand Récital.
Chosen from 78 finalists across 12 categories, the Bovet is also the exclamation point on a trilogy of watches from the nearly-200-year-old Swiss maker, following its Récital 18 Shooting Star Tourbillon in 2016 and the Récital 20 Astérium in 2017. It's the first time Bovet has won the top gong at the coveted GPHG award.
The showpiece three-dimension render of the globe is engraved and hand-painted, including luminescence, and astonishingly is fully customised to its owner, displaying their home location as its centre. An outer ring displays moon phases and the eye-catching golden tourbillon represents the sun.
Unlike most watches, the wow factor doesn't end at the incredibly detailed face. Flip over the Bovet to reveal a perpetual calendar featuring indicators for hour, day of the week, date, month and leap year.
It's impossible to estimate the time taken to develop and construct such a watch, but the price and rarity give a clue – only 60 will be made at $649,000 for the rose gold example shown, or $694,000 with a platinum case.
A winning selection
The 18th edition of the watchmaking world's top prize also awarded the Special Jury Prize, for services to the matchmaking industry, to Jean-Claude Biver. He recently stepped back due to ill health from the role of President of the watches division at LVMH, where he oversaw the Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith brands. An enormously influential and charismatic figure of the Swiss watchmaking industry, the Luxembourgian continues as the non-executive president for LVMH.
The Ladies' Watch Prize went to the Chanel Boy-friend Skeleton, with its octagon bezel set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds and a showpiece skeletonised movement. The top prize in the men's category was won by Akrivia with the Chronomètre Contemporain. It's an astonishing victory for the six-year-old Swiss watchmaker in an industry that tends to heavily favour traditional manufacturers with decades or even centuries of experience.
Check out the gallery above to see our top selects from this year's Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève.