In the world of horology, there is a general perception that the more complex a timepiece is, the greater is its allure. The art of watchmaking follows certain ethics, features, and norms of artistry that need to be adhered to. The nominees for the GPHG 2023 Mechanical Exception category meet all such criteria.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4
Audemars Piguet has introduced its very first ultra-complicated self-winding wristwatch (RD#4). The 42 mm pink gold watch (Ref. 26398OR.OO.D002KB.01) comes with a beige dial and black chronograph counters. This one-of-a-kind timepiece incorporates 40 functions, including 23 complications, among which one can find a Grande Sonnerie Supersonnerie, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a split-seconds flyback chronograph, and a flying tourbillon.
For the first time, the watch includes a “secret” gold caseback as well. Powering the watch is the self-winding Calibre 1000 with 60 hours of power reserve. Finishing the watch is a black rubber strap with a folding buckle. Engineers, designers, watchmakers, and craftspeople had worked hand in hand for over seven years to bring this RD#4 timepiece to life.
Czapek Place Vendôme Complicité
The idea for Place Vendôme Complicité was conceived in 2018. For this year’s GPHG, Czapek Place Vendôme Complicité has been nominated. This model boasts a 41.8 mm white gold case, integrated and hallowed-out lugs, and a crown at 3 o’clock. The dial is openworked on a grainé mainplate that gets a silver galvanic treatment.
The watch has a differential at 12 o’clock that connects two escapements at 4:30 and 7:30. This Place Vendôme Complicité is powered by Calibre 8, delivering a power reserve of 72 hours. Finishing the watch is a black alligator strap with an 18 ct gold folding buckle.
Hautlence Sphere Series 1
Going back to its roots, Hautlence’s 28-piece limited edition of the Sphere Series 1 (Ref.BA80-ST00) has been nominated for the GPHG 2023 Mechanical Exception category. The watch uses the signature mechanism of telling time with a playful and spectacular spherical jumping hour/retrograde minute display. This 50.8 mm x 43 mm watch gets satin-finished and polished bezel, case, and crown.
Under the dial lie a freewheel and a snail cam, allowing the triggering of the jumping hour. Powering the watch is the manual winding mechanical movement A80, offering 72 hours of power reserve. The watch is finished on a blue rubber strap with a steel buckle.
Jacob & Co Astronomia Revolution
Founded in 1986 by diamond designer Jacob Arabo, luxury watch brand Jacob & Co has managed to create some of the most exquisitely complex timepieces in the world. This timepiece is ensconced in a 47 mm 18 ct rose gold case (Ref. AT170.40.AB.AB.ABRUA). The space-inspired watch has a high-polished surface, sporting rose gold mirrors in a honeycomb pattern, comprising a cluster of 18 mirrors.
This fine energy regulation allowed Jacob & Co to maintain an impressive 36-hour power reserve on a massively complex timepiece. As the entire Astronomia Revolution movement spins in one minute, it acts as a de facto seconds hand.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Opera Automata
Automaton watches are among the most captivating timepieces in the world. With the push of a button, the scene on the watch dial springs to life. This 46.8 mm watch comes in a pink gold case and pays tribute to Bian Lian of the Sichuan Opera. This unique watch’s virtuoso decoration showcases a traditional mask that comes to life and changes expression on demand.
The LV 525 calibre, totalling 426 components, has a power reserve of 100 hours and is the subject of several patents. Time is displayed only when the automaton's button is activated. Finishing the watch is a black leather strap with a folding buckle.
Rudis Sylva RS 23
This patented invention with two toothed balances immediately cancels out the effects of gravity when a watch is in a vertical position (Ref. RS 23 rose gold), unlike a conventional tourbillon that needs a whole minute to do so. The watch comes in a 44 mm pink gold case and sports a skeletonised dial.
The execution allows all chronometric anomalies, caused by Earth's gravitational pull, to be cancelled out simultaneously. Powering the watch is a manual winding mechanical movement with 72 hours of power reserve. A Rudis Sylva watch merits a magnifying glass to discover the guilloche work, the engraving, the bevelling in the inward corners, and the sunray or circular graining decoration.