The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève might not trip off the tongue in quite the same way, but for those who work in – or live for – the watch industry, they are the highlight of their year: the moment a hand-picked jury comprising industry figures and specialist journalists pick their watches of the year.
That moment comes in November, but long before that – and ahead of an international tour of the short-listed pieces – the GPHG releases those lucky brands whose models have been chosen to compete.
In years past, the focus has inevitably been on Swiss-made mechanical wristwatches, and those displaying the most exquisite decoration or complex complication at that. But in recent years, the net has been cast wider and last year two new categories were introduced: "Icon" to celebrate those watches that have entered the cultural milieu, as it were, and "Challenge", focusing on those models that represent the more mainstream (ie, sub-$5000) element of the watch business.
Beyond that, the selection generally comprises a secret sauce of lesser-known brands deserving further or greater acclaim and recent releases that have harvested above-average interest from the non-cognoscenti. This year appears to be no different, with several below-the-radar nominees sharing space with avowed bread-winners.
One that's sure to please the purists is Doxa, nominated in the aforementioned Challenge category. Celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, Doxa is credited with launching the first purpose-made diver's watch to the public in 1967. The Doxa SUB was tried and tested by Jacques Cousteau and his crew aboard the undersea research vessel Calpyso and has since become something of a cult item among dive watch aficionados. In recognition of this, and its status as an independent watchmaker, the all-steel Doxa SUB 200, created to commemorate the brand anniversary, has been short-listed alongside such stars of the sub-aquatic sector as Longines' all-ceramic Hydroconquest and Seiko's new line of Prospex LX dive pieces.
Finally, any round-up of 2019's nominated timepieces shouldn't forget to mention those pieces that perhaps wouldn't get their fair share of attention without the annual shindig in Geneva. Pieces such as De Bethune's DB28 Yellow Tones, which marks the watchmaker's move away from oxidising grade 5 titanium in ever more miraculous shades of blue to focus instead on the colour yellow. Or Bulgari's top-of-the-range Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar, launched this year to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Grande Sonnerie, created by the legendary designer Gerald Genta in 1994.
For those who like "the one that got away", back at the "agreeably priced" Challenge category there's Tudor's Black Bay P01, a watch based on a legendary prototype known as the Commando, which was developed by the Hans Wilsdorf-founded brand to be offered to the US Navy in the late Sixties. It was declined, leaving a prototype in the brand's archive to be unearthed half a century later. In the meantime, Tudor went about its business creating peerless tool watches until the launch of the neo-vintage Black Bay collection in 2012, to which the the P01 makes an interesting addendum.
The winners of the 2019 edition of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève will be announced at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva on November 7.