Swiss Watches Take Top Honors

Some leading Swiss brands recently won top awards for their watches.

  • The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, held in Geneva, Switzerland, at the end of 2002, awarded its Design Watch Award to TAG Heuer for its avant-garde F1 Micrograph digital chronograph. The winning timepiece, one of eight in the Grand Prix competition, was selected by an international jury of experts, journalists, and historians.
    The F1 Micrograph has a high-end digital screen and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It can measure racing time up to 1/100ths of a second, memorize each lap in order, store and analyze all race data, and display the best lap. The movement was developed by TAG Heuer in Switzerland.

  • The annual “Watch of the Year” competition of Uhrenwelt and Montres Passion magazines went to Corum’s automatic Classical “Heure Sautante” (“jumping hour”) watch. The timepiece was produced in three limited editions of 300 each, with a black, silver, or silver-and-copper dial. The “Watch of the Year” award is designed to promote the best in Swiss watch design, aesthetically and technically.
    The second and third prizes went to Cartier’s “Tank à vis” and Girard-Perregaux’s “Richeville” men’s chronograph, respectively.

  • For the second consecutive year, the grand prize of Geneva for watchmaking went to Vacheron Constantin. The luxury watchmaker received the award for its slim round gold “Patrimony” in the “Extra-Thin Watch” category. The watch’s caliber 1003 mechanical movement measures 1.64 mm front to back and 20 mm across. It has some 100 parts and components (including 18 jewels) and provides more than 30 hours of reserve power.

Grinberg Receives JIC Life Achievement AwardGedalio “Gerry” Grinberg, founder and chairman of the board of the Movado Group Inc., received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewelry Information Center during JIC’s inaugural Gem Awards, presented in January at a black-tie gala. Consumer magazine, newspaper, and international journalists also were honored, and Tiffany & Co. was recognized for its marketing campaign.

Grinberg’s career in fine watches began in Cuba in the 1950s, where he was exclusive distributor of Omega and Piaget timepieces. In 1960—shortly after Fidel Castro took over Cuba—Grinberg, then 29, emigrated to the United States and began working to develop a market for Swiss luxury watches in America.

His company, the North American Watch Co., bought Concord Watch in 1970, and in 1983 it acquired Movado, a small Swiss watchmaker, which Grinberg built into an internationally recognized watch brand.

Movado’s marketing and corporate sponsorships reflect Grinberg’s lifelong passion for the arts. He is an avid collector of modern art and has encouraged artists in diverse media. Movado became a principal benefactor of the American Ballet Theater (Grinberg has served on the board since 1990 and is chairman emeritus), sponsored the PBS series “Art of the Western World” and “Great Performances,” and began the “Movado Minute” radio series featuring mini-interviews with performing artists, choreographers, and conductors. In the 1990s, the company launched a collection of timepieces based on the works of artists around the world.

This longtime commitment to culture was given symbolic form in 1999, when, through Grinberg’s private support as well as a Movado Group corporate sponsorship, an 18-foot-tall sculptured bronze clock tower was installed in front of Lincoln Center in New York City. The tribute to time and the arts was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson.