Our Picks For the 'Oscars of Watches'

The GPHG awards celebrate the "best" watches of the year. Here are our favorites.

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The watch industry regularly convenes to pat itself on the back and garner enthusiasm anew for the year's most notable products. One of the biggest such events each year is the GPHG, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and it's kind of like the Oscars for watches — with categories, nominees, watch-world celebrities in black tie and as much fanfare as the luxury world can muster.

For the 2021 GPHG, there are 84 nominees across 14 categories (that's six nominees each), and the winners will be announced this week from Geneva, on November 4. You can check out all the watches for yourself on the organization's website, but we went ahead and chose five of our favorites, each from a different category, just to give you a taste.

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Dive Watches: Doxa Sub 300 Carbon COSC Aquamarine

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Doxa is primarily thought of as a maker of pragmatic dive watches, both historically influenced and modern. That's why it's interesting to see the brand branch out into new and technical materials like carbon composites, which offers impressive strength and lightness. Its black case contrasts sharply with the brand's signature pallet of vibrant dial colors, like the Aquamarine version chosen by the GPHG.

Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic
Diameter: 42mm
Price: $3,890

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Men's Complication: Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25

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A complication is any mechanical function a watch offers aside from telling the time, which can include all kinds of crazy features. Chopard's L.U.C line might be understated when compared to other nominees, but its jumping hour complication combined with a restrained dial, 40mm case and some of the best (but most underrated) high-end horology available makes it stand out.

Movement: Chopard L.U.C 98.06-L hand-wound
Diameter: 40mm
Price: $44,700

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Calendar & Astronomy: Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

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Not only does this version of Bulgari's Octo Finissimo contain a highly complex automatic perpetual calendar, but it manages to fit it into a titanium case that's only 5.8mm thick. That's technically impressive, but the design also manages to display a lot of information in a legible and elegant way — which happens to also be visually striking in its monochromatic execution.

Movement: Bulgari BVL 305 automatic
Diameter: 40mm
Price: $59,000

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Iconic: Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture

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Iconic, indeed. The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture is more or less exactly what El Primero fans want, right down to vintage sizing at 38mm — which is rather compact for a modern chronograph. It's a remake and competes alongside modern versions of iconic watches, but undoubtedly takes the prize for being most true to the icon it's based on.

Movement: Zenith El Primero 400 automatic
Diameter: 38mm
Price: $9,000

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Men's: Grand Seiko Heritage Hi-Beat Shirakaba

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Continuing the Oscars analogy, the category of Best Men's Watch is like Best Picture or Best Actor. Grand Seiko once again impresses with a watch featuring a dial texture inspired by the bark of a white birch tree (shirakaba) and an exquisite in-house movement operating at 5Hz and offering 80 hours of power reserve.

Movement: Seiko 9SA5
Diameter: 40mm
Price: $9,100

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