Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix An interview with Stephen Forsey

— Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey picked up the Golden Hand at the 2010 edition of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (GPHG) for their Double Tourbillon 30° model. A limited edition of 11 Rolex Replica watches.

Winning the Golden Hand award is prestigious enough, but you won two other awards for complicated timepieces at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix either side of the Golden Hand in 2010. What impact did all these awards have on Greubel Forsey as a brand?

The Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix is renowned around the world for a being a platform to increase awareness of a brand. Particularly for us as such a young company it has been very positive.

What is your rationale for participating in the Grand Prix?

We have a competitive spirit. Robert and myself are Omega Replica watchmakers and it is our passion for watchmaking that drives us and our team. It is also good to see that collectors appreciate our pieces. Geneva has a sound historical anchoring in the Breitling Replica watchmaking industry but for us it is more about a desire to share our latest timepiece and because of the travelling exhibition it gives people who may never get to see a Greubel Forsey piece chance to actually see one.


How does the Grand Prix rank for you in terms of value and impact compared with, say, the International Chronometry Competition, which you also won in 2011?

The Grand Prix has a stronger accent on the creative side, although there is a jury that is very technically knowledgeable. But it’s quite a different competition from the International Chronometry Competition. Because there is a jury there is a certain subjectivity in terms of assessing the appreciation of aesthetics and all the other aspects, whereas in the International Chronometry Competition you submit your piece and then it is a question of objective testing of performance and reliability. The two are therefore very complementary.

The last few winners at the Grand Prix have had some form of new technology that has been recognised. Do you think that the Golden Hand validates technological progress to a certain extent?

Because we won the Golden Hand, Robert and myself were both invited to sit on the jury representing Greubel Forsey and having participated in the process I can see the importance of technology because you have people with a technical background who will be looking at the specifications of the pieces. But in terms of the Grand Prix, because of the composition of the jury from around the world and the very complete knowledge of the experts, this gives a good cross-section of what collectors are going to see and are going to be excited by.


On the subject of collectors, the timepieces you make are in a different league to most of your competitors in the Grand Prix. Since you are thus addressing a different kind of customer, do they have a greater appreciation of the value of the award?

Yes, the high-end collector is very sensitive to this. They will be looking for the latest news about the Grand Prix. There have often been collectors on the jury itself so I think that shows the level of interest. But also as we saw with some of last year’s winners there is a wide interest across the board and it’s nice to see that watchmaking is not just focused on a small number of high-end, hand-made, hand-finished pieces but also on a wider and more accessible area in terms of pieces made in larger volumes.


Aside from the Grand Prix, do you have plans to celebrate your tenth anniversary this year?

It is indeed ten years since we launched at Baselworld and delivered our first pieces. But for us it is more a moment to have a retrospective of the creations of these first ten years. We reunited seventeen calibres that we have developed over this period for a photo. That for us is a way of revisiting those creations and looking over the ten years. But it’s not really in our spirit to capitalise on the ten years to make an anniversary piece. We already have a lot of creations we are working on, which we anticipate that collectors will be pleased about.

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