Rolex is the most famous watch brand in the world, but it's almost invisible at the annual "Oscars" of watchmaking.
The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) is the equivalent of the Academy Awards for designers, engineers, watchmakers, and the business professionals that populate the watch industry. But Rolex watches never take the stage in Geneva on awards night. This episode discusses Rolex's reasons for avoiding the awards and focuses the spotlight on standout watches that won big at the GPHG.
One of the most commonly asked questions about the GPHG is "why wasn't a Rolex nominated for any category?" Given the fame, success, and marketplace dominance of watches like Rolex Submariner, Rolex Daytona, and Rolex GMT Master II, it's logical to ask why none of these A-list names appear at the Oscars of watchmaking.
Since the first GPHG edition in 2001, the wristwatch and clock awards ceremony has gained momentum befitting the biggest night in watchmaking. Entry into the GPHG Academy is coveted by industry insiders. Timepiece pre-selections are closely watched and considered so important that even a nomination can form the basis for a promotional campaign by a watch brand. Actual awards like the Aiguille d'Or, Special Jury Prize, and Men's Watch Prize are regarded as the equivalent of "Best Picture," "Best Director," or "Best Actor" at the Oscars.
Rolex skips the GPHG because it has nothing to gain and potentially some measure of reputation to lose. The governors of Rolex understand that their band name occupies a position of unassailable esteem, recognition, and demand. Simply competing with other luxury watch brands would be a tacit acceptance that other watches can, indeed, be compared to Rolex. An actual loss to a competitor would strip the sheen of invincibility that Rolex enjoys in the marketplace.
Moreover, Rolex watches cannot be nominated for any GPHG category because brands first must permit their watches to be nominated and entered. No matter how competitive a Rolex watch might be for a given award category, Rolex itself has the last word on its presence in the year's GPHG.
However, Rolex is more relaxed about the participation of Tudor, its junior brand. Tudor watches regularly compete against segment rivals at the GPHG. In addition to a large number of nominations and category wins, Tudor captured the "Dive Watch" prize as recently as 2022 with its military themed Pelagos FXD.
All of this plus watch collector wrist shots will be featured in this episode of "Watches Tonight!"
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