In conversation GPHG Foundation President Raymond Loretan

Last month, Fondation du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), in partnership with Ethos Watch Boutiques, exhibited this year’s nominated watches in New Delhi, India. WatchTime India caught up with Raymond Loretan, President, GPHG Foundation, to talk about the exhibition, 
the short-listed watches, and the future of the platform

Popularly known as the ‘Oscars of Watchmaking’, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards first began in 2001, and since then have transformed into a prestigious event that honours the best in watchmaking annually, by recognising the efforts of those brands and people who push the boundaries of creativity and innovation. In the process, it also serves as a platform for brands, especially micro and independent ones, to shine.

Every year, the watches that make the shortlist for the GPHG awards tour global cities so that aficionados across the world have a chance to see the innovations up close. For 2022, in association with retailer Ethos Watch Boutiques, the GPHG exhibition featuring 84 shortlisted watches, was stationed in New Delhi for two days, and from there headed to Casablanca in Morocco.

This is the second time that GPHG-nominated watches have arrived in the country; the first time was in 2014, also in association with Ethos Watch Boutiques. “Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase in the interest in specialised watches, haute horology, and high-end watchmaking in India. There are hundreds of watch collectors who follow the GPHG,” says Yashovardhan Saboo, chairman and managing director, KDDL Limited, Ethos Watch Boutiques’ parent company. “They know which brands are participating, which ones are winning, and why are they winning; they know about the innovations taking place. There are discussions about it. Obviously, our customers asked us when we were going to get the GPHG exhibition to India, and now was a good time to do that.” 

This is something Raymond Loretan, President, GPHG Foundation, agrees with. Loretan took on the role of President in 2018, and since then has been involved in deepening the organisation’s activities. He not only further solidified the credibility of the awards, but also established the GPHG Academy, which consists of 650 members who propose watches for the awards and participate in various votes. WatchTime India reached out to Loretan before the exhibition to chat about what made India the chosen destination for the 2022 exhibition, recent trends in the horological world, and the future of the platform.

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WatchTime India: What made you decide to come to India and exhibit the finalists for GPHG 2022?

Raymond Loretan: India is a booming country and interest in fine watchmaking here is growing. The GPHG organised an exhibition of watches with Ethos back in 2014. While we were supposed to come last year, we were unable to because of the public health situation. We are here now with 84 nominated watches in 14 categories. We are very grateful to Ethos Watch Boutiques, and its founder for renewing the invitation, and are looking forward to all these encounters in New Delhi.

WTI: What do you think about this year’s finalists? Have you noticed any recent trends that might be worth paying attention to?

RL: As president of the GPHG foundation, I never give my opinion on the nominations and remain neutral and impartial. What I can tell you, however, is that each year the shortlisted watches perfectly reflect the creativity and innovation of the watch industry. This year, we note a marked effort by many watch brands to be more sustainable in the broadest sense of the term. This is a promising theme that resonates positively with consumers.

WTI: Can you please elaborate on the selection and voting processes?

RL: In 2020, we created the GPHG Academy. This is an international academy of the profession, based on the GPHG principles of independence, neutrality, and universality. The academy is now made up of 650 people from around the world who believe in the common destiny of watchmaking and who take part in the different stages of the selection of watches and the prize list.

The academicians have the dual task of proposing eligible watch models that they would like to see compete—in parallel with the traditional brand entries—and of taking part in the various votes. The proposals and votes are made via a secure digital platform. In addition, a jury of 30 members from the academy is formed each year. It is composed of 15 members drawn by lot from the members of the academy, along with 14 members chosen in agreement with the president of the jury and the GPHG management. 

It meets in Geneva—behind closed doors and under notarial supervision—to physically evaluate the nominated timepieces and to proceed with the final vote by secret ballot. The entire academy also votes for the winners in each of the 15 categories and accounts for 30 per cent of the final choice. This ballot is counted to determine the winners, whose names are revealed a few days later at the awards ceremony in Geneva. This year’s ceremony will take place on November 10 and you can follow it live on our website.

WTI: The GPHG has become the most important award show in the industry. How would you describe its journey?

RL: The GPHG celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, and we can see how far it has come since its creation. Like everything else, maturity takes time. These years have enabled the GPHG to establish its credibility, to prove its integrity and its total impartiality. The watch industry is perfectly aware of this since it is participating in ever greater numbers in this unique competition. The creation of the academy represented a paradigm shift and a significant qualitative leap. We must now consolidate this achievement for a few years while already thinking about future developments.

WTI: Needless to say, like other sectors, the pandemic had a deep impact on the watch industry. According to you, how has the industry adjusted to the
new normal?

RL: The pandemic has affected and impacted everyone. We have all tried to learn from this difficult period in terms of our behaviour, lives, and operating methods. The watchmaking sector has held its ground, notably thanks to a spirit of solidarity that is rare in such an important industry. There is still an esprit de corps [a common spirit in a group that inspires pride, loyalty, and enthusiasm] in the watch industry and the stakeholders support each other because they know that they also depend on each other.

WTI: What kind of transformations have you seen?

RL: Let me mention two observations. First, COVID-19 accelerated the transition to e-commerce and social media sales channels, even for brands traditionally reluctant to use these platforms. And second, I think that changing consumer behaviour will also accelerate the transition to sustainability, which is a positive development for the industry.

WTI: Where do you see GPHG in the next five years?

RL: Let’s not set a deadline, but instead outline a vision: I envisage a diversified academy—including, for example, a junior academy—with over 1,000 members, a greater emphasis on art and culture as well as education, along with a selection process enabling all watches to compete regardless of their brands. All these are avenues to be explored in order to build a “watchmaking nation” that brings together all the players of this extraordinary economic sector, in an inclusive manner and based on universal values.


Launched in 2012, WatchTime India is the result of a collaboration between America's most-read watch magazine, WatchTime and, India's leading media house, Malayala Manorama. With an aim to popularise and celebrate the evolving watch culture of the country, the publication is your one-stop destination for everything related to fine luxury watches. From the latest tests to reviews, to exclusive features on the history and horological heritage of some of the most spectacular watch brands of the world, the WatchTime India portal has a lot to offer. Stay tuned for an exciting journey, through the fascinating world of watches!

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