Written by Staff Writer
Published by The New York Times
An Italian watchmaker that modernized and endowed classic timepieces with new technology and colors has won the 2017 Hermes Golden Watch Award for the best watch over the last century.
The 2017 Golden Watch winner is Alessandro Sartori, who did a number of design innovations at Patek Philippe . “My main ambition is to improve the status and prestige of watches,” said Sartori when he accepted the award in Paris on Tuesday.
Alessandro Sartori (Sartori, 56), Patek Philippe
He may just be on his way. His lauded Patek Philippe “Risque Collection” was joined on the podium by the award’s other two winners: at least one from China and one from Switzerland. All three are among the oldest watches in the collection. The fourth winner, a high-end TAG Heuer that has endured since 1957, came from a maker that has had a touch on the global watch scene since the 1800s.
To be eligible for the award, a watch must be made since 1916, currently featured on the IWC Schaffhausen website and the current communication director for the production label. Without appearing to rob the competition of its integrity, U.S. President Donald Trump was briefly mentioned, according to IWC’s instructions for award organizers.
A pair of watches from Gucci, one from the brand’s debut men’s collection, and another from the Italian maison’s debut women’s collection, was also nominated. However, it appears the Italian brand’s $2,000 Bulgari Sliver Pendants won on design alone. It could be somewhat amusing to see Gucci, whose founder was masterful with mechanical watches, really embrace the sale of retro horological junk.
As for the two winners from China, their gold Himalayan launch for Audemars Piguet may look very similar to the Hungarian brand’s version, but they’re both the real deal. Still, the timepiece out of China is actually named after a place, the Mount Hangzhou, and each of its components was manufactured in one of Patek Philippe’s factories.
Otherwise, there was good news. There were eight different categories on offer this year — a trend that pleased jury chair Verena von Westphalen, who is also chief designer of IWC Schaffhausen’s media relations.
“At the beginning we thought it would be a major challenge to choose such a large collection of excellent timepieces but the end result is strong competition and a wealth of styles,” she said. “The number of interesting ideas and the shortlist offered us great opportunities to discover something new from the context of time.”