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World's best timepieces showcased at Geneva's Grand Prix D’Horlogerie

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By Judith Prescott
World's best timepieces showcased at Geneva's Grand Prix D’Horlogerie

The Grand Prix D’Horlogerie is the watch industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, celebrating the best timepieces from around the world.

From diamond encrusted showstoppers to the most intricate and mechanical of creations, there's a lot to admire.

“There is a lot of technicity, there is a lot of innovation, a lot of beauty, a lot of passion in the watch industry,” says Raymond, Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve.

It often takes thousands of hours of painstaking work by skilled artisans to make expensive watches like these.

Expensive timepieces

One pieces plugs into an atomic clock which automatically corrects the time. This watch will set you back a cool €2.5 million.

Yet the biggest prize of the night went to a cheaper device - that is if you have €137,000 to spare.

“Money is not a part of the equation here," says Francois-Herny Bennahmias, CEO at Audermars Piguet. "So yes there are amazing watches with crazy prices and they are worth it, obviously, and we also make expensive watches, but in the end what matters is whether we can trigger emotion in everything we do?”

But, nine and a half thousand kilometres away in Hong Kong trouble is brewing for the industry.

The Chinese-controlled region accounts for around 10% of global luxury watch sales but shoppers have called a time-out while the pro-democracy protests rumble on.

“Hong Kong is one of the major places for luxury. So the stronger brands like Bulgari being very international offset the Hong Kong decline by so many other destinations where the tourists are still going,” explains Jean Christophe-Babin CEO at Bulgari.

Watch producers are hoping this tactic will keep business ticking along.

Analysts predict the luxury watch market will continue to grow over the coming years fuelled by demand from Asia. And while sales of smart watches, such as those from Apple’ are expected to outpace their traditional counterparts, watchmakers in Geneva believe their products will always be in demand.