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Tell us about the his­tory of the Grand Prix d'Hor­logerie de Genève?

– The Grand Prix started in 2000, it was two jour­nal­ists who ini­ti­ated that project… at that time I was Pres­i­dent of the Gov­ern­ment and gave my full sup­port for the Grand Prix be­cause it was a pro­mo­tion for Geneva, for Switzer­land, and also the art which was born in this coun­try. When did the event begin to travel world­wide?

– In 2010 there were some com­pli­ca­tions, peo­ple were protest­ing about the mem­bers of the jury and there was some com­mer­cial in­ter­est in that Grand Prix, so the idea of a neu­tral foun­da­tion was formed, it had to be neu­tral and I was the pres­i­dent of that Foun­da­tion. When I was in charge of that foun­da­tion I dis­cov­ered there was no road­show, so those watches stayed in Geneva and were not ex­posed to the world. With the me­dia in­flu­ence that was tak­ing place and get­ting big­ger and big­ger at that time, I recog­nised that the watches needed to be shown to the world, and from that day I had the idea of the road­show to take the watches to the big­gest cities of the world to pro­mote new brands and stim­u­late watch­mak­ers into al­ways do­ing some­thing bet­ter. How is the tour­na­ment struc­tured?

– In the ex­hi­bi­tion you see 70 watches that are clas­si­fied into 10 cat­e­gories, the cat­e­gories go with the func­tions of the watches or fol­low the spe­cial­ties of the watches. The jury is formed from 22 mem­bers from 14 dif­fer­ent coun­tries and the mem­bers of the jury change or are mod­i­fied, with 30-40 per cent of the jury changed on a yearly ba­sis. How do you de­cide where to show­case the watches?

– The road­show trav­els to dif­fer­ent coun­tries and what we look for in the coun­tries is fa­cil­i­ties, ev­ery­thing has to be within easy ac­cess and one of the ma­jor is­sues is se­cu­rity be­cause we have to travel with 70 watches and they are ex­tremely pre­cious. In the past three years we have been to Hong Kong, Shang­hai, Moscow and Paris and in this year alone we have al­ready been to Bei­jing, Ma­cau and now Dubai. Af­ter the win­ning watches are cho­sen, the 15 watches go and do an ex­hi­bi­tion in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, this year it will be held in Sin­ga­pore. How do you feel about how the GPHG has evolved?

– We had a great am­bi­tion and we have made this am­bi­tion a re­al­ity when we ac­claimed watch­mak­ing as an art. It is an art; it could be in a tech­no­log­i­cal way, in­no­va­tive way or through de­sign. This year the mem­bers of the jury were cho­sen be­cause they had some con­nec­tion with art, not al­ways a di­rect con­nec­tion but some­thing that is re­lated to the art. It is a mission that the Grand Prix has taken to ed­u­cate and that’s why we have in­cluded work­shops with col­lec­tors speak­ing about what to look for and how to par­tic­i­pate in an auc­tion, this is very im­por­tant for two rea­sons; firstly, for the cul­ture we need to show peo­ple why watches are so ex­pen­sive and why de­spite be­ing ex­pen­sive peo­ple still want to buy them. And se­condly, to show the work that is be­hind those watches and the com­pli­ca­tions and time that peo­ple ded­i­cated to make those watches com­plete with the en­thu­si­asm be­hind mak­ing the watches. The most im­por­tant thing is time and it is valu­ing that time.

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