GPHG 2020: Our Picks Under $10K

Posted by Charles Tian on September 23, 2020

Every year, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) highlights and awards the year’s standout watch releases in various categories. There are awards for mens’ and ladies’ watches, precision timekeeping, complications, style, and more. The full list of shortlisted watches was published last week and available on the GPHG website.

As you might expect, a list that aims to highlight the most impressive and horologically interesting watches of the year is abound with pieces that, for the 99%, are simply unattainable. Among these pieces is the Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron, a piece made in collaboration with Bugatti to reproduce the essence of the iconic supercar on your wrist. Priced at 280,000 CHF, it costs “only” 10% as much as the car itself.

The Jacob & Co. Bugatti Chiron

But while the typical watch on the GPHG shortlist might cost you an arm and a leg, others are reasonably attainable. With a retail price at $10,000 or less, these are definitely not budget pieces, but still within reach for determined collectors – and even more so on the secondary market.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue”

MSRP: 3’500 CHF | Reference 79030B
Shortlisted for Challenge category (watches under 4’000 CHF)

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight caught the attention of collectors worldwide when it was released in July of this year. This watch followed up the original Black Bay Fifty-Eight that was released in 2018, offering a navy blue dial/bezel variation in contrast to the original black dial and bezel.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is fully deserving of this nomination in my eyes, as it is essentially the perfect dive watch under $5,000. Whether you go for the blue or black dial, you’re getting a capable 200-meter diver from a storied brand, with in-house MT5402 movement and sized perfectly at 39mm.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” retails for 3’500 CHF, or $3,700 in the United States. It has held its value extremely well thus far on the secondary market, currently trading at several hundred dollars above retail. This comes as no surprise, seeing as the black dial variant is still holding strong on the secondary market two years after its release.

Tudor dive watches are in no way short of GPGH nominations, with the brand receiving recognition in the Challenge category in every year since the category has existed. In 2018, the Black Bay GMT received a nomination, while last year the Black Bay P01 won the award. Can Tudor win it back-to-back this year?

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40

MSRP: 7’500 CHF | Reference IW358304
Shortlisted for “Petite Aiguille” Category (watches between 4’000 CHF and 10’000 CHF)

This Portugieser is a handsome piece both inside and out. It features blued hands and applied numerals, a silver-plated dial, and seconds subdial at 6’oclock. In contrast to many of IWC’s pilot watches, it’s quite wearable at 40.4mm in diameter and 12.3mm thick.

Powering this Portugieser is an in-house movement that is quite impressive for the price point. The caliber 82000 features bi-directional automatic winding with beat rate of 4 hertz and a serviceable power reserve of 60 hours. Many of the components are made of ceramic, which helps to reduce wear and increase longevity compared to metal components.

The movement is viewable through an exhibition caseback and nicely decorated, as you can see from the photo below. It includes a skeletonized winding rotor, perlage (circular graining) and Geneva stripes.

Launched in April 2020, this is a model that hasn’t come across the secondary market very often. Looking at available listings on WatchCharts and Chrono24, we estimate the current market value to be somewhere around $6,000 to $7,000.

The classic Portugieser collection is one of the most recognizable and popular from IWC. In the 1930s, the reference 325 became the archetypal watch for this collection, with designs drawing inspiration from this original model to this day. Check out this article from IWC that details the fascinating history of the collection.

Breitling Top Time Limited Edition

MSRP: 4’950 CHF | Reference A23310121G1X1
Shortlisted for Chronograph category

While we can all admit that Breitling hasn’t had the strongest reputation in recent years, it’s releases like this Top Time Limited Edition and the Premier B01 that have me excited about the brand’s future under Georges Kern. In the three years since Kern took the helm, Breitling has made impressive strides in simplifying and modernizing their lineup.

This fact is well recognized by GPHG this year, as Brietling tied for first in number of GHPG nominations with five. Only Piaget was able to match this number – albeit at a much higher price point.

The Top Time Limited Edition is my personal favorite among the Breitling nominations. It has sensible styling and dimensions, a throwback design to the 1960s original in a 41mm case size. The retro look is unique and playful, and comes at a time when enthusiasts are falling in love with vintage throwbacks – just look at the Tudor Black Bay and Omega Seamaster 300 collections. The production run of 2,000 pieces is a good balance between availability and exclusivity.

This watch is powered by the Breitling caliber 23, based on the Valjoux 7750. The movement is chronometer certified with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. It would have been nice to see Brietling use their in-house B01 here instead, though perhaps the price point was a consideration as this model retails for significantly lower than other Breitling Premier models that use the B01.

Conclusion

If you want to see more bang- for-your-buck watches, you can check out the GPHG Challenge category – which was started in 2018 specifically to highlight the best watches at a price point of $4,000 or less. Hint: the Tudor is one of them.

What are your favorite GPHG nominations of 2020? Chime in below!

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