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    Raymond LORETAN

    President of the Foundation of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (GPHG)

    CI Exclusive Properties, the prestige division of Comptoir Immobilier and official partner of the GPHG since the creation of the Fondation du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève shares with haute horlogerie the values of precision, innovation, transmission of traditional know-how and teamwork. Back to the interview with Raymond LORETAN, conducted upon his arrival at the presidency of the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève Foundation in 2018.

    You take over the presidency of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix Foundation as of this year, what prospects and ambitions do you have for this grand prize on a national and international level?

    I measure with admiration and gratitude the immense work carried out by my predecessor Carlo Lamprecht, as well as by Carine Maillard, director, and her team. The GPHG is independent and already well known internationally. The foundations are therefore solid. We are now trying to broaden the influence of the GPHG to make it a true International Grand Prix attracting all brands. As a first step, we are thinking of changing the registration and pre-selection process. We are thinking of creating an Academy, inspired by the Oscars or the Césars, bringing together a broad and international representation of the players from the various sectors of the industry. The voting mechanism will have to be adapted accordingly. The GPHG could broaden its federative mission thanks to the Academy, thus gaining in representativeness and attractiveness. We also aspire to a better coordination of watchmaking actors, for example in the framework of a watchmaking week currently in gestation in Geneva.

    What does the GPHG offer to watch brands?

    The GPHG offers a unifying media showcase, a promotional tool, one of the few, for the entire industry. As with the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, it doesn’t matter who wins, it’s the excellence and vitality of an entire industry that is showcased. The GPHG has acquired its letters of nobility with a recognized and awaited ceremony that has become a must in the watchmaking world. Each year, our travelling exhibitions, which present the 72 pre-selected watches in Switzerland and around the world, also contribute to the visibility of the brands.

    Will the 2018 edition feature any new categories? Why?

    This year the GPHG is offering a new category, named Challenge. This category is reserved for watches with a public price of less than CHF 4,000 and comes to highlight the challenge related to the creation of quality watches at low prices. The GPHG has a mission to reward excellence, at all prices. We hope this category will encourage new brands to enter the competition by giving them an opportunity for recognition.

    What is the new Boldness Award?

    The Boldness Award, as its name suggests, will allow the jury to honor a bold, or non-conformist and offbeat model. The expression of a certain freedom or creative madness will be the main criterion for selection. This prize is optional and awarded on the basis of the 72 preselected watches.

    What are the major milestones in the GPHG annual calendar?

    Entries take place during the months of May and June. The jury conducts the first round of voting during the summer and we announce the official preselection in early September. A travelling exhibition presents the 72 pre-selected watches to an international audience each year. These exhibitions are a unique opportunity to see the most beautiful watch creations of the year in one place. This year, the preselected watches will be shown in Venice, Hong Kong, Singapore and Geneva, and the winners will be exhibited in Vienna and London. In Geneva, the exhibition dedicated to the art and culture of watchmaking will take up residence, as it did last year, in the Palatine Rooms of the Museum of Art and History (MAH) from 1 to 14 November. It will be organised in partnership with the MAH and in collaboration with other Geneva players. Thus, alongside the seventy-two timepieces pre-selected by the 2018 GPHG jury, the public will be able to discover the first exhibition of the Watch Photo Awards, an international photo competition for the general public, a presentation of videos taken from the Telling Time exhibition proposed by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), work by students of the Master’s degree in watch design at the HEAD and, lastly, as part of the year of Hodler, the Geneva watchmaker will be honoured, as well as a selection of works from the MAH’s fine art collections. The opening of this Geneva exhibition will take place on 31 October. The winners of this 18th edition will be announced at the prize-giving ceremony, which will take place on Friday 9 November at the Théâtre du Léman, in the presence of Federal Councillor and Minister of Economic Affairs Johann Schneider-Ammann. Edouard Baer will be the master of ceremonies. His chic and relaxed humour was much appreciated last year. We are delighted that he will be taking part, especially as he excelled in this difficult exercise during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival ceremonies! There will also be some novelties and surprises in this ceremony … to discover, with the prize list, on November 9.

    The role of your partners and sponsors in the foundation?

    Our partners have an essential role, you can discover them on our website. The GPHG Foundation is a non-profit organization which, for reasons of neutrality, does not receive any financial support from watch brands, apart from the costs associated with their participation. It is therefore pleased to welcome the support of loyal partners who wish to demonstrate their attachment to the identity, values and development projects that it supports and thus contribute to promoting the excellence of our watchmaking industry. We thank them warmly, in particular Comptoir Immobilier which has been by our side for many years!


    • The family: father of three adult children, Natasha, Sophie and Ludovic
    • The military: mountain infantry captain and intelligence officer
    • Diplomacy: diplomatic competitive examination in 1983, assistant to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (84-88) and chief of staff to Federal Councillor Arnold Koller (88-91), delegate for European and cross-border affairs for the Canton of Valais (91-92), Swiss Ambassador to Singapore and Brunei (97-2002), then to New York with the position of Consul General (2002-2007). Member of the Foundation Board of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (2011- )and President of the Diplomatic Club of Geneva (2016)
    • Politics: Secretary General of the Swiss Christian Democratic Party (1993-1997), member of the Constituent Assembly of the Canton of Geneva (2008-2012), President of the Advisory Board of the Traversée du Lac (2016-)
    • Economy: Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aevis holding SA (2012- ), Chairman of Swiss Medical Network (2007- ), member of the Board of Directors of VJC SA (2013- ). Chairman of SSE Holding (2010- ), Vice-Chairman of the Domaine des Chevaliers (2012- ), member of the Committee of the Cercle des dirigeants d’entreprises
    • .

    • Media: former Chairman of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG (2012 -2015), Chairman of L’AGEFI (2017- )
    • Culture: former member of the BBL Committee, President of the Sophie de Quay and the wave guards Association, member of the Foundation Board for the Swiss Pontifical Guard, reading and cinema
    • The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: new challenge as of 2018
    • Leisure: walking, skiing, mountain, reading, cinema, yoga
    • The private: private
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