Prix Gaïa

The Prix Gaïa is to watchmaking what the Nobel Prize is to global philanthropy: the supreme recompense, the kind of timeless award that makes a person's career exceptional.

Prix Gaïa 2017, introducing the winners

The Prix Gaïa is to watchmaking what the Nobel Prize is to global philanthropy: the supreme recompense, the kind of timeless award that makes a person's career exceptional.

by Joel Grandjean

The candidates were discussed, carefully documented and the winners unanimously selected by a jury of professionals, including yours truly, in a sitting chaired by Régis Huguenin-Dumittan, Curator at the MIH, International Watchmaking Museum. The winners, three key personalities from the watchmaking field, then received their awards, one for each of the three categories: Jean-Marc Wiederrecht for "Craftsmanship and Creation", Laurence Marti for "History and Research" and Richard Mille for "Entrepreneurship".

Prix Gaïa 2017 – Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. Craftsmanship-Creation category

Established in Meyrin (Geneva), watch designer and founder of Agenhor SA, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht is considered as the father of “Poetic Complications”. Born in 1950, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht graduated as a watchmaker in 1972. Following this, he worked at Châtelain for three years before setting up his own workshop in 1978. In 1988, he developed his first bi-retrograde perpetual calendar. Made for Harry Winston, the module was a first in watchmaking and heralded the start of a privileged relationship between Wiederrecht and the brand.

Prix Gaïa 2017 – Richard Mille. Entrepreneurship category

Richard Mille, founder and director of the eponymous company Richard Mille, embodies a new vision of modern watchmaking. Bursting with creativity, he designs luxurious and the most innovative watches. Born in Draguignan, southern France, in 1951, Richard Mille is a passionate of mechanics who rapidly made an imprint in the Swiss watch universe. After his marketing studies in Besançon, he worked at Finhor, a local watchmaking company, as head of exports then rose to the position of manager of the watchmaking brands the Matra group acquired when it bought Finhor. In 1990, he became President of the watch division and Director of the jewelry shop Mauboussin and became, from then, on well-known in luxury watchmaking. Nevertheless, after a disagreement about the company's business strategy, Richard Mille left Mauboussin to set up his own brand. And so, in 2001, he embarked upon a new adventure and settled in Les Breuleux to produce his first watch, the RM 001.

Prix Gaïa 2017 – Laurence Marti. History-Research category

Established in Aubonne (Vaud), the independent research sociologist and historian is discreet and meticulous. One of her major works was on the legend Daniel Jeanrichard, which she handled with an original approach combining history and sociology. Laurence Marti was born in Bévilard in the Bernese Jura. She studied sociology and history at the University of Lausanne and University Lyon 2. After she obtained a PhD in sociology and social sciences, she opened the private research bureau “Laurence Marti recherches sociales” in Aubonne (Vaud). Since 1997, she has offered her scientific know-how to companies, institutions, associations, museums and private individuals to carry out research projects, organize exhibitions, write commemorative books and so on. In 2005, she completed her training with a “certificat de formation

Prix Gaïa 2016, introducing the winners

4 laureates in 3 categories is the jury's verdict. This international distinction rewards for twenty-three years careers in the field of watchmaking. The awards ceremony will be presided over by Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, Swiss State Secretary for education, research and innovation on Tuesday 20th September 2016 at 18:30. Musée international d'horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds.

by Joel Grandjean

The Prix Gaïa was created in 1993 by the Musée international d’horlogerie with an aim to honour prominent figures who have contributed and who contribute to the reputation of watchmaking – through its history, its technology and its industry. The only one of its kind, this Prize has the particularity of honouring the best of the best (F.P. Journe, P. Dufour, G. Daniels, N. Hayek, J.-C. Biver, K. Voutilainen, A. Porchet). By awarding this Prize, the Musée international d’horlogerie, a worldwide recognised institution of La Chaux-de-Fonds, a town whose economic and social history is closely linked to watchmaking, wished to express its appreciation to the spiritual heirs of the watchmaking culture which impregnates the collections of the museum, as well as the town.

Prix Gaïa 2016 – Roger Smith. History-Research category

by Joel Grandjean

Roger Smith's research mainly focusses on the watchmaking world of 18th-century London and his work is characterised by his in-depth research on Anglo-Swiss exchanges and his expert knowledge of timepieces.

Prix Gaïa 2016 – Giovanni Busca and Pascal Rochat. Entrepreneurship category

by Joel Grandjean

Giovanni Busca, an independent consultant, was Professor and Director of the Neuchâtel Observatory from 1988-2001; Pascal Rochat is founder and CEO of the Neuchâtel-based company, SpectraTime. The jury of the Gaïa Prize wanted to highlight the fundamental role played by Giovanni Busca and Pascal Rochat in enhancing the position of the Neuchâtel Observatory and in developing the industrial applications of their atomic clockmaking research.

Prix Gaïa 2016 – Vianney Halter. Craftsmanship-Creation category

by Joel Grandjean

Since the inception of the Gaïa prize in 1993, there are among the laureates many of the geniuses and talents that where, at the time, not yet recognized by their counterparts or collectors. To name a few: Jean-Claude Nicolet, François-Paul Journe, Michel Parmigiani, Vincent Calabrese, Philippe Dufour, Derek Pratt, Georges Daniels, Anthony G. Randall, Beat Haldimann, Kari Voutilainen or Andreas Strehler…It is now the turn of Vianney Halter to be recognized by this institution that some media compare to the “Nobel Prize of watchmaking”.

Prix Gaïa - the videos

Prix Gaïa at La Chaux-de-Fonds: the emotional memory of enamelling artist Anita Porchet

Watchmaking: Kari Voutilainen, laureate of the 2014 Prix Gaïa

Prix Gaïa: Jean-Claude Biver cherishes his as a medal!

Show me ... your Gaïa Prize Greubel Forsey's Stephen Forsey recounts

Günter Blümlein, the power of memories

Fifteen years have already gone by since the master watchmaker left us. Winner of the Gaïa Prize in 1996, for which Watchonista is media partner, he made a lasting impression on the industry. Here's a few things to learn about him

by Joel Grandjean

In the early hours of October 1st, 2001, he died aged only 58. On this day, high-end watchmaking lost one of its key, most respected and prominent figures. Remembered as a relentless entrepreneur with a strong personality, his memory lives on. Now fifteen years later, his career path is still a source of inspiration. His career was so enriching that taking the time to learn about it might well give aspiring managers potentially business-saving impetus.

Prix Gaïa 2014 – Kari Voutilainen. Craftsmanship category

by Joel Grandjean

From WOSTEP to Parmigiani, and now in Môtiers (Neuchâtel) where he works, the Finnish watch artist has always been widely appreciated. Three words sum up his watchmaking: independence, true calling and modesty, like all great watchmakers have.

Prix Gaïa 2014 – Henri Dubois. Entrepreneurship category

by Joel Grandjean

Watchmaking is grateful to this visionary man, who right in the middle of the watchmaking crisis, launched “Laboratoire Dubois” for watchmaking and its subsidiary sectors. He is today the honorary chairman of the enterprise. We pay tribute to him.

Prix Gaïa 2014 – Pierre Thomann. History-Research category

by Joel Grandjean

You will find a piece of him and Neuchâtel, where he teaches, on the end of your mobile phone. Pierre Thomann works on the measurement of time and is furthermore a gifted popularizer.

Discover all the laureates since 1993

1993

1993 0

JEAN-CLAUDE NICOLET (Craftsmanship-Creation)

 

ANDRE MARGOT (Entrepreneurship)

 

HENRI-LOUIS BELMONT (History-Research)

1994

Prix Gaïa 1994

FRANCOIS-PAUL JOURNE (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

ANTON BALLY (Entrepreneurship)

 

FRANCOIS MERCIER (History-Research)

1995

1995

MICHEL PARMIGIANI (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

ANTOINE SIMONIN (Entrepreneurship)

 

LUDWIG OECHSLIN (History-Research)

1996

1996

VINCENT CALABRESE (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

GÜNTER BLÜMLEIN (Entrepreneurship)

 

JEAN-LUC MAYAUD (History-Research)

1997

1997

RICHARD DANERS (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

JEAN-PIERRE MUSY (Entrepreneurship)

 

JEAN-CLAUDE SABRIER (History-Research)

1998

1998

PHILIPPE DUFOUR (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

LUIGI MACALUSO (Entrepreneurship)

 

YVES DROZ & JOSEPH FLORES (History-Research)

1999

1999

DEREK PRATT (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

GABRIEL FEUVRIER (Entrepreneurship)

 

ESTELLE FALLET (History-Research)

2000

2000

RENE BANNWART (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

SIMONE BEDAT (Entrepreneurship)

 

KATHLEEN PRITSCHARD (History-Research)

2001

2001 0

GEORGE DANIELS (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

ROLF SCHNYDER (Entrepreneurship)

 

CATHERINE CARDINAL (History-Research)

2003

2003

 

ANTHONY G. RANDALL (Craftsmanship – Creation)

2004

2004

 

ANDRE BEYNER (Entrepreneurship)

2006

2006

LUIGI PIPPA (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

JOHN H. LEOPOLD (History-Research)

2007

2007

 

PAUL GERBER (Craftsmanship – Creation)

2008

2008

NICOLAS HAYEK (Entrepreneurship)


Watchonista will soon offer you a personalized presentation of this extraordinary personality.

2009

2009

BEAT HALDIMANN (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

ROBERT GREUBEL & STEPHAN FORSEY (Entrepreneurship)

2010

2010

ELMAR MOCK & JACQUES MULLER (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER (Entrepreneurship)

2011

2011

FRANCOIS JUNOD (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

• PHILIPPE STERN (Entrepreneurship)

 

PIERRE-YVES DONZE (History-Research)

2012

2012

ERIC COUDRAY (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

FRANCO COLOGNI (Entrepreneurship)

 

FRANCESCO GARUFO (History-Research)

2013

2013

ANDREAS STREHLER (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

ERNST THOMKE (Entrepreneurship)

 

GÜNTHER OESTMANN (History-Research)

2014

2014

KARI VOUTILAINEN (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

HENRI DUBOIS (Entrepreneurship)

 

PIERRE THOMANN (History-Research)

2015

2015

ANITA PORCHET (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

GIULIO PAPI (Entrepreneurship)

 

JONATHAN BETTS (History-Research)

2016

2016

VIANNEY HALTER (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

GIOVANNI BUSCA & PASCAL ROCHAT (Entrepreneurship)

 

ROGER SMITH (History-Research)

2017

2017

JEAN-MARC WIEDERRECHT (Craftsmanship – Creation)

 

RICHARD MILLE (Entrepreneurship)

 

LAURENCE MARTI (History-Research)