Andreas Strehler receives the Prix Gaïa by Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH, International Watch Museum), La Chaux-de-Fonds

Independent watch maker Andreas Strehler has won the prestigious Gaïa Prize in the category Artisanat-Création.

This year’s Prix Gaïa was awarded for the 19th time on 19th September 2013. This most distinguished prize in watchmaking is awarded by Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH, International Watch Museum) in three categories:

  • ­ Artisanat-Création (craftsmanship-creation) for exceptional achievements in watchmaking

  • ­ Esprit d’entreprise (spirit of enterprise) for entrepreneurial achievements in the watch industry

  • ­ Histoire-Recherches (history-research) or services to the history of watchmaking

The jury consists of 13 personalities from the world of watches; its president is Ludwig Oechslin. This year the jury has awarded the prize in all three categories. The jury does not necessarily award the Prix Gaïa each year and in each category but only if an exceptional candidate is presented to the jury by one of its members.

Andreas Strehler received the Prix Gaïa in the category Artisanat-Création for his ingenious, minimalistic mechanical movements which are conceived like true living organisms.

Ernst Thomke was honoured for his outstanding role in the development of the SWATCH and the reorganisation of the Swiss watch industry after the quartz crisis.

The prize was further awarded to Dr. Günther Oestmann of the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), a researcher and scientist, for his publications on the history of German watchmaking.

Stephen Forsey held a most entertaining laudatory speech for Andreas Strehler. Stephen Forsey is himself a Prix Gaïa laureate (2009, with Robert Greubel for Esprit d’entreprise) and an old companion of Andreas Strehler. Both at one time worked together at Renaud &Papi in Le Locle, today’s Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi SA.

The prize, a crystal ball representing the earth, was presented by Ludwig Oechslin, curator of the MIH, in the great assembly room of the MIH in the presence of Michel Ditisheim, grandson of Maurice Ditisheim who was one of the first sponsors of the MIH and who inspired the Prix Gaïa.

After the formal prize giving ceremony, a reception was held at the MIH and the laureates of 2013 were toasted and welcomed to the exclusive circle of the Prix Gaïa by Paul Gerber (laureate 2007), Beat Haldimann (laureate 2009), Elmar Mock and Jacques Mueller (laureates 2010), Antoine Simonin (laureate 1995) and many other personalities from the watch industry. The reception was followed by a celebratory dinner.

Past Prix Gaïa laureates are, among others, Günter Blümlein, Nicolas G. Hayek, François-Paul Journe, Michel Parmigiani, Vincent Calabrese and George Daniels.

List of Prix Gaïa laureates since 1993

  • 1993 – Jean-Claude Nicolet: Artisanat-creation/ Henry Louis Belmont: Histoire-recherches/ André Margot: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1994 – François-Paul Journe: Artisanat-creation/ François Mercier: Histoire-recherches/ Anton Bally: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1995 – Michel Parmigiani: Artisanat-creation/ Ludwig Oechslin: Histoire-recherches/ Antoine Simonin: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1996 – Vincent Calabrese: Artisanat-creation/ Jean-Luc Mayaud: Histoire-recherches/ Günter Blümlein: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1997 – Richard Daners: Artisanat-creation/ Jean-Claude Sabrier: Histoire-recherches/ Jean-Pierre Musy: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1998 – Philippe Dufour: Artisanat-creation/ Yves Droz and Joseph Flores: Histoire-recherches/ Luigi Macaluso: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 1999 – Derek Pratt: Artisanat-creation/ Estelle Fallet: Histoire-recherches/ Gabriel Feuvrier: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2000 – René Bannwart: Artisanat-creation/ Kathleen Pritschard: Histoire-recherches/ Simone Bédat: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2001 – George Daniels: Artisanat-creation/ Catherine Cardinal: Histoire-recherches/ Rolf Schnyder: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2003 – Antony G. Randall: Artisanat-creation
  • 2004 – André Beyner: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2006 – Luigi Pippa: Artisanat-creation/ John H. Leopold: Histoire-recherches
  • 2007 – Paul Gerber: Artisanat-creation
  • 2008 – Nicolas G. Hayek: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2009 – Beat Haldimann: Artisanat-creation/ Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2010 – Jacques Mueller and Elmar Mock: Artisanat-creation/ Jean-Claude Biver: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2011 – François Junod: Artisanat-creation/ Pierre-Yves Donzé: Histoire-recherches/ Philippe Stern: Esprit d’entreprise
    2012 – Eric Coudray: Artisanat-creation/ Francesco Garufo: Histoire-recherches/ Franco Cologni: Esprit d’entreprise
  • 2013 – Andreas Strehler: Artisanat-creation/ Günther Oestmann: Histoire-recherches/ Ernst Thomke: Esprit d’entreprise

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