In the watch industry, there is a single aware, the Prix GAIA, that may be the most important, validating award yet. A jury of professionals, along with the Curator at MIH (Museum of International Horology // International Watchmaking Museum) selects the candidates for three categories: Craftsmanship and Creation, History and Research, Entrepreneurship. This year, the winner for each category in the 14th annual Award, respectively, is genius watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Laurence Marti and Richard Mille.
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, founder of Agenhor SA, is easily one of the most important watchmaking geniuses of our time. The man – who developed many a complexity for a host of brands including Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermes, Faberge, Harry Winston and many others — is also humble and passionate. A conversation with him can get anyone excited about watches, mechanics and time. Winner of the Craftsmanship and Creation category, Wiederrecht is most deserving.
Richard Mille, owner and founder of his eponymous brand, wins the Entrepreneurship category. He is constantly innovating, not only in timepieces, and materials, but also in luxury, brand ambassadors and even marketing strategies and sponsorships. Laurence Marti, winner of the History-Research category,is an independent research sociologist and historian, who has written several very important works.
These three follow a long line of laureate winners ranging from Francois-Paul Journe to Anton Bally (of Swatch fame), Michel Parmigiani, Ludwig Oechslin, Vincent Calabrese, Gunter Blumlein, Philippe Dufour, Luigi (Gino) Macaluso, Rene Bannwart, Simone Bedat, George Daniels, Rolf Schnyder, Nicholas Hayek, Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey, JeanClaude Biver, Andreas Strehler, Ernst Thomke, Kari Voutilainen, Anita Porchet, Giulio Papi, and many more. I am proud and honored to say that I know have met and interviewed them, and am actually proud to call some of them friends.