The 2015 Gaïa Prize Went To Anita Porchet, Giulio Papi, and Jonathan Betts
The Gaïa award is not a familiar word to many watch enthusiast’s ears. Nevertheless, this prize given by the International Museum of Watchmaking (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds is the most prestigious award in our industry in terms of personalities involved in the success and quality of the watchmaking industry – and not only recognized as such in Switzerland.
Jean-Claude Biver, François-Paul Journe, Philippe Dufour, Günter Blümlein, George Daniels, Philippe Stern, and Nicolas G. Hayek have all received it. Why and how? Because the expert committee judged that the honoree brought a significant impulse to watchmaking in one of three disciplines: craftsmanship and creation, history and research, and entrepreneurship.
The 2015 edition was particularly special due to the impact and leadership of the winners. Ladies first: Anita Porchet is considered the most talented enamel specialist in watchmaking. But what counts even more is that she has defended this art since the beginning with her passion and strong determination. She also helped to create a real culture for art in watches among her clients, as they sometimes didn’t properly master all the subtleties of enamel. She received the award for artisanal creation.
Giulio Papi and his former business partner Dominique Renaud are well known for having launched APRP, a complication and movement manufacturer who pushed the boundaries of what is possible in watchmaking. APRP, for instance, creates the most innovative movements of Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille. This company also created the H2 and H3 movements for HYT. And several now-famous watch innovators have also worked there like Carole Kasapi-Forestier (Cartier) and Robert Greubel (Greubel Forsey). Papi received his Gaïa for entrepreneurship.
Jonathan Betts dedicated his whole life to British marine chronometers. He worked as the senior specialist in horology at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. In addition to being watchmaker able to restore vintage movements, he also wrote a biography about Rupert Gould, who restored the chronometers of John Harrison, the most important figure in the history of English watchmaking. He is now retired.