Did you know about the GAÏA Prize? It is one of the coolest distinction someone can receive in the watch industry. By the 2018 edition, on September 20th, Maximilian Büsser, the genius behind MB&F, was awarded the GAÏA PRIZE – certainly the most prestigious reward within the watchmaking industry! The friends behind the brand kept this info under the radar, but this is a much to important fact, not to be shared.
Since 1993, the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds has presented the prize in recognition of extraordinary careers in the field of watchmaking. The only one of its kind, many have called the Gaïa Prize the Nobel Prize of watchmaking. While that may be somewhat exaggerated, it certainly does function in very much the same way: it is not a prize as such, but rather a distinction. You cannot apply for it: only third parties can suggest candidates to the distinguished Jury members, who ultimately decide.
The list of previous winners reads like a watchmaking Hall of Fame. In the Craftsmanship & Creation category, some of the most famous names include George Daniels, Philippe Dufour, François-Paul Journe and Kari Voutilainen. In the History & Research category, you’ll find names like Roger Smith and Ludwig Oechslin. The Entrepreneurship category is populated by prominent figures like Nicolas G. Hayek, Günter Blümlein, Jean-Claude Biver, Richard Mille, Philippe Stern… and now, Max Büsser.
According to the official press release, Max received the Gaïa Prize “in recognition of his creative approach to watchmaking in the design and marketing of his products, and for the innovative way he manages his business”.
Max was joined in the 2018 edition by two amazing individuals:
– Paul Clementi (Craftsmanship & Creation), whose career spans L’Epée, Parmigiani and Bovet in addition to academic responsibilities at the Technical College of La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Haute Ecole HE-ARC.
– Reinhard Meis (History & Research), now retired, but who played a key role for many years at Lange & Söhne and then at Richemont, where he was Engineering director for product design and fine watchmaking.
Photo credits :
– V. Savanyu/MIH (photos 1-2-4-6)
– F. Blanchard/Revue FH (photos 3-5)