Prix Gaïa 1997 – Richard Daners. Craftsmanship-Creation category
He was awarded for his unique pieces such as astrolabe or astral pocket watches; most of his complicated watches were designed when he worked at Gübelin.
He created his models in collaboration with the design office of Gübelin.
- Jack watches
- La Fabuleuse, ultra-complicated pocket watch
He carried out his watchmaker apprenticeship at Deiter in his hometown Essen (Germany), one of the leading watchmaking and jewelry-making German brands. His watchmaking skills rapidly gained fame and thus his professional career truly started at Gübelin in Lucerne in 1952, where he worked as a repairer of clocks and watches. In 1958, six years after completing his apprenticeship, he completed his training with a masters in watchmaking. As from 1979, Daners created and produced watches in collaboration with the design office of Gübelin. His pieces were unique and thus produced in ultra-limited editions.
In 1980, he designed a Bras en l'Air jack pocket watch which was equipped with a mechanism controlled by the crown and which offered the option of leaving the arms of the characters on the dial moving. Two years later, he came up with an astrolabe pocket watch and an astral watch.
The 3 laureates : Jean-Pierre Musy, Jean-Claude Sabrier and Richard Daners
From 1983 to 1985, Daners participated in the development and assembly of La Fabuleuse, an ultra-complicated watch that featured fourteen additional indications and thirteen hands on the dial. The watch is one of the world's most complicated and it took over 1500 hours to work on its finish.
Always looking to design new watch movements, he revisited the Bras en l'Air movement to adapt it to wristwatches for the first time, of which he went on to create several models.
In the early 1990s, Daners successfully restored a great complication by Audemars Piguet. Despite his restoration activities, he did not abandon the creation of watches and produced two tourbillons. The first was released in 1993 and was a constant-force double-detent tourbillon. The second – issued two years later – was an escapement tourbillon with a Theurillat winding system. In 1995, Daners retired.
During his career, Daners created no less than 14 different tourbillons, the most recent one being a triple-axis tourbillon. In 1998, he proved his expertise after three years of hard work when he produced a masterpiece in the form of a quarter repeater pocket watch. Like an automaton that could be pocketed, the piece was adorned with animals on the dial – a lion indicated the hours with its tail, a pelican the quarters with its beak and a parrot the minutes with its wings.