Prix Gaïa 2000 – Kathleen Pritschard. History-Research category
She was awarded for the reference book she wrote about Swiss watchmaking companies and brands, her commitment to NAWCC as the manager of its museum and the author of various articles for the bulletin.
Master of Arts (University of Harvard), specialization in museography
- Swiss timepiece makers: 1775-1975, West Kennebunk (Maine-USA) and Neuchâtel, 1997.
- Vacheron & Constantin II: ein langes Frauenleben in einer Genfer Uhrmachersippe, Alten Uhren und modern Zeitmessung, n°9, book 5, 1986.
After she obtained a Master of Arts, Kathleen Pritchard started her career as a librarian at the National Gallery in Ottawa (Canada), then moved to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before she joined Satellite Systems Engineering in Maryland.
As a librarian, she was curious about the lack of available information about Swiss watchmaking companies. And so, in the late 1960s, she started collecting data on Swiss companies.
The 3 laureates : Simone Bédat, René Bannwart and Kathleen Pritschard
After 20 years of research, she decided to use the large volume of information she had complied by the time to write the book “Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975”, which was published in 1997. It was an encyclopedia published in two volumes which listed over 2000 companies. The first pages contained a brief description of every Swiss company listed – their logos, trademarks, significant bibliographical references, advertisement reproductions and the list of awards they won. The impressive book was like a Bible for Swiss watchmaking and watchmakers.
In 1975, Pritchard became a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) of which she was Fellow (honorary member) and Star Fellow (exceptional honorary member). From 1982 to 1992, she was the manager of the NAWCC museum in Columbia (Pennsylvania). She also wrote several articles that were published in the NAWCC Bulletin. Her role at the association was to answer the various questions that members had about Swiss watchmaking. It should be noted that Pritchard was also member of Chronométrophilia, a Swiss Association for the history of time measurement.
Pritchard and her husband valued watch collections and evaluated their state.
For example, they tested and dated watches of the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum (Constitution Hall) in Washington. She also participated in the expert assessment of watches and clocks in George Washington's house in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Pritchard continued her activities at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) and continued to publish articles in the association's magazine. She never lost her interest in anything watchmaking-related, particularly Swiss watchmaking.