Prix Gaïa 2003 – Anthony G. Randall. Craftsmanship-Creation category

He was awarded for his excellent career as a restorer, producer and designer of watch movements, but also as creator, trailblazer and author of several historical and technical studies.


Physicist and watchmaker

Selected works

  • Redesigned the watchmaker John Harrison's marine watch H4 into an 8-day miniature clock to show its mechanism.
  • Restoration of tourbillons, chronometers and complicated pieces such as minute repeaters and singing birds.
  • Pocket chronometers, marine chronometers and other portable precision timekeepers, Catalogs of watches in the British Museum 6, London, 1990.

Before Gaïa

From an early age, Anthony G. Randall took a keen interest in watches and clocks that he dismantled and repaired. However, before he entered the watchmaking world, he went to study physics at the University of Manchester. After graduating with his degree in physics at 22 years old in 1960, he was appointed to work on the Scanning Electron Microscope project at the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company.

However, fueled by his relentless passion for watchmaking, he also pursued studies in the field in parallel with his physicist work. At first, in England, he took distance learning classes at the British Horological Institute, where he was given the Fellow membership in 1963. Later, he carried out his watchmaking studies at Technicum in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland). During his watchmaking studies, he made the Caliber 65, an on-board chronometer.

Back in England in 1965, he worked for George Daniels as a watch restorer for a few months in London. During the same year, he started working as a watchmaking teacher at the Ecole Polytechnique in Birmingham. Six years later, he stopped teaching to focus on writing the catalog of marine chronometers for the British Museum, amongst others. In the early 1970s, Randall started his research studies about, for example, the systematic study of constant-force escapements, balances and balance-springs to find solutions regarding magnetism problems and to improve thermal compensation. His several research activities led him to develop special tourbillons, one of which was a rotating double-axis model (Patent GB 2027232 August 1978).

During his research about watchmaking history, he particularly took interest in the mechanism of the H4 marine watch developed by the British watchmaker John Harrison. And so, in 1993, when the tercentenary of the great watchmaker was celebrated, Randall redesigned the marine watch into an 8-day miniature clock so that its exceptional mechanism as well as its proprieties and accuracy could be admired and analyzed.

Since the 1970s, Randall worked as a restorer, designer, consultant, researcher, historian and author.

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