Prix Gaïa 2010 – Jacques Muller and Elmar Mock. Craftsmanship-Creation category
Jacques Muller and Elmar Mock came up with an original watch design and have also written the propositions in the patents for the watch that is today sold by the SWATCH brand.
In 1983, the first Swatch was released on the market. With a revolutionary design and production, it was manufactured in mass and was accurate, water-resistant, shock-resistant and available at a low price.
Led by Ernst Thomke (at the head of the ETA since 1978), the two designers Jacques Muller (watch engineer) and Elmar Mock (also watch engineer and a plastic engineer) developed a low-price quartz watch based on standard principles such as the use of the case back for the assembly of the movement's components as seen, for instance, in the Delirium.
The main idea behind the developed design was to avoid eventual repair and thus take advantage from it, particularly to improve the watch's profitability and lower the cost.
The Prix Gaïa that Muller and Mock received was to honor both inventors who were mentioned in three patents linked to the design of the Swatch.
The following patents have been filed for in other countries than Switzerland:
- CH 643704 Electronic watch with analog display (filed on March 6, 1981)
The patent in question protected a plastic watch that featured a stator-equipped movement. In the described watch, the gear was fitted on the stator, which was welded to the case. The watch's purpose was to "provide an electronic watch with an analog display, with a simple structure that would be easy to machine and assemble in mass, and which would be relatively thinner but at the same time have enough space for the different components in an effort to improve its reliability".
- CH646577 Machining process of a watch case, the means for the implementation of the process and the case watch resulting from the process's implementation (filed on June, 24 1981).
The patent pertained to the production of cases, particularly in the way it ensured the water-resistant fastening of the replaceable battery's bed. The invention's main purpose was to affix the cover of the battery's bed with the help of a rotating movement, while applying ultrasonic vibrations.
- CH650894 Watch housed a plastic case equipped with a glass and a fastening process of the glass on the watch case (filed on August 12, 1982).
Ultrasonic vibrations were used to fasten the glass on the case. The process had to meet several requirements, which has enabled the production of a robust and water-resistant piece.
It is to be noted that the three key inventions of the design involve the use of welding, particularly via ultrasonic vibrations, a technology that was then unprecedented in the watchmaking field and which turned out to be highly efficient.