Prix Gaïa 2013 – Andreas Strehler. Craftsmanship-Creation category
In awarding the prix Gaïa in this category, the jury wished to honour the exceptional watchmaker for his minimalist mechanical movements that appeared to resemble living organisms.
Andreas Strehler began his training as a watchmaker in Frauenfeld in 1987. His passion for his art and fine mechanics naturally prompted him to focus on the construction and development of complicated mechanisms.
As early as 1995, he became an independent watchmaker and restorer combining the resotoration of old pieces with the creation of his own movements.
He began his career in the Renaud & Papi workshops (belonging to Audemars Piguet) at Le Locle by becoming head project manager in the prototype department in 1993. He then worked in collaboration with watchmakers such as Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and Giulio Papi. In 1995, he created his own manufacturing workshop for high-end watches.
At Baselworld, in 1998, he exhibited his Perpetual calendar, combining a desktop calendar and a pocket watch. His creation instantly evoked a modern version of Abraham-Louis Breguet's Sympathique invented in 1795.
The following year, he exhibited the Zwei, a wristwatch boasting a multiple display similar to a digital watch. This was achieved with the use of gears with differentials. In 2001, he was the youngest watchmaker to be accepted as a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI). At the age of 33, Andreas Strehler became technical manager of H. Moser & Cie, while retaining his independent status.
In 2006 he won the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in the Complicated watch category, with his Moser Perpetual 1 with perpetual calendar and 7 day power reserve.
The following year, he set up his workshops in Sirnach. In 2007, he also designed the Opus 7 for Harry Winston, which combined a visible movement and a personalised display: the hour was indicated by a rotating disk, which could also be switched to indicate the precise minute of the day by flipping a lever on the winding crown.
In 2008, inspired by the Opus 7, Andreas Strehler rolled out his Butterfly watch, followed by the Cocon watch in 2012. Both watches perfectly illustrate his philosophy of mechanical minimalism with his movements designed to resemble living organisms. Their aesthetic codes underline at once a renewal and a reinterpretation of the traditional art of watchmaking.
Patents filed by Andreas Strehler
- CH693155 – Anzeigemechanik einer Uhr
- CH695174 – Unruhe
- CH695223 – Hemmung für ein Uhrwerk
- CH695225 – Mechanischer Kalender für eine Uhr
- CH695226 – Verfahren und Vorrichtung zum Stellen des Datums und/oder der Zeiger einer Uhr
- CH695227 – Uhr mit Monatsanzeige
- CH695228 – Uhrwerk
- CH695229 – Uhrwerk
- CH698758 – Chronograph movement
- CH700605 – Watch movement with alarm function
- CH700606 – Chime hammer for watch movement
- CH705294 – Watchmaking piece