Gaïa Award 2012: Eric Coudray, when the genius lets loose

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1801-2021, the Tourbillon is more than two hundred years old! Abraham Louis Breguet’s invention has presented generations of great watchmakers with real challenges, particularly over the last 40 years…

By Joël A. Grandjean / JSH® Magazine & Swiss Watch Passport Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
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The Spherillon invention, by the watchmaker Eric Coudray: extreme micromechanical complications, fascinating and magical kinetics. A Potter escapement (anchor wheel with inverted teeth) | Photo ©Jerome-Saillard

Only a few of them have been able to do it, to put all their heart and talent into it, and to be able to make it and adjust it. Eric Coudray is one of these ‘golden fingers’. The Gaïa Prize, also known as the Nobel Prize for Watchmaking, honoured him in 2012 in the “Crafts and Creations” category with these words: “The jury recognised in the work of the laureate a total and innovative mastery of watchmaking construction, turning the improbable into a technical success.

And his laudatio underlined some of his feats of arms: tetrahedron clock, minute repeater watches, geographical watches, chronographs, miniature calibres, Atmos Régulateur, Atmos mystérieuse and the famous “Gyrotourbillon” which he never ceases to improve and which has made him famous among collectors worldwide.

Armed with his quest for a chronometric absolute – he won second place at the Chromometry Competition in 2009 – it is in Vallorbe, within Tec Group (Arnaud Faivre), that he is writing one of the most promising pages of the post-tourbillon era. The Spherillon was born, and even the double-Spherillon…

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Swiss Watch Journal JSH June 2021 cover featuring the invention of the Gaïa Award Eric Coudray, watchmaker at Tec Group (Arnaud Faivre) - Order the edition - Subscribe (abo@jsh.swiss)
Image of the Spherillon developed by the watchmaker Eric Coudray, on the cover of the Swiss watchmaking magazine JSH® (June 2021) | Photo ©Jerome-Saillard

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