Master watchmaker Eric Coudray descends from multiple generations of distinguished watchmakers. While he did not initially plan to become a watchmaker, being a lover of mechanics and all things technical, watchmaking seemed like a logical choice of study when he began school.
Coudray apprenticed as a watchmaker at the LEP Jules Haag in Besançon before studying for a CFC in watchmaking/watch repair at the Technicum Neuchâtelois in La Chaux-de-Fonds. He eventually earned a diploma specializing in the restoration of old watches from the International Museum of Watchmaking (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds. After a few years repairing watches in a shop near Paris, Coudray took a major step in 1989 by joining the legendary Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre, where he worked for nearly the next two decades. During his tenure at Jaeger-LeCoultre, he spent time developing improvements for calibers, including the Reverso minute repeater and Reverso chronograph. Under the mentorship of previous CEO Henry-John Belmont, Coudray was able to establish an independent workshop, which led to the release of the Atmos Régulateur in 2002 followed by the Atmos Mystérieuse the following year.
Concurrently, Coudray developed the first Gyrotourbillon, which was combined with a perpetual calendar and equation of time and released as the Master Gyrotourbillon 1 in 2004. He improved the mechanism and added a helical balance spring, which appeared in the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2, leading to a second win for him at the Le Locle International Chronometry Competition in 2009.
Coudray departed Jaeger-LeCoultre to join independent watchmaker Cabestan in further developing the brand’s concept and mechanics after independent watchmaker Vianney Halter left the project. This collaboration eventually produced a highly reliable vertical tourbillon for the Winch model. Later Coudray developed the Trapezium while helping to create a stronger brand. In 2012 Eric Coudray won the Gaïa Prize for his innovative mastery of watchmaking, cementing his position as one of the great watchmakers of our time. Coudray eventually left Cabestan and joined TEC Ebauches, where he has played a role in developing movements and mechanisms for a variety of brands throughout the watch industry, including the Spherion for C. Purnell.