The outcome was a squad of the same size as the one that toured South Africa in 2009 and Australia in 2001, and a tour party built around the successful RBS 6 Nations Championship team from Wales.
The hope now is that Gatland and co have found the winning formula: 15W + 10E +9I +3S = Test winning team.
"We've gone through a long process and when it came down to the end of it there were three or four positions where we had to make a call between one player or another," said Gatland.
"I think we've had about five or six selection meetings so by the time it came to Monday we were pretty clear on about 30 of the spots. It was just about finalising the last half dozen or so and those places were between one or two players in each position.
"We looked at the weekend's games and we had to make some tough decisions at the end of the day.
"There's been so much speculation and so many opinions. And that's what selection is - it's a matter of opinion, and it's our opinion.
"The excitement is really brewing and everyone is looking forward to what should be a fantastic tour."
Gatland believes he and assistant coaches Andy Farrell, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree have found the right mix of youth and experience as they search for a first series success since 1997.
The man charged with avenging the heart-breaking 2001 defeat to the Wallabies has opted for a whole host of young talent but has also included 13 players with past Lions experience.
"Experience was part of the decision making process. There's some 22, 23 and 24-year-olds who have potentially got more tours in them so it's a big challenge for them. You want to bring that youth but you also want to mix it with some real experience," added Gatland.
"You've got players like Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll in particular who have been around for a while and have been on other tours. You've also got guys like Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Mike Phillips, Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe in there as well.
"You blend that with some exciting talent, some young players who have done really well over the last 12 months or two years and we think we've found a nice balance.
"We think it's a really strong squad in which everyone's going to be fighting like mad to get into the 23 for the first Test."