Define luxury. A task made out of two simple words, that will not only spark a variety of answers, but will also be something most people need to think about. Luxury can be found in noble materials, but when these noble materials are used in a product which are poorly made or whose finish is not up to par, how noble are they really? When it comes to watches, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus have more then proven that luxury is more then just materials, it is perhaps even more what you do with these materials that truly creates luxury, and captures their undefinable essence.
Enter Alexandre Meerson; he learned the ropes of the watch industry from his father, Emerich Meerson, the man who made quite a name for himself as creator of Parisian fashion watches, and now he has founded a brand of his own. Some call this foolish, other refer to it as daring, but no matter what your outlook is, it is a fact that the market place of high end watches is quite crowded. With the current financial outlook of the world economy, there might be wiser investment options then starting a watch brand, unless of course you succeed.
Meerson might actually just do that because when looking at his inaugural collection, he brings a very tempting form of contemporary luxury in the most complicated way possible; with toned down, almost minimalistic design, with a near manic attention to detail. For Meerson, details are luxury. At first glance a Meerson watch might look quite ordinary compared to some of its competitors, but the longer you look, the more details you discover. Details only you can see and enjoy, because to discover them you need to hold or wear the watch, connect with it. Details like hands that are not folded in the middle to reflect the light, but slightly off center so that they create a different reflection with a very refreshing look. Or date wheels that actually have the same base color as the dial. It sounds so normal, but this is a detail where even esteemed brands with a century old history go wrong.
Most watch connoisseurs know that sometimes the only thing that separates a good watch from a great watch is the way it is polished. Meerson seems to understand that because not only does his designs show a smart alternation of polished and brushed area’s, they are also polished to perfection. Even the raised hour indexes, or Breguet inspired numerals, show different finishes, making it very hard to not stare at your watch every time you check the time.
The Meerson collection starts with a polished titanium, which can also be finished with a black Diamond Like Carbon-coation. Such an DLC-coating is highly scratch resistant, and can feature a polished or brushed finish. Meerson mixes both on a classical round watch that features Breguet numerals. These mixture of contrasts become a symbiosis of beauty.
Beauty can also be found inside the watches. Meerson uses movements by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, indeed also a supplier to Parmigiani an partially owned by Hermes. This is no the only link that Meerson has with Hermès, the straps are also crafted by a lady who made a career for herself in Hermès leather workshop. Here Meerson shows us also another form of contemporary luxury; every watch will be delivered with a strap made specifically to fit the wrist of its new owner. Yes, indeed true luxury can be only found in details!
Special thanks to Ace Jewelers in Amsterdam for graciously hosting the meeting and photo shoot
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics