When I was young, I would be known to squeeze into ill-fitting clothes to “look good.” I was a fashion victim and pain seemed a small price to pay in order to appear stylish.
Now that I am middle-aged, comfort is more important to me. It has become an absolute prerequisite when selecting any item of clothing or footwear. Perhaps this may attract accusations of caring less about my appearance now that I am happily married and have found my lifelong partner; however, I don’t subscribe to this point of view. I still want to look good but do not feel it is necessary to suffer torment in the pursuit of style.
A few months ago, I placed a watch upon my arm and was immediately struck by its cosseting and cozy interaction with my wrist. The timepiece in question was the Meerson Altitude Officier small seconds 101-OEJY, a dapper watch from the British-based designer, Alexandre Meerson.
The exalted degree of comfort was no fortuitous fluke: Meerson has expended much time and resources honing every element of his horological ensembles. Indeed, Meerson watches accord a sublimely snug, nuzzling fit and this aspect of the brand is very much part of its unique selling proposition.
Alexandre Meerson’s background is designing high-end leather goods for some of the most illustrious luxury names on the planet. It should therefore come as no surprise that he has a profound understanding of materials and the tactility they proffer. Moreover, he exhibits incredible fastidiousness over minutiae, obsessing over case lugs, crowns, push-pieces and casebacks.
The highly impressive Laura Aust, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Head of Product Development at Meerson, distills Alexandre’s ideas. Together the creative duo collaborate in order to produce Meerson’s sophisticated timepieces.
More recently, I tried on another Meerson creation — the D15 MK-1 GMT — and once again was drawn into a world of temptation.
This model is offered in an array of dial options, including “True Blue,” “Eternity Black,” and the focal point of this article, “white-silvered.” Interestingly, each dial variant offers a different personality and the dial choice of the would-be buyer may well be influenced by his prevailing mood. At the time I visited Meerson’s U.K. offices, I was very much in a “white-silvered” frame of mind.
The silver-toned dial utilizes Arabic numerals to depict even-numbered hour markers. The font of each numeral is unique. Alexandre drew each numeral in order to optimize its appearance and sate his need for seemly aesthetics.
Black-gold hour and minute hands are lined with black luminescent material, which emits a blue glow in restricted light.
An openworked, red-tipped GMT hand displays the home time, proving useful for globetrotting clients. A snailed subdial, positioned above 6 o’clock, displays the date. Located adjacent to 9 o’clock is a day/night indicator.
“The devil is in the detail” is a well-known expression and seems apt when describing Meerson’s watches. The GMT hand interfaces with a 24-hour scale encircling the dial. This scale resides in a channel, sitting lower than the adjacent dial surface, conferring a comely depth. Moreover, the smooth finish of the channel from 0600 hours to 1800 hours gives way to a mottled finish for the nocturnal hours. It is these small nuances that impart long-term ownership delight.
The case is constructed of grade 5 titanium and tastefully blends brushed and polished surfaces. The D15 MK-1 GMT appears smaller on the wrist than the stated 44-mm diameter would suggest. Furthermore, it sits very comfortably upon the arm, courtesy of its curved caseback and slender profile. Once again, Meerson has considered wearer comfort to the nth degree.
The lugs are very angular, cleverly fusing numerous facets that interface with light and, by default, heighten the visual appeal of the watch.
The casual observer may, on seeing the push-pieces, wrongly assume this watch is a chronograph. It is not. The push-pieces advance the GMT hand, in either direction, and deliver an incredibly user-friendly interaction between the watch and its wearer.
Alexandre Meerson has a wealth of experience working with the finest leather and showcases this knowledge by offering various strap options for his clients. Meerson supplies a strap with the watch at the time of sale, but then subsequently invites purchasers to return to the point of sale for a “fitting,” providing a strap that accords a “made to measure” fit.
The self-winding movement, called AM-4705, has been made by the Swiss company Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which watch aficionados will recognize as an assurance of its quality.
The movement is delightfully decorated, employing a mix of machine and hand techniques. Twin barrels collaborate to provide a power reserve of 50 hours.
A detail on the movement that I especially appreciate is a supplementary plate attached to the oscillating mass, adorned with Alexandre Meerson’s name. At first glance, it appears to be part of the bridge below and its position is only revealed when it follows the trajectory of the moving rotor. As I said, Meerson is obsessive about the details.
I have a passion for products that fit me well, and confer comfort and style in equal measure. As I have grown older I have commissioned bespoke shirts, suits, et cetera, and appreciate the elevated and personalized fit they offer.
Meerson has grasped that luxury should mean products not only look good but should adapt to the needs of the owner and not the other way around. Whilst the Meerson D15 MK-1 GMT is not “bespoke,” the personalized fitting of the strap, together with the gentle caress of the curved caseback, gives it that type of appeal.
Over the last few weeks, I have written for WatchTime about many watches that have “tempted” me to consider their acquisition and therefore it would seem inevitable that now and again, I would succumb to the seductive charms of a horological beauty. That time has come, and my Meerson D15 MK-1 GMT has been ordered. I look forward to the day when we will be united.
Model: Meerson D15 MK-1 GMT
Movement: Self-winding movement; frequency = 28,800 vph (4 Hz); power reserve = 50 hours, indications = hours, minutes, central seconds, date, GMT
Case: Titanium Grade 5, diameter=44mm, height=10.05mm, water resistance=100 metres
Strap/bracelet: Black Barenia leather strap recommended, but numerous other options available
Price: £13,500 (recommended retail price as of August 4, 2015)
Where I tried on the watch: Meerson HQ, Surrey, England