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Meccaniche Veloci  - Interview with CEO Cesare Cerrito

Meccaniche Veloci Interview with CEO Cesare Cerrito

With its unique DNA inspired by the design of a piston, the identity of Meccaniche Veloci is all about La Dolce Vita.

Has perception of the brand changed since you took over in 2015?
Yes, we have repositioned and taken another look at our core concept. We’re starting to gain recognition as a quality independent brand. Since 2016 we have also moved to a 100% Swiss Made production, with our headquarters and workshops in Plan-Les-Ouates, and a showroom to welcome clients. With an output of just a few hundred watches per year, equipped with a movement designed exclusively for us, this is not mass production. We nurture a profound respect for our clients. I’m not saying our watches have to appeal to everyone, but observers within the community and collectors have realised that we have our own identity, and that Mecchaniche Veloci makes high-quality watches. As I’m an Italian outsider, and the watch with its distinctive design isn’t immediately accessible, it does take some time to overcome certain obstacles. Let’s take the example of our strap buckle. It’s made in Geneva, and it costs ten times as much as it would from Asian suppliers, but it is robust and very high quality. What we do, we do well. We have just twenty or so references, priced between CHF 8,200 and 75,000, including a tourbillon, and we have a long-term strategy. This message is starting to get through.

What is on your agenda for this year?
We’re not in a hurry, but we’re going to focus on our commercial strategies. There is still great potential due to the fact that we have a very small number of retailers in each country. We’re hoping to open some points of sale in Switzerland. Our primary market is Japan, where we have around ten retailers, and this year we’re going to expand distribution there. This year is also the first time we’ve entered the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, so that will be an interesting test! We’ve entered the QuatroValvole Nardi, a limited series of 50 pieces dedicated to the Italian manufacturer of wooden steering wheels, which has been very successful commercially. The partnership celebrates their 90th anniversary, and tells the story of Mr Nardi, a pioneer who worked with the greatest drivers and car manufacturers. We’ve borrowed the aesthetic codes of the famous wooden steering wheel, which you can see in the guillochage on the dial, and the caseband. 

Interview with CEO Cesare Cerrito

Cesare Cerrito © Meccaniche Veloci

What defines a typical client of Meccaniche Veloci?
He has already bought into what I call “industrial luxury”; he owns several watches made by the obligatory big brands, and now he’s looking for something more than external luxury. He wants something that appeals to him personally, from a small, very high-quality independent brand that’s less well-known, where the luxury component delivered by the big brands’ marketing campaigns has been replaced by rarity and a desire for quality. Our clients are not necessarily motor sport enthusiasts, because the piston DNA doesn’t speak to everyone; it simply gives us an aesthetic code; but they do like things that are a bit different and unconventional. Meccaniche Veloci is the freedom to wear a watch in the shape of a piston, without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

This freedom was recently seen on the sails of a yacht...
Yes, and we won the ORC regatta in the amateur category! At the ORC World Championships in Croatia at the beginning of June, we sailed under the colours of the Parma Yacht Club on board WB Seven, an X-Yacht 44, a high-performance racing/cruising sailing boat belonging to Gianclaudio Bassetti. We share the same Italian attitude to life, and I love sailing. It was about shared values and a shared vision, and a desire to take pleasure in the finer things of life, without any commercial aspect. He wanted our watches on his sails. The boat was skippered by Mauro Pelaschier, a great sailor who participated in the America’s Cup with Team Azzurra. It was an amazing experience.

How do you feed the inspiration of such a strong and distinctive design, so that it can evolve without losing its DNA?
We’re working on a smaller, thinner watch, still with an in-house calibre. The piston DNA is still there, but with central hours, minutes and seconds, and the four different indications on the counters, such as a power reserve, chrono or GMT. But you’ll have to wait till 2020 to find out more.

 

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