Meccaniche Veloci The Italian way to Swiss tradition
A portrait of a brand whose engine is again coming up to full steam.
When talking today about Meccaniche watches, everyone’s mind immediately goes to Meccaniche Veloci timepieces, visualizing its iconic dial with four symmetric circles on the top, seen on the wrist of many celebrities over the years, of which Cristiano Ronaldo is probably one of the most known.
Meccaniche Veloci was founded in 2006 by Italian watch designer Marco Colombo. His other passion – engines – is what laid the foundations for the development of the brand. Rather than teaming up from the outset with a specific domain, such as cars or motorbikes, the founder sought his inspiration from the naked mechanics that burned hydrocarbons and made noise.
This is immediately recognizable in the case design that is used throughout the collection, which is based on the pistons found inside every internal combustion engine, as well as the four valves commonly found in internal combustion engines. With this unique case design, which was perfectly round without any lugs, came a dial that was equally distinctive, since it had four individual subdials, each powered by a separate mechanical movement and therefore each configurable for a separate time zone. This means that even the minutes could be set differently for each of the four dials.
Icon GranTurismo © Meccaniche Veloci
Unusual case materials used in the very first models came from partnerships with some of the most renowned Italian automotive suppliers. The most resistant aluminium alloy Ergal (a commercial name for 7075 aluminium alloy) was supplied by Dellorto, most famous for its carburettors, while the world’s first watch with a carbo-ceramic case resulted from a partnership with brake manufacturer Brembo. The cases were cut directly from Brembo’s carbo-ceramic brake discs, which were used for the first time on the Ferrari Enzo.
In 2009 an Italian jewellery house acquired a majority interest in Meccaniche Veloci and took over the company some year later. The collection quickly mushroomed to 600 different references and, while the core design elements of the case were maintained, the collection grew with a lot of variations of colours and materials. Meccaniche Veloci diluted its unique appeal.
Icon NiteLite © Meccaniche Veloci
Luckily, the brand was acquired in 2015 by Swiss-Italian entrepreneur Cesare Cerrito, who quickly set about restoring its distinctiveness and moved it to the heart of the Swiss watch industry in Plan-les-Ouates, on the outskirts of Geneva, renaming the watchmaking company Meccaniche Veloci - Genève..
More significantly, the new owner set about developing an in-house mechanical movement to replace the four independent ETA calibres. The MV8802 now serves as the base calibre for all Meccaniche Veloci watches, covering a price range that starts at 6,900 Swiss francs and rises to 75,000 Swiss francs for a tourbillon in an 18-carat gold case. The entire collection has been streamlined and now consists of two lines. The Icon has four windows in a closed upper case, while the QuattroValvole has a more open architecture but keeps the iconic arrangement of four subdials.
QuattroValvole Tourbillon © Meccaniche Veloci
Meccaniche Veloci is also equipped to satisfy the needs of those looking for different levels of personalization. A cut-out nose cone from an old Ferrari Formula 1 car at MV House is testament to the originality of some of the brand’s creations (in this case it was used not for cases but for the watch dials). The company is even happy to design and produce genuinely bespoke timepieces that are made to order for a single customer.
As a company that openly flaunts its Italian design and inspiration, Meccaniche Veloci also attaches great importance to the origin of all components in its timepieces. Every owner receives a “watch passport” with their watch, signed by Cesare Cerrito, that attests that every single component in the watch – whether it’s the case, the movement, the dial, hands or strap – is of Swiss origin, putting forward their great attention to quality, which together with the limited quantities produced every year, aim to set a new threshold for this relatively young independent contemporary watchmaker.
A brand born from the passion of engines and speed in the design capital of Milan now produces high-end watches in GenevaFind out more >
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