After fifty years in the business and with four family-owned stores, there can be no doubting that Lionel Meylan is serious about watches. The man or the brand? Both. It’s a passion he shares with his two sons, now at the head of the business which their father established in 1990 (appropriately enough on August 1st, Switzerland’s National Day). Despite their responsibilities, there’s never any talk of “Chief Executive” or “Managing Director”. It’s just Yannick, the eldest, and Julien, his younger brother. The Meylan story crosses time and generations.
Originating in Vallée de Joux, a region synonymous with the finest watchmaking, the Meylans live and breathe watches. Watchmaking isn’t Lionel Meylan’s job; it’s his vocation. A restorer of antique clocks, he had his sights set further, beyond his home town. The Meylans have their roots in the valley, mainly in Le Lieu and Le Chenit. As the centuries passed, a taste for adventure took the family further afield, to Geneva but also to Vevey where, in 1990, Lionel Meylan opened his first store. This perhaps wasn’t the most obvious choice of location, but nor was this an ordinary watch shop. Lionel Meylan was an independent watchmaker, eager to share his passion with friends, customers and the brands whose mechanisms he’d been restoring since first picking up his tools as a young student learning his trade.
Even then, Lionel Meylan had his sights set higher - he’s also a seasoned pilot - and decided to expand his business. He opened a second store, also in Vevey. Then two more, in Lausanne.
Too much for one man? Yes... but anyone who meets Lionel Meylan is won over by his solid experience; not least his two sons, Yannick and Julien. Having grown up listening to the tick-tock of an escapement or the chimes of a minute repeater, the brothers were now making their own way in life, studying watchmaking and management. It followed naturally that they should take over at the head of the family business.
Watchmaking isn’t the only passion that father and sons share. Anyone who has visited Vallée de Joux knows that this is an area of extraordinary natural beauty, including from above. The Meylans will happily take the commands of just about anything that will fly, from airplanes to helicopters or parachutes. Should you ever stop by one of the Lionel Meylan stores in Vevey or Lausanne and there’s a “Closed” sign on the door, look up. Chances are there’ll be a Meylan right above your head...
+ Read the rest