Meccaniche Veloci: The Best Of Italian Design And Swiss Watchmaking
Italian design is renowned worldwide as is Swiss watchmaking. Having a passion for both, Cesare Cerrito, CEO of Meccaniche Veloci, has developed a unique character for his independent brand. Today, we dive into his universe with strong human values.
Meccaniche Veloci has existed since 2006, but since its recovery by the dashing Cesare, it is now in full swing thanks to very Italian design that is very different and very powerful. This lover of life has breathed new energy, authenticity, and relevance to the brand. Meccaniche Veloci is now like him: joyful with a strong Italian accent and just about as serious as Swiss mechanical watchmaking can be.
The Meccaniche Veloci Universe
When one enters the premises of Meccaniche Veloci in Plan-les-Ouates, right in the heart of one of the major centers of Swiss watchmaking, you will notice two things: first, there are cars, motorcycles, and it smells like a mechanics workshop; second, the atmosphere is laid back with music, comfortable sofas, but studious. It is the advantage of being independent. Meccaniche Veloci creates an environment that represents them.
What prompted this former financier to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure of independent watchmaking? Cesare answers directly, "First of all, I was a customer of the brand. I have been passionate about cars and watches for a very long time. I find the unique design with its piston-shaped case like no other. I love the timepieces of character that tell a true story. I saw the incredible potential to develop a really different brand. I bought it back in 2015 for the challenge, with the fierce desire to reposition it where it deserves it: in the world of independent fine watchmaking. This is today done. But this is only the beginning.” Indeed, since Cesare took over the brand, it has changed dramatically.
And the hyperactive CEO was right, it has indisputable advantages. First of all, a unique visual, recognizable among all, never leaves indifference. Whether you like it or not it’s a question of personal taste. He confirms, "Design challenges, makes people talk. This allows to exchange and to discover the story behind the brand. 100% Italian design. The immediate reference to the automobile with the piston-shaped case and the dials recalling the counters of racing cars.”
But Meccaniche Veloci does not forget the Swiss watchmaking tradition. It has developed its proprietary caliber, 100% Swiss Made, in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The young house even offers a Passport to guarantee the provenance of all its components. Transparency is essential nowadays. All of these strengths address the challenges of existing in this highly competitive world.
What is his biggest challenge today? With his characteristic honesty, Cesare admits, "The biggest challenge is to be visible in the midst of many brands and win the watchmaking legitimacy that recognizes the work we have been doing for four years. The quality of our products and the passion that inspires us are our best assets. We do not do marketing. We tell our true story. We must also break the resistance.” Their message is clear.
The 49mm case can impress. You have to take the plunge and try it to tame it and realize that the worn is surprisingly impeccable. The curved bottom comes naturally on the wrist. The absence of horns allows it to integrate the bracelet directly. Meccaniche Veloci has also developed a special aluminum insert from the aerospace industry to achieve this perfect ergonomy.
But, Cesare is right: we can only realize that if we look at the product if we see it and try it. This is the biggest challenge of the brand. Once the first step is taken, we discover an amazing timepiece, different, tempered character and never before seen in watchmaking. Meccaniche Veloci watches carry a strong message that is an integral part of the process.
In a world where everything grows to comply with external mandates, the most Italian of Swiss brands claims the choice to be different. As the CEO explains, "Wearing one of our timepieces means unleashing true diversity, breaking compliance, taking full responsibility while respecting others and their choices. It is not the watch that makes the person but the person who affirms his character by his choice."
"That's the heart of our message: freedom and respect! The freedom to go after our ideas in terms of creativity and design. And the respect we also bring to our customers by the quality we put in our watches. And I mix with everything, even the technical part! I am a madman of detail. All the dials are drawn by us and I leave nothing to chance in their creation.”
This statement is confirmed as soon as we look closer at the watches. For example, the Quattrovalvole Nardi - limited to 50 pieces - presented at Baselworld this year. Its titanium case features a mahogany insert like the original Nardi frills. The blue color chosen on the dial is exactly a Nardi blue. The guilloché on the silver dial is a faithful reproduction of that of the Nardi ruffles of the time.
Even the topstitching and the holes of the bracelet take up the classic elements of the mythical brand. In the same way at the level of the movement, we notice the traditional horological finishes such as chamfering and a complete perlage that we can view through the oscillating weight gear wheel – the brand’s signature. This is what Cesare means by "respect" that of history and of the end customer.
A clientele of assertive enthusiasts
It is obvious that Meccaniche Veloci's customers have gone beyond the luxury consumption stage. Cesare prefers to talk about "high-end" rather than luxury because for him "the term is so overused that it has lost its original meaning." He adds: "My clients are looking for the quality of the product, the materials and the authenticity of the story. A third of my clients are from Japan, a country where attention to quality and detail is paramount. My clients also like originality with a touch of humor.
"The indications "Italia design" at 12 o'clock and "Swiss Made" at 6 o'clock speak to them on these two levels. They are people for whom the object is at the service of the joy that lives in them and not the other way round. Once they understand the brand, they often come to me to discover how we can do unique things together."
It is within the Bespoke Workshop of Meccaniche Veloci that the process succeeds. Customers can then enter into a joyous creative exchange that gives meaning to the passion of the brand's leader. They play with the functions of the four dials, with the materials, the colors. "The unique pieces that come out are totally in their images, as an affirmation of themselves," said Cesare with a broad smile.
This frank and authentic vision of his job is a pleasure to see. Meccaniche Veloci is a brand that promotes its Italian origins, its 100% Swiss Made quality and above all its human values. Three essential pillars in the world of independent watchmaking where the brand earns a little more each day its stripes of legitimacy.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)