A few months ago, we introduced to you a new luxury brand with a simple but highly enjoyable design and an interesting horological content: Alexandre Meerson. By only looking at the press photos and reading the press release, we found that both the story was highly captivating and that the timepieces were not denied of elegance. However, nothing is better than a try and all the photos, as good as they can be, will never replace the experience of having the watch strapped on the wrist. That’s why we get our hands on all the collection: the Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere & Altitude Officier.
The two collections – Altitude Premiere & Altitude Officier – share several similarities, among which is the design of the case. It is composed of a totally round central part and of two lug modules, with an Art-Deco twist, that hold the strap. The integration of such modules in a modern watch is not that common and, most of the time, the previous attempts led to an obsolete, baroque look. In the case of the Alexandre Meerson watches, it only brings a delicate touch of vintage feeling but remains extremely contemporary and clean. The cases are available in a choice of grade 5 titanium – the only titanium alloy that allows a mirror polished finish – or 18k pink gold.
The second choice offered to the future owner is the colour of the dial: a bright silvery tone of a more modern dark grey ‘graphite’. The colour of the dial is not the only option possible in order to personalize your Alexandre Meerson watch, as you’ll also be able to choose your strap from a vast selection of leathers, including Alligator, Berania, Sting Ray or Salmon leather – of course in various colours.
If these options are not enough for you, no worries as the most interesting choice comes with the movement. The two collections – Altitude Premiere & Altitude Officier – are fitted with a single but interesting base movement, coming from the renown Vaucher manufacture – that also provide movements for Parmigiani Fleurier, Hermes and Richard Mille. However, you’ll have the option of three displays: time-only, time + small second and time + date. The Calibre AM-4808 is a modern self-winding movement, beating at 4Hz (28,800 bph) and offering 50 hours of power reserve. The finish is clean and pleasant, with Geneva Stripes on the bridges, circular graining on the main plate, polished bevelled angles and polished screw heads.
Vaucher is actually a very reputed manufacture that can be trusted, both for the reliability and the beauty of their movements. For once, we’re in front of a new brand that is not relying on a simple ETA (or clone) movement and playing on the design only. The concept of Alexandre Meerson is clearly to introduce a high-end brand, including nice touches on the design, the finish and the movement. The only regret concerning this movement does not come from its finish or functionalities but more from its decoration that is a bit shy. More personalization could have been welcome.
The Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere
The first watch of the collection is purely a dress, elegant and discreet watch. The Altitude Premiere features a clean and refined dial, with 11 applied baton indexes and a single Arabic numeral at 12, with an original Art-Deco font. This detail brings the right amount of eccentricity to break the possible stiffness of such an empty dial without troubling the elegance and discretion. The hands are shaped into glaives and faceted. As seen above, the dial is available with only 2 hands, with an additional sub-dial at 6 (circled and slightly grained with a concentric pattern) or with a date window at 6 (circled too).
The Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier
The other collection intelligently brings a more casual look by only changing the indexes and adding a minute track on the dial. The Altitude Officier comes with 12 sporty yet elegant applied indices shaped into Breguet numerals. The hands are also different with a more simple baton shape. Just like the Altitude Premiere, it is available in titanium and 18k pink gold, with a silver or graphite dial and in a choice of 3 displays (time-only, small second or date). However we do feel that this titanium small second with grey dial is the best combo available, with a just the right dosage of vintage military touch. It remains more a dress watch than a sports timepiece but it will be more easy to associate the Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier with a weekend outfit.
Quality and comfort on the wrist
We knew about the elegance before handling the collections but what surprised us when strapping the Alexandre Meerson Altitude – Premiere or Officier – is the quality of the construction and the finishing details. For a first range of watches, it brings a superb quality and a real high-end feeling. In order to have a comparison, we can say that the influence of the Vaucher Manufacture is not only visible in the movements but also on the cases and dials, as we’re close to the Parmigiani Fleurier level – and that’s a real compliment here. The case is extremely clean, the polishing doesn’t call any criticism and the assembly is really precise. Several details such as the circled date or the finely engraved crown are definitely proving that we’re in front of serious watchmaking.
Once strapped, the Alexandre Meerson Altitude is comfortable and well proportioned. The 41mm of the case allows a nice presence on the wrist without being oversized and the protruding shape of the lugs is never an issue. The use of titanium is of course participating to the comfort, due to a reduced weight compared to stainless steel. The gold editions are certainly heavier but barely noticeably so. The watch is thin – 8.59mm – and thus it can easily fit under a cuff for more discretion.
For a first try on his own – he worked for various LVMH and Richemont Group brands and comes from a watchmaking family – Alexandre Meerson brings a totally achieved collection, with a superb quality, an original and unique design, an interesting horological content and the right amount of exclusivity. The Altitude Premiere & Altitude Officier look great and feel great. They are very well finished, comfortable, pleasant to look at and to wear. The main issue with such a first attempt comes in two questions: got some more and what’s next?
These watches are part of an inaugural collection that is limited to 249 pieces. More details on the official website of Alexandre Meerson.
Prices (in GBP) for the Altitude Premiere
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere Time-Only titanium: £6.200
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere Time-Only gold: £16.800
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere small second titanium: £6.900
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere small second gold: £17.300
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere date titanium: £7.700
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Premiere date gold: £17.800
Prices (in GBP) for the Altitude Officier
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier Time-Only titanium: £7.900
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier Time-Only gold: £18.500
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier small second titanium: £8.600
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier small second gold: £19.200
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier date titanium: £9.300
- Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier date gold: £19.900