Mr. Kunal Patel is a seasoned entrepreneur and watch lover. Having studied at UCL in London, his first successful venture was in real estate management some years ago. He he is currently Chairman of LATEP Holdings whose interests and investments span across financial services, retail, security, technology and real estate. He also happens to wear a gold Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier, which probably tells a lot about a refined personality.
Let’s give you some background on the man behind Alexandre Meerson the brand. Mr. Alexandre Meerson was raised in France, where he was introduced to watchmaking during his travels between the family’s studio in Paris and their workshop in Besançon. It wasn’t until 2007 that Alexandre took the helm and started developing the next chapter in the Meerson story.
Now a bit about his watches. All of his timepieces are made of precious materials, manufactured in limited numbers (pieces also available by special order) and designed entirely in-house at the brand’s country estate British headquarters in the Surrey Hills, England.
The Altitude Officier that Kunal owns is an understated, elegance watch that transitions between urban casual environments to formal ones. The fine details such as the handcrafted numerals and ‘railroad track’ on the dial are attractive. Meerson watches use the AM-4708 and AM-4808 movements which were developed by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and Dubois Depraz in Switzerland. All the other components are manufactured by Swiss artisans. Now let’s find out why both the brand and the watch were too much to resist Kunal.
When did you first get into watches?
When I was young, my father was always into watches. Then I started to read and learn more about watches, especially around the mechanical parts, which grew my interest further.
What drew you to Alexandre Meerson as a brand?
The beauty and simplicity of the designs, and then the workmanship
Why is this watch so special to you?
It is a genuinely beautiful watch that I can wear everyday, with a suit or casually. Also the fact that its quite rare and understated. I am constantly seeing new things about the watch as a wear it more and more.
Why the Altitude Officier in gold?
For me it was the right balance between casual and smart. I originally wanted a titanium one, but then I saw the gold one in the flesh and I had to have it! For me, gold added more depth to the design.
Do you tend to buy watches over brands?
I tend to buy watches that I like form an aesthetic point of view and where the design and workmanship have genuine integrity.
Can you tell us more about the movement Kunal?
Vaucher manufactures the movement. I know they don’t work with new brands (to my knowledge). They are known for producing high quality movements for established brands. The fact they are making it for Meerson says a lot.
How much wrist time does it get?
At the moment a lot! Everyday almost!
What sort of day/event do you find yourself strapping it on?
I wear it to work and well as evening functions.
Do you ever consider what a watch says about you? and if so what do you think your Altitude Officier says about you?
I do think a watch says a lot about someone, especially a man because it tends to be the only piece of jewellery that a man wears. I think it says I enjoy beautiful things, not just branded items, it makes me feel like I have some sort of understated elegance!
What does the future hold for the Alexandre Meerson do you think?
I think the future is very bright for Meerson, the attention to detail that goes into the designs is incredible and something you can only really find out once you own one and wear it. There is definitely a lot of space in the market for something so beautiful, yet understated.
Do you seek advice of anyone before buying?
Only really from close friends and family, and always more on a superficial level. If I like something, I’ll get it.
What (if anything) have you got your eye on next?
An Alexandre Meerson D15! Not sure if I want black gold or titanium yet though…
What three words first come to mind when you think of your Alexandre Meerson Altitude Officier?
Beautiful, simple, understated.
Can a collector ever be fully satisfied with his/her collection?
I don’t think any collector is ever truly satisfied.
If a friend who wasn’t into watches asked for three reasons to start collecting what would you use to inspire them to get into watches?
The mechanical nature of them, the workmanship always fascinates me. The fact that we can build such intricate things still amazes me.
What piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a collection?
Buy what you like not what people tell you to or what you think you should. At the end of the day I believe you have to enjoy the watches for yourself.
When collecting do you think its important to stick to a brand or a category (Patek/IWC/Meerson or aviation/dive/dress?)
Is the Altitude Officier a keeper?
Definitely! I can imagine passing it on – it’s a watch that ages very well and has a relevance whatever current fashion trends are.