By Steve Huyton
My first experience of Meccaniche Veloci occurred several years ago when I visited a high-end boutique at Singapore Airport. I vividly remember seeing many of the brand’s QuattroValvole models and being mesmerized by the bold aesthetic. These distinctive watches have four different time zones and are unlike anything else on the market.
At that stage, the company was owned by the Italian jewelry group Cielo Venezia, which had previously bought the brand from Marco Colombo. He was the visionary who originally designed the concept for the QuattroValvole, a particular four-time-zone model that was inspired by the four-phase engine pistons of Ferrari racing cars.
Even though Meccaniche Veloci showed enormous potential, it was never realized under the control of Cielo Venezia. For example, the brand was oblivious that high-profile celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo who actually purchased their watches. In a world dominated by brand ambassadors, this type of oversight seems inconceivable.
Fortunately, Swiss entrepreneur Cesare Cerrito could see huge potential in Mecchaniche Veloci and subsequently bought the brand in 2015. At this point, he also shifted the operation from Milan to Geneva to utilize the latest Swiss watchmaking technology. Now the headquarters (called MV House) is located in a trendy warehouse located in Plan-Les-Ouates.
I discovered Meccaniche Veloci’s boutique during the 2015 Baselworld and was intrigued to view their new releases. Previously, I had contacted the brand numerous times without much success. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover Cesare Cerrito had acquired the brand. He was very charming and was keen to show me some exclusive pieces. My favorite was the collaboration they had done with Italian helmet manufacturer Suomy.
When Cerrito first purchased Meccaniche Veloci, the most expensive models in the range were capped at around $5,000. The only real exception was the phenomenal QuattroValvole CCM (Carbon Ceramic), which was die cut from a Brembo brake disc. This is still one of my personal favorite watches.
Issues & In-House
Even though the concept of having a watch with four independent movements was very cool, it also came with issues. In my experience, some of the mechanisms lagged and then there was the inconvenience of servicing four Swiss ETA 2671 movements.
Fortunately, Cerrito had ambitious plans for the brand, and this involved creating a new proprietary single movement to replace the individual calibers.
After three fastidious years of extensive research and development, the company finally unveiled its first in-house caliber, an automatic model called the MV8802 that powers each separate display.
The Caliber MV8802 marked a new chapter for the brand. Even though Cerrito hasn’t got any formal design qualifications, he makes up for it with passion and enthusiasm. Under his guidance, Meccaniche Veloci has adopted a completely different marketing strategy.
The timepieces are now far more exclusive and crafted entirely in Switzerland in small batches. Now there are predominantly two collections: the Icon and QuattroValvole. The Icon models feature four separate dials with four separate anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The QuattroValvole models feature a single dial with one large anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Highlights include models like the Damascus, NiteLite Japan Edition, MoneyMaker, Mud and Nardi Edition. There are also a couple of extravagant tourbillon models with solid 18-karat pink gold cases.
Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews