What is your background?

CEO of Thomas Mercer Chronometers, which is a brand manufacturing high-end precision clocks that ornament prestigious yachts and exclusive residences. As part of our positioning, and because it accords precisely with our raison d’ĂȘtre, we have a long and sustained history of close collaboration with both Interior Designers and Master Artisans from a whole spectrum of sectors, in order to ensure that when we conclude a joint project we can honestly declare that we have achieved the same standards in terms of style, beauty and craftsmanship as we would have in a non-collaborative endeavour.

A visual and mechanical feat, the mechanism of the Nautilus belongs to the exclusive family of astronomical movements, featuring a perpetual calendar which displays date of the day, month and leap year

When did you first learn of Marmor Hotavlje?

On an awareness level, we have always known about Marmor Hotavlje, – after all, which admirer of excellence and exclusivity hasn’t? Because of the sculptural masterworks achieved by the Renaissance geniuses such as Michelangelo, Italian stone was always at the forefront of the consciousness of the world. However, the reputation of Marmor Hotavlje is such that it has managed to overcome this competitive obstacle with effortless ease and grace, and take its place on the world stage.

And then?

Next, it was inevitable that we did some research into their immaculate international reputation, and viewed the fruits of their labours in photographic form online.
However, on a more intimate level, we then had the pleasure of discovering the world of Marmor Hotavlje in June 2018, during the party celebrating the 70th anniversary of its brand. The company tour organised for the guests was an inspiring experience and an opportunity to learn about the company from inside out. Managing a tour is not the easiest of challenges, and the way in which Marmor Hotavlje carried this out was truly proper and a full indication as regards the kind of company and people we were dealing with. The magic of its world, and the nuts-and-bolts technical side, were blended in a perfect mixture of emotion and fact. And of course, we got to meet some of the team face to face!

How did you come up with an idea to do the chronometers in stone?

At Thomas Mercer we love broadening our horizons and collaborations with leading craftsmen as they are the part of our identity. After having partnered with masters in the field of cabinet, leather and crystal making we knew we had to embrace stonemasonry. There is an essence in stone which conveys history and also permanence – in English, phrases like “Rock of Ages” and “Rock of Gibraltar” “set in stone” are metaphors for both – there are of course, parallels in other languages and cultures. Stone is in fact a perfect material from which to carve the body of a chronometer.

The streamlined yet physically imposing piece is the signature work of world-renowned Marmor Hotavlje, whose master stonemasons crafted this sculpture made of fine Azul Cielo marble and featuring painstakingly carved chambers

How did you decide Marmor Hotavlje was the go-to company for such a task?

Spending one day at Marmor Hotavlje, meeting the talented team and observing them in action was simply the spark to ignite the long-awaited moment.
What is remarkable for a company of such size is their attention in putting people first: one can clearly perceive that each individual embarks on a challenge while living it as a whole. And there is high degree of pride in their origins: everybody knows the Hotavlje heritage and strives to preserve it in its most exalted form. Furthermore, not only should we draw attention to their credo of putting people first: after having loved the human dimension of their world, we were literally blown away by their skills in crafting the complex objects on show during the tour.

What about any fears you might have had before the project?

Being established in 1721, and operating under the current name since 1948, Marmor Hotavlje needed no introduction. Whilst trusting their capabilities, what impressed us was their level of commitment which grew from step to step of the project. The stone body we specified along with Winch Design was undeniably of a quite complex shape and despite the fact that it was their very first ever horological sculpture, we never felt anything other than utterly at ease, because of both our belief in the team’s capacity to deliver a project, with the way in which they communicated with us throughout the whole process.

How was the customer support you received?

‘Can do attitude’ is definitely one of the most appreciated traits in a partner. At Marmor Hotavlje the team simply takes it to the next level: when meeting a technical challenge or discussing strict deadlines – and indeed there were many – “we will find the way to do it, one way or another” were the words we heard the most. And, after receiving said reassurance, another phrase was added, to underline their incomparable attitude – and I quote – “If it were easy, we would not be here”. Being proactive is important – but this was something beyond that, it was the way in which they were driven by the determination to succeed.

How was the quality of the product?

Superb, the sculpture was finished to perfection. We can confidently say that we were utterly and completely satisfied. No further words necessary.

And finally, the after service?

Although the product was already perfect in its own right, they left nothing to chance, nor any avenue unexplored. We were, all the same, painstakingly tracked by the team to make sure we were satisfied, which left us with the feeling that in the (highly improbable) event of our being in any way dissatisfied with any future collaborative work, we could trust 100% in matters being brought to a speedy and complete resolution.

Taking inspiration from the natural world, Andrew Winch and the design teams at Winch Design drew inspiration from the spiral of the Nautilus shell, owing to its elegant form which follows the golden ratio of the Fibonacci spiral. The sculpture has won an award in the Bespoke Cabinet category on the Yachting & Aviation Awards 2020

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