In 2006, the luxury watch industry witnessed the rebirth of a Swiss legendary watch brand, Mermod Freres.
The MERMOD family is one of the oldest of Sainte-Croix, a small village in the Jura mountains, in Switzerland. The inhabitants of Sainte-Croix have always shared their time between farming and working at the workbench. They have worked both in watchmaking and mechanical music, two mechanical arts that have common roots in Sainte-Croix.
To restore Sainte-Croix the status of major actor as it was at the end of the 19th century, in the field of the mechanical watch-making.
To rediscover MERMOD FRERES noble pedigree, a brand that marked the industry in the past, because of its international renown, the quality of its products, its unequalled avant-gardism.
To position MERMOD FRERES on the market of luxury watches with complications implementing a selective approach and an original product offer : a musical mechanical watch.
To merge two know-how : watch-making & mechanical music that have common roots and origins.
To generate a “cataclysm” in the market of luxury watches by launching a revolutionary product that will liven up the traditional circle of watchmakers.
To drive through the product and communication tools a guideline that belongs to MERMOD FRERES DNA : MUSIC
A HARP belongs to their family coat of arms. Music was already a key element in this family. The BLUE AZUR symbolizes the sky, beauty, nobility, and love. From centuries they were seduced by beautiful and noble items. The SIREN and sea symbolize expeditions and travels. At that time, passion for trips was already in their genes.
1816 : THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MERMOD FRERES
Family archives attest that MERMOD family’s members did commercial trips to Geneva at the end of the 17th century to sell their watches. Minute Repeater and pocket watches with complications, MERMOD watches were deeply appreciated for the quality of their movement and finishes.
In 1816 the four sons of Louis MERMOD – watchmaker – took up the torch with the name MERMOD FRERES (Mermod Brothers) in Sainte-Croix. As former apprentices of Geneva’s master watchmakers, the 4 brothers brought back their know-how to the village they originated from. In 1883 they founded in Sainte-Croix a MERMOD FRERES counter.
During 19th century, MERMOD FRERES became one of the most famous watch family business in the very exclusive field of Swiss watch-making. They were strongly present in Vienna, that had an exceptional international influence. It opened the doors of Central and Eastern Europe for MERMOD FRERES who did huge business in these regions. New York, the most lively city of the New World, hosted a MERMOD retailer.
MERMOD FRERES was one of the most awarded brands in the Swiss mechanical watch industry. MERMOD FRERES took part in many Universal Exhibitions like Paris 1855, Anvers 1885, Chicago 1893 and won 27 gold medals.
MUSIC, THE HEART OF MERMOD FRERES
MERMOD FRERES’s watch-making know-how was at the highest level when the family business was extended to mechanical music. MERMOD FRERES became a distinguished music box manufacturer of Sainte-Croix, producing outstanding prestigious pieces. Musical richness and technical watch-making know-how merged.
Music became the beating heart of MERMOD FRERES. MERMOD FRERES had an excellent watch-making and mechanical music business when the Crisis of 1929 ended their activities in this product segment. The sleeping beauty kept asleep for some 80 years (1927-2007).
In 2006, under the impetus of Reuge, the brand MERMOD FRERES has been revived and presented at BaselWorld 2007 as a concept. In 2008, the first finished watches have been presented and instantly sold. The Primo 4 by Mermod Freresis the only mechanical watch with a musical function that provides 4 tunes on 4 separate musical discs.
The legendary brand from Sainte-Croix, MERMOD FRERES, which is now owned by the renowned manufacturer of music boxes and singing birds, REUGE, presents an exceptional timepiece on the market: the Primo 4.
This mechanical watch – which was initially presented as a sneak preview at the 2007 Baselworld trade fair, before being finalized and officially launched at Baselworld 2008 – features an integrated music player.
It has been released as a limited edition series of 50 timepieces produced in each shade of gold, i.e., white, pink and yellow. The mechanical watch and musical movements equipping the Primo 4 contain no less than a total of 577 components and 34 rubies. The watch movement vibrates at 28,800 v.p.h. and has a power reserve of 40 hours.
The musical movement, which took fours years to develop, plays four different melodies that can be customised according to the specific wishes of each client. The music player is integrated into four separate mini-disks positioned on the cardinal points and functions following the principles of a juke-box. Simply press the push-button situated at 8 o’clock to start the player, which turns the disks towards the note comb. This action may be repeated as often as desired.
One of the major challenges of the Primo 4’s creation lay in achieving perfect acoustic quality. Research was thus carried out on the bridges and plates, as well as on the double-lined base of the case that was designed to act as a sound box. The same is true of the double-lined base in sapphire crystal, which required twelve months of development work before it transmitted the sound vibrations flawlessly.
Several patent and licensing applications have been filed for this unique and exceptional piece. The result lives up to all expectations: a watch that is as remarkable as it is original, intended for music lovers and connoisseurs of exceptional timepieces.
For years, the innovations of the watch industry showed often variants on the theme of “minute-repeater”, “tourbillon”, etc, or on association of unusual and unexpected materials. MERMOD FRERES get off the common steps to take up again with the pride, the creativity and the know-how of the Swiss watch industry and presents a world novelty in the watchmaker’s tradition : Primo 4, a musical wristwatch with four discs. Primo 4 watch is exclusive, as for complexity of the movement is unique.
This watch is dedicated to an elitist clientèle, lovers of “mechanical watches & music”. « Cultivate one’s rarity », such is the launch strategy of Primo 4. MERMOD FRERES brand essence is reborn through Primo 4, as this exclusive watch has been build up on strong brand codes from the past : the passion for mechanical items, the omnipresence of the music, the iconic MERMOD bird.
The development of this complex movement required 4 years of research, analysis and tests, mainly regarding acoustic & resonance constraints, which are key features for a musical movement.
Development and manufacturing of this unique MF-101 movement have been done with in-depth partners who are specialized in watch-making micro-mechanic and mechanical music. Only very few craftsmen from Sainte-Croix master both know-how. This new revolutionary process has been developed through several patents.
Primo 4 offers to its happy owner to play four different tunes represented by four individual discs, visible on the dial. The tunes of the Primo 4 are :“FAMOUS CLASSICS ”The Magic Flute (W. A. Mozart), Canon (J. Pachelbel), Danse Hongroise (J. Brahms) and The For Seasons – Spring (A.Vivaldi). However, the owner may choose to order any tune he wishes.
This fantastic caliber is composed of 577 parts, developed, manufactured and assembled by hand, in Sainte-Croix. High frequency : the heart of MF-101 beats at 28’800 vibrations per hour. Some 34 jewels protect the movement from friction risk of pinions and wheels. The speed-governor is done in maillechort, brass, hardened steel and gold in order to prevent mechanical frictions and vibrations. The comb, crafted in blued steel, has 10 teeth, each one representing a note, which offers a vast choice of melodies. Its power reserve is over 40 hours.
LUXURIOUS FINISHES AND DECORATIONS OF THE MOVEMENT
The hardened steel carrousel has a “polish mirror” finish. Bridges are chamfered by hand.The disc-support (which is the governing part of the music) has been cut out for technical reasons and treated in blue colour. All four discs will be decorated with luxurious finishing.
How It Works?
All 4 discs are fixed on a disc-support that rotates on a central axis on the caliber. The disc-support turns on its axis in order to move the requested disc at the appropriate place (above the comb). The disc that plays the requested music will get into position at 6 o’clock.
Step 1 : The disc-support will first move the disc from 3 to 5 o’clock.
Step 2 : A specific zone of the disc has no pins (a neutral zone). The disc itself rotates until the right positioning of the neutral zone (the objective is that when the disc is going to move to 6 o’clock it does not touch the comb and avoids damaging the disc or the comb).
Step 3 : The disc-support will move the disc from 5 to 6 o’clock.
Step 4 : Pins have been placed on the disc at defined places. By turning, the pins are in contact with the teeth of the comb. Teeth raise, vibrate and play the requested note, and the entire tune that lasts about 10 seconds.
Set the time by pushing at the same time the push button 1 and the crown A.Play the music by pushing the push button 2. The disc-support does ¼ turn in two steps and starts automatically to play the music. The playing disc is always situated at 6o’clock.
The crown (A) has only one position:-
Function 1: hand-wind the musical movement by turning the crown clockwise.
Function 2 : hand-wind the watch-making movement by turning the crown anticlockwise.
Model: Mermod Freres Primo 4 Music Wristwatch
18 carat yellow, pink or white gold
Diameter: 45.5 mm
Sapphire double-lined base
Mechanical watch movement
Frequency: 28,800 v.p.h.
Power reserve: approximately 40 hours
Hours and minutes
Set the time by pressing the push-button at 10 o’clock while rotating the crown.
Mechanical musical movement
Power reserve equal to approximately 4 melodies
Function: musical juke-box
Rotary disks support (360°) in polished white or polished PVD blue hardened steel both featuring a mirror effect
4 musical minidisks each with approximately 50 pins approximately 10 seconds of music per disk
Disk covers in blue, white, pink or yellow
Music played by pressing push-button situated at 8 o’clock
Disk player positioned at 6 o’clock.
Mechanical watch movement and mechanical musical movement
Swiss made – patented and licensed
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Single-position crown that winds musical movement when turned clockwise and the watch movement when turned anti-clockwise
The Magic Flute (W. A. Mozart)
– Canon (J. Pachelbel)
– Hungarian Dance (J. Brahms)
– The Four Seasons (A. Vivaldi)
Melodies may be customised according to the specific wishes of each client
Hands: hours and minutes hands in 18 carat yellow, pink or white gold or in blue-tinted 18 carat gold
Minutes circle designed to evoke the 5 lines of a musical stave
Each of the 12 hours is marked by a “musical pause” support
The dial remains in the background in order to highlight the beauty of the musical movement
In black, dark brown or midnight blue alligator skin with a pin buckle in 18 carat yellow, pink or white gold.
In order to fit with the product strategy which focuses on a selective approach, MERMOD FRERES Primo 4 is launched exclusively with 3 limited editions :
1 limited edition in yellow gold (50 pieces)
1 limited edition in rose gold (50 pieces)
1 limited edition in white gold (50 pieces)
A certificate of authenticity is given to each client mentioning the number in the limited edition. The back of the case watch is engraved with the same number.
A prestige gift box has been developed in macassar ebony. The shape is elegant and refined. A 36-note musical movement plays automatically a music each time the box is opened.
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