We love what we do: mechanical watches
When Daniel was still a banker in New York, life was extremely fast-paced. As the saying goes ‘Time is money’. Then, the financial system crashed—but not Daniel! Instead, he turned away from money and toward time—a form of time spectacularly expressed through mechanical watches. For over 25 years now, the man from the East of Switzerland has been back in the New York of Switzerland—namely, Zurich. In 1997, he registered the brand Maurice de Mauriac. Since then he has been enjoying a slower-paced life devoted to the careful crafting of mechanical watches and selling them throughout the world. Time has again become money, but in a very different sense.
The heart of Maurice de Mauriac beats near the Paradeplatz in the atelier located in the Tödistrasse. One encounters Maurice de Mauriac always and everywhere as a personable, human and warm family business. In addition to Dreifuss, one might very well meet one or both of his sons, Massimo and Leonard, who have since assumed important roles in the atelier. His wife, Claudia Ginocchio, a painter, inspires just two doors down in her atelier. Masha, his daughter, provides Daniel with a constant stream of ideas and impulses with her unpretentious and unadulterated adolescent perspective.
Enjoying an espresso, a slice of olive bread or some other delicious indulgence, Daniel Dreifuss sits at his ‘Table University’ and feels, smells, and contemplates various material and production samples, critically examines newly produced watches, and reviews the hundreds of ideas running through his head. Again and again, he picks up his iPhone and fosters the contact to his customers, suppliers, service providers and the brand family. Daniel indeed takes these contacts very seriously; only he and his sons have the privilege of cultivating them. This has to do with the fact that Dreifuss is, among other things, a collector of personalities. He wants to feel what his extended family dreams about, what drives them, what moves them, what they know. From all of this, Daniel distils ideas for new watches and watch straps. He is constantly listening to the pulse of his digital family and loves to live and work to this same rhythm.
Dreifuss is a man surrounded by colour. He thinks in terms of colours, he structures colours, feels colours and even hears them. Where others just see something red, Dreifuss also hears and feels it. In the time it takes him to find the perfect colour of leather for a watch strap, to pick just the right colour watch hands, or to come upon the optimal harmony between the visual and tactile feel of a bronze alloy, others might have developed a new large complication for a movement. He’s a holistic maker of watches and not just a watchmaker. One can see it in his watches and feel it in the attention to detail.
If you ask Daniel Dreifuss why he is the way he is, and why he invests so much time and energy in such a high level of to attention to detail, the answer isn’t really surprising: He loves what he does. He also loves for whom he does it: his family. He also does it for the extended family and friends of the brand, because they are worth this effort. ‘My family is very closely tied to the Maurice de Mauriac brand, and we are all constantly engaged in a process of learning. In life, one can’t impart more than that to his or her family.’
As the day comes to a close, Daniel sees off his last client. Fastened to the client’s wrist by a very special watch strap is a one of a kind creation; it is a timepiece and a connection that will accompany him through life. The man’s face is beaming as he looks at his new Maurice de Mauriac. In the background, one hears the faint ping of another order placed on Daniel’s webshop—this time from somewhere in America. The extended family welcomes a new member! A peaceful mood descends on the Tödistrasse. Here, time isn’t just money, it’s also love.