When friends of the family or clients are not around, the atelier in Tödistrasse can be a very quiet place. Enveloped by this silence, one begins to notice a quiet humming—that of diligent automatic movements performing a concert of sorts composed of hundreds of tiny instruments. In reality, however, it’s quite still. One can only hear it because one wants to hear something. The assembly and mounting of movements at the back of the atelier is the loudest thing one can hear, which is only as loud as the calibre currently being mounted. And we aren’t talking about the mounting of thousands or even hundreds of movements, but rather just one or two on a given day—sometimes maybe three.
This is not the case elsewhere in the watch industry. There, the background noise is only getting louder—much louder! The industry’s appetite for ever-greater numbers, for more sales channels and new markets—which makes this pursuit of quantity possible—is insatiable. All of sudden, everyone is trying to push their way to the front of the digital realm and dominate the internet. This combination has led to a democratisation of luxury, a trivialisation of luxury; one against which those ultimately responsible for it have to protect themselves.
More and more is produced and then with great effort restricted. The result: one variation of a watch is only available at a certain jeweller, another variation only at a select webshop, and again a further variation in one’s own webshop. In other words, one for this market, another for that, and so on. In the end, there are thousands upon thousands of more or less the same watch. The wearer thinks that they belong to a select few, when in reality they only belong to a deceived mainstream. Doesn’t this signal the degradation of watches to nothing more than expensive products of mass consumption? Is this still luxury, true luxury? Is this what the person who acquires a luxurious watch is really seeking?
If luxury is trivialised, if it is democratised, it loses something essential, that is, that which makes it true luxury. That’s why our family, those behind the Maurice de Mauriac brand, decides each day anew not to amplify this background noise. The atelier should remain a quiet place; one shouldn’t hear anything. Large quantities, on the other hand, are loud and banal.
Because we decide each and every single day for the quiet approach to the watch business, we don’t have to artificially limit any of our watches. They are already exclusive because we sell the few watches we create throughout the world and thus don’t have to orchestrate the truest form of luxury, exclusivity through limitation. This belongs to our understanding of luxury, which today is increasingly measured in terms of availability rather than price. While limited availability, i.e. small quantities, do indeed tend to command slightly higher prices, it also comes with the certainty that you are enjoying true luxury; a luxury you can share with a passionate few, rather than forced to share it with the—deceived and disappointed—many.
Ping—a sound we love! An order was just placed via our webshop—this time from America. Peace again returns to the atelier.
Suddenly, voices can be heard, and they are getting louder. People are laughing and shaking hands, longer than politeness expects, just outside the atelier. Familiar faces—sometimes clients come to our atelier just to meet others who also love wearing our timepieces and are passionate about Maurice de Mauriac. For them, an essential part of life is about enjoying the luxury of being one of the very few who love what is true.
Later, once everyone has departed, peace and calm descend—a true luxury.