La Grande Mer, [”The Great Sea”] is a celebration of our connection with the big blue.
Our first crafted timepiece collection is an offering to Mother Ocean. Her beauty and her energy call to us no matter how land-locked we find ourselves. No mountain range or establishment can drown her steady whisper. The sea is where our soul is drawn to.
Designed to maximize a life on the water, to be timeless in design, and to be unfailing; this watch is ready for adventure.
How the watch came to be is an adventure unto itself.
La Grande Mer watch concept was developed between friends who live [and work] to surf, dive, travel and explore anywhere they can.
As most ideas start, this one happened on a well-worn notepad that has been the source of at least a few good designs. Pages and pages later its form took shape well enough to bring it into a full and proper design process.
In collaboration with the amazing team at DQBD in Stuttgart, Germany, we refined our design and engineered it into a system of precision parts that can accept not only traditional watchmaking materials, but also our new, sacred materials & compounds that were emerging as a result of our adventures.
After a trip to Thailand where we collected Vintage Boats, we had gathered up enough great materials to offer our first, limited edition Swiss-made timepieces made from Vintage Fishing Boats.
We visited much of the coast of Thailand. The result of a proud fishing nation is an inevitable pile up of marine bronze. Within a few days we tapped into the supply and had enough to test out our plans for a watch case made from reclaimed bronze. That part turned out to be fun and kind of easy. The hard part was finding someone to help us reclaim it by melting it all down into new bars.
Thankfully our team managed to work with a local metalsmith who also has a flair for vintage (check the mustache on his apprentice >> ). The whole experience was like a performance art where old became new. The reclaimed alloy's shine in the sun brought us the confidence in what we might make from it.
Sea junk is everywhere. Lots of it starts out in a professional or industrial usage and ends up left behind for the local community and the ecosystem to suffer. Fishing nets are one of these materials. Its a pervasive mess that needs to be removed from the sea at all costs.
First we spoke with local harbormasters to organize a collection effort to collect nylon nets that would otherwise be clogging up the waterways. Our "Terrazo" concept goes like this:
- Reclaim plastic and polymer materials that otherwise would be jamming up the ecosystem.
- Using a jewelry grade bio-epoxy as a base, we immersed the nylon fishing net and molded them into sheet of terrazo material we can then precision cut into parts.
SeaGlass has a luxurious luster similar to fine crafted jade stone - our first of many custom terrazo materials created to elevate materials and make them reborn.
Reclaimed Wood From Vintage Boats:
Many who answer the call of the sea are also a fans of boats. We are celebrating a beautiful time in place where a fleet of vintage wooden boats is nearing the end of its days. By purchasing and dismantling these boats we are helping to solve an environmental issue, provide owners with relief of their cost burden and we are allowing sacred materials to become reborn into new finely crafted products.
This collection of crafted timepieces features links & dial veneers made from Vintage Boats. Each of our 500 pc limited collection comes in a "Japanese Bento Style" gift box made from the boats.
Swiss Movement and Manufacturing:
With a depth rating of 300m, La Grande Mer is equipped with a Ronda R150 automatic movement. It is also assembled in their factory in Stabio, Swizterland. Our custom bronze rotor was the final touch to make sure this little machine had enough radness under the hood. With 40 hours of power reserve and 25 jewels to keep the gears and springs running smooth, La Grande Mer is made to take anywhere.
With our materials harvested and our engineering in place, we slowly picked apart our initial prototypes to improve the design and bring balance to the watch.
We had to refine our process of making Our Bronze and SeaGlass to make it suitable for our design.
Some of our solutions came from high tech processes found in aircraft and race car fabrication and some came from the uber-craft of surfboard building that is legendary in our home base of San Diego, California.
Weeks and months on the water surfing, sailing, paddling and shooting photos helped us improve the performance and ensure our materials would hold up to the elements. Watching the live nature of Our Bronze change its patina given the weather and environmental elements was a very educational process.
Experiencing a global meltdown on the heels of launching a new product was an unwelcome event to say the least. It's crazy to think that when we first started sketching this watch, we would go through all the motions only to end up at launching in a pandemic.
With our global outlook strained by borders closing and economic decline we had strong headwinds to swim against. The idea that no one would be able to go anywhere was so out of common thought until it came into reality almost overnight.
Rather than let that get us down, it really became the focus to push on through. We had come this far.
We needed this story to be told. The Great Sea Collection, 2020.
The story of La Grande Mer is a story of hope and proves to a world in the middle of an undeniable reality check that beautiful things can come from passed-over materials. It reminds us of the places out there worth keeping clean and the balance we need to be able to keep if we intend to enjoy the wonderful word of the Great Sea.
La Grande Mer Collection is available for pre-sale reservation 9/1/20 ~ 10/31/20 and is limited to 500 units across 4 unique color stories. This product ships global from Carlsbad, California.