|Technical drawings (C) Michlmayr|
On an unassuming light-industrial estate on the outskirts of Norwich sits the headquarters, showroom and workshops of the Meridian Watch Company. The purpose-built facility was actually assembled around a huge, ten-ton safe (purchased from eBay, no less) that sits squarely in the centre of Meridian's small office. Meridian employs about a dozen employees in the UK, many of whom multi-task, working on watch and clock repairs for co-founder Simon Michlmayr's other business. Fans of external / public clocks may already be aware of Simon's work, both in Norwich and elsewhere; Simon himself is a WOSTEP-trained BHI-member and second generation clock and watchmaker. Meridian's other co-founder is Richard Baldwin, CEO of Arcadia, with links to Bunter and Fleurier. Richard is a keen collector, who has been dedicated to the industry for almost twenty years; he's a fantastic foil to Simon's technical brain - a Waldorf to his Statler, or is that Statler to his Waldorf?
|A sample of prototype Meridian watches|
|The Meridian watch box in white oak|
|A prototype 100 Hour version of the Meridian Prime|
It's wonderful to see a company like Meridian having a go at such things. The Unitas movement that drives the Prime is but one of many fires that are currently in the fire: while I was there, I saw a hand-cut differential being assembled for the forthcoming 100-hour Power Reserve model (results show an average of 103-108 hours), as well as an automatic movement on a test bed. There's a glass caseback in the works (see above) and plans for a variety of dial designs, layouts and even a truly in-house movement. It's wonderfully ambitious - a property that Meridian appear to have in spades. But how about the watch itself? I'll get to that in the next part of the story.