Watchmaker's celebrity approach proves a timely move
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Despite boasting a heritage steeped in traditional Swiss watchmaking, East Devon-based Olivier Meylan is very much keeping it local.
The company was launched just 10 months ago as the Covid pandemic gripped the country.
Undeterred by the challenges the restrictions created, founder David Meylan forged ahead with his vision of selling unique, stylish and affordable quality timepieces and competing against some of the biggest brands in the business.
His unique approach has seen him collaborate with local rugby star Jack Nowell, Teignmouth artist Laura Wall and Exeter-born celebrity chef Michael Caines.
In 1995 David returned to Exmouth with his parents and older brother having spent eight years living in Switzerland.
This was not only a place he called home but also a country where his grandfather, Alfred Meylan was born.
Alfred lived and studied the art of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux, starting with an apprenticeship at Jaeger-LeCoultre and later being approached by Smiths in the UK.
David said: “As a child my father would take me to visit all of the leading manufacturers of luxury watches in the Vallée de Joux. This was the spark that ignited my life-long fascination and passion for watches.
“Watches have always been in my blood. The Meylans have married into the Audemars, LeCoultre and Piguet families, a family connection first established in 1620.”
That legacy has survived to this day and became even more poignant when David’s first son, Olivier, was born in 2016.
He said: “His arrival fuelled my desire to launch my own watch brand, named after him and celebrate the history we both share.”
However, despite his roots being 775 miles away, David, who now lives near Rockbeare, was keen to acknowledge the place he now calls home.
Last year, he teamed up with Jack Nowell to design and manufacture a limited edition chronograph watch, which features his trademark shirt number 14. Each model is also signed and numbered.
Another collaboration resulted in a watch designed by multi-award winning artist Laura Wall who has an art gallery and studio in Teignmouth.
Laura’s iconic clouds and seagulls are a core part of every piece of art including her Olivier Meylan timepiece.
Meanwhile, TV chef Michael Caines was so taken by David’s watches that they are on sale among a select range of items at his luxury boutique hotel Lympstone Manor.