One of our readers and watch enthusiasts, Richard, went back from a small collection of watches to just one timepiece. In this story he tells you why he sold all of his other watches to have just one watch; the ochs und junior mese (note the lack of capitalization).
My ochs und junior mese has been my daily watch for more than a year now. Time to write down some words about this very personal watch and a very personal watch company.
It was somewhere in 2011 that I first came across watches from ochs und junior. I don’t know exactly where, but what I do know is the model I liked best: the settimana junior. On the one hand I liked the design and also its weekday complication. On the other hand it was the only ochs und junior watch I could afford at that time. I contacted Beat Weinmann, CEO of ochs und junior, if it would be possible to have a settimana for adults. That was the start of my journey into the world of ochs und junior that lead to my own mese model almost three years later.
Almost every day
Let’s talk about the watch first. My watch is a date watch, a ‘mese’ for insiders. I like that name better, but I was told that using the date function of the watch in the name gives a better search result in Google. For a company without physical shops, SEO is a crucial factor. The date function is one of the four available functions at the moment, next to the moon phase, annual calendar and two time zones. The way the date is displayed on the watch is both simple and brilliant. You have to see the dot moving from 31 to 1 at the end of the month to understand the beauty of this solution. From a critical point of view, one could say: it that all? But I think that it is one of the unique points of having one of Ludwig Oechslin’s inventions on your wrist.
Although I’ve always had a passion for watches, I am not a watch collector. Over a period of time, I noticed that I like watches that I can actually wear on a daily basis. A watch needs to be special for me, but not so special that it’s to delicate to wear. When I came across ochs und junior and learnt more about the company and their watches, I decided that at some point my only watch would be an ochs und junior. One watch to wear every day, on every occasion.
I have to admit that I am not living completely by that rule. As my mese has a leather strap, I will change it for a Swatch Scuba Libre when I go for a swim. Last year when I went camping with my family, I left the Mese at home. Perhaps next year, I will simply keep it on my wrist all days of the year, just changing the leather strap for a rubber one would do the trick during the holidays.
There were some moments in the journey that finally lead to my ochs und junior mese that are typical for the individual approach of the brand. As you probably know there are no physical shops or boutiques that sell these watches. You can buy them either online or make a trip to Luzern, to the ochs loft. But a few years ago buying a watch that you have never felt on your wrist seemed a step to far for me. I had the luck that the illustrator who made the images for the first ochs und junior website, Sjoerd van Rooijen, is a Dutchman living in Switzerland. After some e-mail traffic with him, I found out that his wife happened to own an ochs und junior settimana junior. He offered to drop off that watch at a friend in Holland that summer so I was able to try the watch in real life. After that I was even more determined that I wanted an ochs und junior watch.
I started to sell my other watches in order to make the purchase. Although I liked the settimana model very much (and still do), it only has a 36mm diameter. Due to the shape of the lugs, that means it wears very compact. As the watch had to be kind of ideal, I started to look at the other ochs und junior watches.
In December 2011, ochs und junior made a visit to The Netherlands. I finally had the opportunity to look at all the watches, including some prototypes. It was also the moment where the Tinta watches were introduced. It was the first step in the customisation process that gives you the opportunity to have a unique timepiece on your wrist. The combinations are endless. There is a great customizer tool now on the website, but when I bought my mese, I had to rely on the pictures on the website. I bought mine with a cyan blue dial and black hands. Bea Weinmann, Beats wife, made this beautiful picture before the watch was shipped to me.
I still think the ochs und junior mese is the nicest watch I ever had on my wrist. But I have to admit that I made a mistake in choosing the color. It would still have been blue if I had not noticed a minor scratch on the dial when I did some experiments with my macro lens. All the watches come with a lifetime warranty on the parts that are produced by the company itself. And the dial is one of them. So when I contacted Beat about the scratch, he asked e if I wanted a blue dial again, or another color. I was a bit overwhelmed by that question, but I spent the next two or three evenings on the couch with the configurator on my laptop. As I said, the possibilities are endless. Fortunately there are also some great images on the ochs und junior website to inspire you. I found out that I preferred some more contrast on the dial. I also wanted the hands a little lighter. The SuperLuminova will also work better with lighter colors.
I finally decided for a light grey dial, grey hands, an orange date dot and a grey leather strap.
My ochs und junior mese had to go back to Luzern. That gave me a great opportunity to visit the ochs loft. If you consider buying an ochs und junior, you should visit Luzern first I think, although the new configurator gives you a great impression of how your watch will look. But a visit to Luzern is really a part of the experience, not in a marketing kind of way, but as a part of your personal journey.
It gave me the opportunity to talk to Beat Weinmann during a wonderful lunch. Beat illustrated his stories with pencil drawings on a piece of paper. He explained us that the only way a company like this can work is to make “enough watches”. At the moment that is about 150 pieces per year. And it will never be above 300 pieces per year. Only then, the communication can be that personal.
Beat likes to show new developments to current customers of ochs und junior first. Unfortunately, I had to promise not to write any details about them so I won’t. However, I was allowed to tell you that the chance is very small that Ludwig will develop a chronograph. He likes the continuity of time in different steps (days, weeks, moon phases). As there is more in the sky than just the Moon, it would not be unthinkable that one of the new models will have (more) astronomical functions. As it will not be part of the core collection, it will have another, more classic, case design.
In the end, I am super happy with my ochs und junior mese and don’t feel the need for another watch to add. Who knows at the next service in about five years I will have the colours changed again.
Perhaps there will be a new ochs und junior watch someday that makes me want it more than my current mese. For the near future a sturgeon strap is definitely on my list. It looks great, is water resistant and very durable.. But for now the ochs und junior mese is my translation for “enough watches”; just this one.
More information on ochs und junior can be found on their website.
This article was written by one of our readers (Richard) from The Netherlands.