In this interview Pietro Macchiarella, CEO of Mestel, describes the start of his encounter with DiamArt: born of great human connection, continued by an affinity of business dynamics and emerging with the launch of a completely new product for the luxury market: the co-moulded rubber/micro diamonds watchstrap.
How did your collaboration come about; what lit the spark?
Our collaboration arose from love at first sight - the idea of being able to embellish our straps was instantly fascinating to me. That's how we started working with DiamArt. Then came a year of hard work and constant communication with Elisa Ferrari and her team, to understand how we could physically produce what we immediately recognised as a completely new and extremely attractive item for the market in which we operate.
Historically, Mestel's approach to collaborations is extremely selective, but once initiated, we stick with them. From the very first meeting we saw the DiamArt team's seriousness and professionalism, and it was that understanding that allowed our instant connection to continue.
A difficult journey?
Difficult undoubtedly but stimulating at the same time. The aim was to include DiamArt micro diamond inserts in Mestel rubber watch straps using our co-moulding process. Our research was based on understanding how the two materials - so different from each other - could coexist within a complex and rigorous production like ours.
There were plenty of obstacles, but these are precisely what allowed us to raise the bar and achieve ambitious goals. The result we achieved together fully expresses the excellence of our companies.
The partnership between Mestel and DiamArt led to a unique and innovative product: watch straps made by the co-moulding of rubber and micro diamonds. What's the market positioning for the product?
Mestel operates in the luxury sector; the level is extremely high. The product we're launching is in line with the standard, and will be aimed at a market segment that's very exacting in terms of quality and the search for exclusive new products. Diamonds are the height of luxury, and therefore the ideal material for straps that will hold exceptionally valuable watches. Add to this the uniqueness of the production process: no one has ever made watchstraps co-moulded in rubber and micro diamonds. A unique product that could only be designed, produced and launched by Mestel and DiamArt together.
Both companies have deep roots in constant research, and the creations you offer are synonymous with the very highest quality. How important were these two characteristics in the genesis of the new product?
They were crucial. After our instant and sincere empathy with Elisa Ferrari and the whole DiamArt team, we began the process of study, design, production and checking, all done jointly, with the involvement of our respective research centres. In our work, there's no improvisation and nothing can be left to chance. That's why every watch strap is checked individually and has to pass the most rigorous quality tests, otherwise it's not considered fit for the market.
The exclusivity we offer our customers allows no exceptions in this: quality must always be absolute in terms of aesthetics and resistance, robustness and reliability.
So an idea may be fabulous, but never get made. And this is exactly what we did together: we made something that previously didn't exist, while respecting the canons demanded by our target market.
How do you expect to develop this product?
The co-moulded rubber/micro diamonds watchstrap is a reality and will hit the market. It's aimed at the luxury sector. At the moment we're unable and unwilling to make forecasts, but this is a unique product that will give us an undeniable advantage. I've never been worried by comparison with others, what gets me excited is the fact we're offering an utterly new product, owned by us, thanks to our collaboration with DiamArt, which brought added value in terms of material - diamonds - and technological innovation, research and development. Values which, combined and shared by our own Mestel values, truly constitute mutual growth and a unique opportunity to offer our customers exclusivity.
Environmental sustainability, the circular economy and recycled materials are hot topics. How do you stand on these issues, and what does it mean for you today to bring these values into the luxury marketplace?
They're fundamental aspects, regardless of the market. This is another issue where there was immediate harmony. While DiamArt's work is based on the sustainability of its products, thanks to the ingenious concept of giving new life to diamonds that otherwise would be no use to the market, Mestel itself began a virtuous journey in this direction some years ago. We actually opened a new factory specifically in order to meet all the necessary standards to reduce our environmental impact. We also launched a product in recycled rubber, which allows us to use waste materials. Reebber Recycled Rubber. One more option for customers wishing to choose in line with these principles. We're proud of that, because it's a process we invented; it's not easy to re-use rubber once it's vulcanised.
This shared sensibility makes our collaboration even more solid and synergic.
Both Mestel and DiamArt offer industrial efficiency and artisan care in products created specifically for their customers. How can these values be combined, with particular reference to your recent experience of working together?
The market our products are destined for - including the co-moulded rubber/micro diamonds watchstraps - demands exceptionally high standards in every aspect. There has to be utmost attention to every single detail. Industrial precision and artisan skill are employed with no margin for error, meaning that every single item that comes off the production line is flawless. In watchmaking, fifty years ago they'd say if a flaw can't be seen it doesn't exist; today we have to see what the customer can't even imagine. And to do this we need all the precision industrial manufacture can provide, and all the sensibility human experience can bring. These twin souls come together by means of careful, scrupulous work and complete dedication: one hundred percent of our watch straps are finished by hand, as is every individual insert of DiamArt micro diamond.
If Mestel and DiamArt hadn't already been imbued with these characteristics, it would have been impossible to achieve our joint goal.
What are the strengths of your partnership with DiamArt? And the most important aspects?
Sympathy, in the sense of shared feeling, which immediately arose at the personal level and was followed by exceptional professionalism. The desire to innovate, constant research, the tenacity to seek solutions, the refusal to settle for less, and the constant desire to achieve the highest possible quality. Willingness to collaborate and take risks, put yourself on the line to achieve flawless results. The experience, knowledge and technology we found in DiamArt were determining factors. Once you have an idea, you have to find a route to realise it.
Will there be room for future collaborations with DiamArt?
Mestel operates in the watches sector, and in luxury fashion. For the past eighteen months, I've personally been pushing to find a way to bring new proposals to the world of high fashion. This route would include the possibility of collaboration with DiamArt, with whom we share many values and the desire to overcome all technical limits to amaze our customers. Because that was the effect the outcome of our collaboration had on our customers: amazement and curiosity. During the EPHJ trade fair in Geneva, we prepared a soft presentation, a kind of exclusive. The co-moulded rubber/micro diamonds watchstraps were lined up tidily in display cases. Within seconds, everyone there expressed a desire to touch the product, get a closer look. It was a wonderful, astonished whirlwind of eyes and hands experiencing something unprecedented. We hope to continue astonishing with DiamArt.
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