The inspiring story of the Meyer Objects brand, dating from 1843 to the present, bringing several conceptual products, especially handmade custom design wall clocks, to users in different parts of the world.
Interview: Burak Koçak
You offer a number of concept clocks, and particularly custom-designed, hand-finished wall clocks to users across the world. Before we discuss its fascinating history, please tell us about the operations of Meyer Objects today.
As you said, Meyer Objects has a fascinating history. Our activities mainly involve carrying on the 141-year legacy of the brand and conveying its importance to future generations. Today, there is no other company in Turkey or around the world that focuses solely on the design and manufacture of quality wall clocks for the A segment. So, we are aware of our unique position, which we aim to maintain and drive forward. Design and art are essential for us in developing our brand and products. We see our products not only as timepieces but also as art objects. This is why we work meticulously, with painstaking precision in all processes from design to production. In addition to continuing our iconic models from the past, we also engage in discussions and work with a number of designers from around the world to develop clocks for customers that come to expect the Meyer Objects quality but want to see different designs as well.
The story of the Meyer brand that began with the birth of the founder Johann Meyer in Athens on November 18, 1843 is certainly the legacy, the precious aspect of the brand. How does it feel to be the latest representative of a brand that is so much a part of Istanbul and world history?
It feels very exciting and special. Today, anyone can get world renowned designers to create different models of timepieces at a certain price. But then, it becomes a new brand. It does not have a story, a fascinating history. What we have here is exactly that; a history, a story... This is why it is so precious to us. Having a history from the Ottoman court to present day also puts a serious responsibility on our shoulders.
Considering its history woven in the Athens - Berlin – Istanbul triangle, it would be fair to say that the Meyer brand has built a specific and rich culture. How do you define this unique identity?
I believe that coming from a German family has been very influential on the brand, especially in terms of being attentive to details, working with discipline and delivering excellence. I also think that the fact that Nahsen Bayındır was raised in this culture from a young age, the way he passed on the codes, experiences and knowledge of the brand to us, and this multicultural structure all played a positive role in the unique identity of the brand. This culture drives the brand and us forward. If we are still working meticulously, with discipline and selflessly today, it is certainly thanks to the values we inherited.
The Meyer name holds nearly 200 years of history, pages of stories, hundreds, maybe thousands of designs. How much of this has been documented? Do you have any plans for a book on Meyer one day? As far as we know, a memoir by Johann Meyer’s grandson is already available.
Yes, Wolfgang Meyer, who left some of his stakes in Meyer Objects to Nahsen Bayındır, has a memoir that we had translated into Turkish. But, we also think that a single source would not be enough to tell the brand's long history to the next generations. So, we are thinking about publishing a book on the watchmaking history in Turkey, the history of Meyer clocks, the life story of three generations, the current position of Meyer Objects and our aspirations. We even started researching this. We will launch a strong project with the support of expert historians.
Looking at the designs of Meyer Objects, we see that it adopts a very simple design concept with technology at its heart and brings an innovative line to the world of clocks. In this respect, what are some of the approaches and ideas that excite you about the future?
Yes, we have a very simple design philosophy. The acclaimed German designer Mies van der Rohe has a saying, which could be translated as, “Less is more”. We adopt this approach. We think that more could be exhausting and we favor simplicity. When it comes to technology, it is a very important part of our lives today and inevitably so for Meyer Objects. Technology and clocks will always be intertwined and we are open to this idea. We plan to integrate a number of technological developments into our clocks in the future. But what excites us the most is collaborating with world renowned designers to create different clock models.
When you are approached with a design proposal or when you reach out to a designer, what influences your decision to produce it? What is the most important detail you look for in a design to consider adding it to Meyer's product line?
We can summarize what we look for when deciding to produce a design in three sentences; it must be “refined,” it must feel “right,” and it must be “different”. We especially look for an edge. At this point, I can give our Frame and Drop models as examples. Already in the idea phase, we saw that our expectations, wavelength and design philosophy were very much in tune with the esteemed Nazar Şigaher, the designer of the Frame clock. Having the same perspective and sharing the excitement with the designer is crucial, and achieving this alignment brings success. Frame was highly acclaimed and even won the German Design Award 2019.
Do you have plans to expand your product range under the Meyer Objects brand?
The fact that we chose our brand name as Meyer Objects rather than Meyer Clock is actually a precursor of expanding our product range in the future. We plan to add new products to our range when the right time comes. We will also focus on luminaires in addition to timepieces. In the future, we may offer Meyer Objects Luminaires to fans of the Meyer brand.