The Hodinkee Shop collaborated with Parisian conceptual lifestyle retailer Merci to design a contemporary field watch with a retro vibe.
Introduced on Friday, the Merci LMM-H01 Limited Edition for Hodinkee comes in a 37.5 mm x 11 mm brushed stainless steel case with a stepped fixed steel bezel, muted colors, and is powered by a hand-wound Swiss-made ETA 2801-2.
Inspired by early 20th-century military watches, the name La Montre Merci (LMM), or the Merci Watch, pays tribute to watches such as those made for the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) known as the “Dirty Dozen” (Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor, and Vertex).
While this design clearly plays on the watch styling, function, and proportions of the Dirty Dozen (and other military field watches) — the matte gray dial with tall applied white Arabic numerals and flat-ended blued baton-shaped hands create an aesthetic that’s more modern minimalist than military. Even the white chapter ring has been switched from a railroad design to an open track. “MERCI PARIS – HODINKEE NEW YORK” is printed on the lower edge of the dial — to show the two cities where the companies are based — even though the watch was made in Switzerland.
Additional design details of interest are abundant. Jonathan Hoefler’s Decimal font is used for the Arabic numeral hour markers (also used on other Hodinkee designs), a font specifically inspired by vintage watches, and which was profiled in the Netflix series “Abstract: The Art of Design.” The dial lacks branding by Merci, although an “H” in a circle is stamped just below the hand stack, and is a nod to “T” with a circle which indicated tritium was used. Also, LMM-H01 was placed above the center axis as a reference to mil-spec numbers of the past.
A double domed mineral glass, not a sapphire, protects the dial, and there’s no lume on the dial — both decisions which help keep the price down. Drilled lugs, with 19 mm quick-change spring bars attached, hold a traditional black Nato-style strap. Water-resistance is 50 meters. (Ref. LMM-H01)