Watch Storage, Heart Rates And Rolls-Royce - The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase From Charles Simon

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Am I insane for lusting over a watch storage case that costs north of AUD 10k? Yes, absolutely.

I wrote an article in a past life (pre-watch addiction) about how buying the best version of something will save you money in the long run.

The idea is that cost per use is a more important metric than the initial purchase price. It certainly ruffled some feathers, mainly among my family. I did use their ‘buy the cheapest thing’ attitude as an example of how not to live your life so I don’t blame them. Oops.

I mentioned in the article that I’ve had a pair of RM Williams boots for ten years that cost me $450. My roommate at the time thought I was crazy for spending that much. The jokes on him though, they lasted 1000 times longer than his $30 tennis shoes.
As I’ve matured, this way of thinking has changed from a practical consideration to a passion for quality and craftsmanship. I no longer think about cost per wear, but instead about enjoyment and beauty, in all its forms. At a certain level, something of extremely high quality stops being justifiable by the brain and starts to be an object of desire. The heart takes over where the brain left off.

In the spirit of quality, I want to talk about a brand that is at the top of its field. A brand whose products are so expensive that, to the average consumer, it boggles the mind that anyone would buy them. But as you dive deep into the philosophy of the brand, the justification becomes clear. It’s heart over head. Let’s talk about Charles Simon.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase

Just Another Veblen Good or True Craftmanship?

It’s hard to understand where something sits in the market without comparing it to something that we all know well. When we talk about the best version of a product, we humans often compare it to a brand synonymous with quality. Rolls Royce.
Patek Philippe for example, may be considered the Rolls Royce of watches, or The Subdial, the very website you’re on right now, is the Rolls Royce of watch media. Humility at its finest as always.

In direct opposition to my recent article on Veblen Goods, I do think there are exceptions to the rule of diminishing returns on price. Some products are perceived as being high quality and some just are. In the case of Charles Simon, it’s not only that the perception is there, it’s in the materials and the craftsmanship too.

As an aside, I feel a little uncomfortable mentioning craftsmanship here. It’s a word that’s used to describe the production of everything these days, and most of the time the products don’t deserve it. Let’s draw a line in the sand and take back the word from all of the marketers who misuse it to sell to the unsuspecting masses. For communication within the sacred walls of The Subdial, when I say craftmanship I mean it in the truest sense of the word.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase Charles Simon

Who Is Charles Simon

Contrary to what I thought when I discovered the brand, Charles Simon is two people, not one. Co-founders Charles Tremblay and Simon Maltais launched the company in 2014 after years in the aeronautical engineering space. They were friends first, which is very cool, and I think symbolises the ethos of the brand nicely. It’s a coming together of two worlds, friends, watches and accessories.

Charles Tremblay and Simon Maltais

Your watch and carry case may not have shared the same quality and attention to detail in the past. How could they, when there is a centuries-old history of perfection driving the very industry you belong to? But Charles Simon levels the playing field and elevates the vessel to a point where it matches, or even exceeds the quality of what it holds within. It does justice to the perfection we’re used to.
The brand is based in Montreal, Canada, which for me, is a nice change from the usual Italian or French leather companies. And yes I know Montreal was a French colony, but have you ever heard of the Quebec Act of 1774? Didn’t think so.

Geopolitics aside, You can tell that their perspective is different, perhaps it’s because of their locale, their engineering backgrounds or maybe it’s their diet of maple syrup and bacon. Sorry, cheap shot.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase

It was tough for me to decide what product to feature in this article. On one hand, they have incredible avant-garde luggage that makes your Rimowa case look like a dirty cardboard box. On the other, there’s the compact Eaton Watch Case and the geometric Hudson watch stand.

The Hudson Watch Stand harles Simon
The Charles Simon Eaton Watch Box

These are beautiful and deserve our attention but there’s one product from Charles Simon that I feel embodies their philosophy like no other, The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase. The minimalist-inspired case looks like it would belong to Don Draper if he was writing Ad copy and day drinking in the year 2050. That is to say, it’s incredibly sophisticated and a little bit futuristic.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase From Charles Simon

It’s All About Aluminium. Or Aluminum If You’re From North America…

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase has an internal structure made from aerospace-grade aluminium. Reminiscent of the engineering work both Charles and Simon are familiar with, the use of high-performance materials in the parts you can’t see is impressive. Milling out aluminium where possible helps keep the weight down to a respectable 2.3kg. A layer of carbon fibre makes up the flat sections of the frame which means the chassis of this thing looks like it was made for Formula 1.

Making the The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase Charles Simon

Alright, let’s nerd out for a second and talk about hinges. When we talk about a high-quality product, it’s not just materials that make it what it is, It’s also the way it feels to operate. The hinges of The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase and all of Charles Simon’s products for that matter are utter works of art. I am such a dork…

They are made from solid aluminium like the rest of the frame and remind me of the door hinges on a Boeing 747. Peripheral levers pierce the frame and stabilise the opening and closing of the lid. It’s a bloody masterpiece.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase Charles Simon

Finishing Like The Best Of Them

From the outside, the anodised aluminium has a matte finish and is more akin to that of a watch than a briefcase. Accompanying the anodised aluminium is what Charles Simon calls ‘Young Bull’ Leather. It’s a particularly soft and blemish-free variety that comes from, you guessed it, Young Bulls. Its grain is distinct and in contrast to the smooth finish of the aluminium.

The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase Charles Simon

Alcantara, a carbon-neutral material best known for its use in the automotive space lines the inside and covers the 12 cushions. Also lined with Alcantara are two strap-sized compartments to hold your watch-related accoutrement. The stitching is immaculate as you would expect, but what is most impressive to me is that the Alcantara still looks like it belongs on a luxury product like this. High-tech fibres can sometimes look out of place on a design of this calibre.

You think it, Charles Simon Makes it

The customisation options on all of the Charles Simon products are immense. You can choose from 30 different shades of leather, as well as a crocodile option (be ready to pay extra for that one, a lot extra). The Alcantara can be customised with 25 different colours and you can even choose the shade of aluminium. Luxury is all about choice.

Charles Simon Customisation

That’s not all though. While you’re at it, why not get your name engraved on the aluminium, or your initials embossed into the leather? Like the feel of wood in your hand? No problem, they’ve got some recycled Canadian timber from the log-drive era. You never know, your handle could have floated its way down a river in Quebec. The last choice you have to make is what size cushions you want, small, medium or large. It all depends on your wrist size of course.

Just for fun, my choice would be The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase with Emerald leather, grey aluminium for the outside and deep blue Alcantara for the inside. Oh, and river floated timber for the handle.

Canadian timber from the log-drive era

Am I insane for lusting over a watch storage case that costs north of AUD 10k? Yes, absolutely. I mean, that's more than the value of my entire watch collection. But aren’t we all insane for loving watches anyway? Admit it, you’re a little bit loopy too. I can see it in your eyes.
There are so many options out there that would leave you with a little more left over in the wallet. They offer no less practicality than a Charles Simon Case. But what's missing in those products is heart. They don’t get me excited.

‍The Mackenzie 12 Watch Briefcase

When I do my nightly peruse on the, my pulse increases and I start to sweat a little. That’s what I want from the things that I buy. I want them to wake the beast within, to light up my orbitofrontal cortex like a Christmas tree. Certain watches do it for me, shoes are the same. I even have a frying pan at home that does it.

Is it too much to want a briefcase that sits in my cupboard to do it too? I think not.

It’s not about cost per wear here people, it’s about beats per minute.

Cya in the next one x

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