After the ash jewel, the urn watch is now making waves: “Everyone responded enthusiastically at funeral fairs” (Schoten)

After the ash jewel, the urn watch is now making waves: “Everyone responded enthusiastically at funeral fairs” (Schoten)
After the ash jewel, the urn watch is now making waves: “Everyone responded enthusiastically at funeral fairs” (Schoten)
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Ronald Steffen has been designing timepieces for more than twenty years, a love that he was born with as a born Swiss. The assembly of the luxury watches with Swiss movements, all numbered quality pieces starting at 2,000 euros, takes place in Schoten. In a lower price segment, Steffen focuses on pilots worldwide with RSC Pilot’s Watches, in a personalized or non-personalized version.

“Two years ago a new idea emerged,” says Steffen. “That became Memoria, an urn and memorial watch. It turned out that it did not yet exist as such.”

“The watch looks quite flat and is light, but you are shocked that it can accommodate three grams of axles”

Ronald Steffen

Watchmaker

Ash jewelry has been around for some time: pendants, bracelets or rings in which the ashes of a loved one can be carried. Funeral directors were increasingly asked this question. “The sector is new to me, so when I wanted to launch Memoria, I took a few prototypes to two funeral fairs, where there was immediate enthusiasm for the watches. They touch a nerve.”

Three grams of axles fit in a watch. — © Jan Van der Perre

The Memorias are now available in eight models, for men and women, for 585 euros each. Ashes are kept in a closed-back model, on which a photo, fingerprint or text can be engraved. There is also a model with a glass back, behind which, for example, a small drawing or lock of hair can be stored. The trick is in the curve, as it turns out. “The watch looks quite flat and is light, but you are shocked that it can hold three grams of axles,” says Steffen. “The most important thing is the quality. You can’t afford to have ashes leaking out of the watch.”

The eight models.

The eight models. — © Jan Van der Perre

Abroad

The Memorias are available at about forty funeral directors and jewelers in Belgium and the Netherlands. “In Belgium only through funeral directors,” says Steffen, “in the Netherlands mainly through jewelers. You only get the ashes home after a month, and during that time people often still make the decision to do something with them.”

Every country has its own ‘ax culture’. “In France, ashes can be taken home after cremation, but they must be laid out elsewhere afterwards. Not an interesting market, I thought. But it now appears that there is no control over this rule, and that ashes often remain with the relatives. In Germany too, laying out at home is in principle not allowed, although this is changing in more and more states. We are also aiming for England by the end of the year.”

“In France, ashes can be taken home after cremation, but they must be laid out elsewhere afterwards. Not an interesting market, I thought. But it now appears that there is no control over that rule, and that ashes often remain with the relatives.”

Ronald Steffen

Creator of urn watch

By the way, we are not only carrying the ashes of dear fellow human beings with us more and more often. Pets are also often cremated and tangibly remembered. “That is why the Memorias are also available through the animal crematoria of Boom and Viersel, and a horse crematorium was recently added in Germany,” says Steffen.

He himself carries his Memoria empty for the time being. “One day it will be fleshed out, ultimately there will be a lot to remember – sand from a honeymoon, perhaps a piece of a wedding dress. There are a lot of commemorative jewelry options available, especially for women, but much less for men. A watch could then be interesting.”

www.memoriawatches.com

Tags: ash jewel urn watch making waves responded enthusiastically funeral fairs Schoten

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