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Our Story - La Mer Collections

Our Story

Who We Are

La Mer Collections was created from a desire to produce handcrafted, beautiful yet artful pieces made in America, inspired by the color of travel and adventure, and rooted in the freedom of expression. Every piece is made with close attention to detail as we take pride in creating quality pieces that are affordable, chic and lot of fun to wear.

And it all began in 2001 when Martine Ilana took a soulful approach to creating the original wrap watch with a piece of purple-heart wood, a hammer and some Italian leather.

As La Mer grew we started shooting our lookbooks on location, and sourcing leather, textiles and raw materials from all over the the world. From the vibrant markets of South Africa to crystals from Brazil, combining elements from across the globe to create a watch, was our goal.

It’s more than a watch. It’s a lifestyle.

We are obsessed with customization, allowing La Mer women to design their own watch . With a homegrown and dedicated artisanal staff, the classic watch-faces are exclusively designed, and completely assembled out of our creative space in Los Angeles — a rehabbed 1940s hostess bakery with its original wooden parquet flooring, and high bowtruss ceilings. In our production office, there’s a huge neon sign that reads, “The Whole World Is In Your Hands” and racks of handpicked leather to choose from for each limited production run. With La Mer fans worldwide and flagship stores in Asia, this sign serves as a reminder that we are committed to creating that 'one-of-a-kind piece' you cannot find anywhere else.

Carpe Diem!

History / About

La Mer was established in 2001 when Martine rummaged through her jewelry drawer and could not find a simple, stylish and feminine watch to wear. Combining her passion for design, love of quality materials and simple beauty, La Mer Collections was born. Inspiration is drawn from her journeys: South Africa's colorful markets, Bali's lush flowers, Italy's gorgeous leathers and Thailand's clear blue ocean. Each season La Mer's color palette is chosen from these bright and colorful experiences. La Mer Collections' focus is on classic watch faces designed exclusively by Martine Ilana, paired with beautiful leather straps. Every leather wrap watch is hand assembled in the United States and made with care.

Designer Martine Ilana

Designer Statement

"A watch is a private piece of art. Not only does it embody the skill of the artisan who created it, but it is an expression of the owner's style. In this day and age, with all the technology surrounding us, all we truly need on our wrist is a watch that tells time. Often less is more when it comes to a timepiece's design and wearing a watch allows you to appreciate esthetic qualities as well as function and technical reliability."

"I have a tactile relationship with my watches and I appreciate the elegant faces and quality leather straps. Timepieces set the rhythm of my life, but they remain above all, pieces of jewelry with which I develop a genuine connection. I wear a watch because it is an object that conveys some of my most precious values; the connection between art and technology." - Martine Ilana

Experience Italy

The Italian Excursion



Experience Mojave

The Mojave Desert
Adventure Lookbook



Experience Japan

The Japanese Odyssey