Each exclusive luxury Roland Iten product is the result of thinking differently about solving a perceived problem, where probably none exists. With rare passion he transforms everyday items like belt buckles, bracelets or cufflinks into highly personal precision mechanical objects that function with finesse. We meet the creative genius, Roland Iten and talk to him on his penchant for creating complications
Here’s a man who conjures up creative solutions to cater to the whims of the connoisseur, imparting extraordinary character to belts and buckles, to bracelets, cufflinks and other luxury accessories meant for discerning men.
Meet Roland Iten, the man behind the eponymous marque, with a passion for mechanical objects and a captivating aptitude for mechanics. Combining these with his inventive mind and his keen eye for design, enables him to liberate what are otherwise mundane objects into the arena of precision engineering, producing exceptional creations for the luxury world.
Roland Iten declares, “My products, all made in Geneva, are rare and unique, yet discreet, and are known for their endurance. They are numbered limited editions. I don’t have to sell thousands.”
He has the gift of transforming ordinary items into mechanical wonders to solve problems that most people didn’t know existed. Until Roland Iten designed the world’s first complicated mechanical belt buckle in 2003, men did not think in terms of wearable precious mechanics. The utilisation of precision engineering, previously reserved for the watchmaking industry, has allowed the brand to create unique accessories, similarly employing skilled craftsmen and using solid gold, titanium and stainless steel with inlays of mother-of-pearl, exotic tropical hardwoods and pavé diamonds.
With twin degrees in Graphic Design and Product Design and years of independent experience in designing for major manufacturers, he identified a gap in the men’s jewellery market and launched ‘The Roland Iten Mechanical Luxury Company’ in 2003, pioneering a new segment in high-end luxury goods, dubbing it aptly as “mechanical luxury for gentlemen.”
Born in 1961, Roland comes from a family of engineers, though not an engineer himself, which works to his advantage. According to Roland “When you are too specialised you don’t ask the questions, which might help unravel the obstacles of product engineering processes. I’m the guy next to the engineer telling him ‘it will work,’ while all the time he’s telling me ‘it’s impossible.’ It’s really an intimate way to develop a product.”
Curiosity compels us to ask Roland about the importance of creating mechanical options to complicate something as simple as the lowly belt buckle. His response is prompt and clear: “The man who wears a solid gold horological machine on his wrist is not wearing it merely because it tells time. He wears it to celebrate the core values of tradition, heritage, unique craftsmanship and timeless beauty, which are the same core values built into our belt buckles. They can only be appreciated by such discerning clients.”
In the same vein, he continues, “Our newest collection is the R22 Mark I-22mm or the ‘Bugatti Edition’ mechanical belt buckle that is limited to 22 pieces. It has a rolling car-mechanism. The suave French brand, Bugatti, is all about comfort, combined with elegance – real luxury is comfort as reflected in the elegant interiors of the car. Apart from beauty, the Bugatti boasts a powerful promise of performance. The love of a Bugatti starts with its performance. Then its shape and appearance take over. It gives you the feeling that ‘life is beautiful.’”
Unlike the regular belts that come in standard sizes, the belt with the R22 Mk.I-22mm ‘Bugatti Edition’ mechanical buckle is micro-customisable to any size. The buckle, comprising of 100 components in white and rose gold, titanium and stainless steel, boasts an expansion range of 22mm, thanks to a unique patented mechanism that sits ‘under the hood,’ using flow-guiding wheels to provide a ‘silent’ click and minimal friction.
Roland says, “When you turn the ignition of a Bugatti, it doesn’t roar into action; instead it turns over flawlessly with a sound that reveals the highest level of tuning, resulting in phenomenal performance. That’s our buckle for you!”
Declaring “What I like the most is to surprise and delight people,” Roland Iten offers a mechanical world of discovery, focusing on performance, skill and sophistication, meant for the discerning gentleman, who understands and appreciates the true meaning of luxury – the connoisseur who loves to handle and own a uniquely crafted mechanical objet d’art.