During the 70's and 80's Jacques Mercet from Rennes near Lausanne created perfectly crafted frames for very exclusive bikes that formed a «Suisse Romande» counterbalance to the creations of the luxury forge ICS in Zurich. Unfortunately, the Internet holds almost no information about the person that must have been the most profilic Swiss frame builder since.
Mercet, an amateur racer and multiple winner of the Rallye du Comptoir Suisse, dedicated himself to frame building only in his spare time and mainly worked for PTT, the Swiss Post, Telephone and Telegraph Services. Rumor has it that Mercet made only about 400 frames, which might explain the high quality workmanship and incredible detail obsession of his creations. Although he made similarly made fillet-brazed frame from Vitus tubes probably between the late 70's and the beginning of the 90's, there were never two identical frames, everything was made by hand and specifically on customer request. The name of the proud buyer was then artistically painted on the top tube.
When a few years ago our client Marian, who already owns one of Jacques Mercet's private bicycles, discovered pictures of a gold-plated bike that was also showing Jacques name on the horizontal tube, things spun out of control. With a very special custom project in mind, he bought a Mercet frame from the early 80s, which needed a lot of restoration. He entrusted Scampi Cicli with the creation of his dream project.
The frame was then acid-stripped by hand, the tubes sanded and polished, the fork and the rear triangle were plated in 24-carat gold and the decals were recreated using photos as reference. The frame was later handed to Cicli Corsa Classico in Bergamo for paint. The Campagnolo Super Record components were subsequently black anodized and engraved. This was clearly the worst part and it took several attempts to obtain the right finish and shine. Considerable amount of time was also invested in preparation, polishing and gold-plating of the countless small parts.
The aim of our customer was, to equal the artistry of the Cinelli Golden Black. Hence there is not a single chrome or alloy part on this bike which is not either black or gold.
Now, only a handlebar sewn in leather is still missing - but our customer could not wait to try this jewel and he would like to use it in future and not just hang on the wall.
What first captivates admirers is the artful brazework (no Bondo or filler was used to smooth the seams) and of course that overdose of Gold.
Only later you will discover the clamping mechanism for the seatpost with two clamping pieces integrated in some sort of pocket, the heavily modified and hollow drilled Shimano SFR dropouts and the cable routing with brass tubes running through the entire lenght of the frame and the one for the rear derailleur exiting through the dropout.
Due to the extremely compact design and the minimal tolerances this Mercet drives almost like a track frame with an incredibly agile handling.
Two more Mercet bikes passed throuth our hands since completion of this extensive project and we will be happy to take on similar custom projects for other clients.