The French are known for industrial design aesthetics such as the Citroen automobile, but when we think of ski touring bindings, Germanic brands such as Marker and Silvretta come to mind. French company Emery broke out of that stereotype for a lengthy run from the mid 1970s and on through the 1980s with their Emery binding series.
As far as we know, the binding covered here was the first in the “Altitude” series. While a perfunctory effort was made to save weight with the plastic housed Look Nevada heel unit (perhaps a rental version of Look’s model N57 or N77), otherwise this all metallic rig was clearly durable — but at a cost — one binding weighs fully 41.7 ounces. Later Emery bindings used much more plastic and a minimalist approach, but by most accounts were not as mechanically functional as this well conceived configuration, that used essentially an alpine toe and heel mounted on a plate.
(Readers please note, as always we could use help with accurately dating this gear, please leave comments.)
This is one of the few “antique” or “classic” touring bindings in our collection I’d still feel comfortable skiing on, provided the plastic Look Nevada heel unit housing was still strong enough.
It’s interesting to note that while we tend to stereotype the French regarding their lingual elitism, the Look Nevada heel used on this Emery has fully American roots in its name. More info here. “Look” was a no brainer, taken from a popular magazine of the time, but one has to wonder at the name “Nevada.” Was the inventor a casino gambler, or just a fan of not paying taxes? Inquiring minds want to know…