A vous, Mesdames!
Baume Frère, the initial name of the watch manufacturer when it was founded, never regarded ladies’ watches as mini versions of the genst’ watches. Instead, they were unique and very female creations, for instance the Marquise from the 1940’s which was a perfect combination of jewellery and luxury wristwatch. Nothing has been changed until today in this context. The ambitious enterprise, expanding from Juradorf (Switzerland) to the Genevan watch metropolis, was more influenced by the extravagant aesthetic of Art Deco than almost any other watchmaker. Regarding the subsequent model series – like the Hampton – the dedication to urbanity and cosmopolitanism is distinctive.
Baume et Mercier - A journey to the past
When the Baumes were established in the “Comptoir horloger” (watch retail) in 1830, the Swiss canton of Jura was far away from female emancipation. And it took another 39 years until Louis-Victor Baume gave a decorated gold fob watch to his daughter at her Communion. A luxury watch by Baume & Mercier is the perfect present for special moments and events – baptism, graduation, engagement, marriage, anniversaries – which is still today embedded in the selling strategy. At the same time there were period of significant growth and international expansion. With their fine sense of prevailing trends, the Baumes brothers moved to the” British Empire” and steadily founded branches in London and the British colonies: India and Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Burma.
The models and chronographs by the Baumes featured with sophisticated intricacies steadily won prices at the American and World exhibition and broke a great number of records at timepiece events. More and more patents and pioneering achievements were following. The reason why the Baumes luxury watches are so much endorsed by watch experts and the clientele is the watches’ enchanting aesthetic, the high number of intricacies and an accuracy that had not been previously achieved. The dynamic heartbeat of the company was a significant driver for its rapid emergence. Partnering with Paul Mercier the company has been running until today under the name Baume & Mercier. Having existed for almost 90 years in 1919, the watch manufacturer received the coveted and highly respected Geneva Quality Hallmark for its finest standards in watchmaking. Also in the decades after the Second World War, Baume & Mercier developed several innovative chronographs equipped with complex features like moon phase, triple date display, minute-repeater and tourbillon within a short period. Models à l’époque are still today outstanding due to their legendary charisma. The Baume & Mercier collections Capeland, Classima and Clifton are influenced by these distinctive and historic features and characteristics.
Committed to innovations
In the 1970’s, Baume & Mercier introduced original watch creations which caused a stir due to their shape and material. Galaxie and Stardust received the highest awards and with the iconic watch Riviera, the world’s first sports watch made of stainless steel, Baume & Mercier again proved its pioneer spirit. At first owned by Cartier, later the watchmaker joined the South African Richmond Group and developed numerous unisex watch series like the prominent Hampton, the Capeland in retro style, the minimalistic and elegant Classima, the rectangular Hampton. Dedicated to accessible luxury, Baume & Mercier is focused on women who like to be both elegant and casual. The collection Linea is one example that fits perfectly to this kind of female customers. Wearing the Baume & Mercier Clifton, the successful man has a self-confident, but a down-to-earth companion who knows exactly who he is, just like him.
Providing the “highest status of quality” is a natural goal for most luxury watch manufacturers. With respect to the bezel – Baume & Mercier takes this exceptionally seriously. At the same time the watchmaker maintains moderate overall price policies which is a crucial factor for regular and new customers as well as the company’s ethical principles, social responsibility and the pursuit of sustainability. Celebrity brand ambassadors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher, Kiefer Sutherland and Emmanuelle Chriqui add some glamour, nevertheless they are carefully selected based on their credibility and authenticity. At charity events they present Baume & Mercier in the front line.
It is obvious that this traditional watchmaker, belonging to the elite of Swiss Made watches, practices an outstanding quality management. The development of the timepieces takes place in the company’s design studio in Geneva and are manufactured in Le Brenets (Switzerland), the enterprise’s headquarter. Every Baume & Mercier prototype that goes into production has to pass chemical and dynamic tests for resistance, shock and vibration resistance, reactions to extreme conditions. In the frame of the manufacturing process, the watches have to prove that they fulfill all requirements. There is no timepiece leaving the manufacturer without a rigid aesthetic and visual final inspection.
Having a big weakness for the American Dream
It is time to talk about the cooperation between Baume & Mercier and the American motor sports icon Carroll Shelby. The most famous racing driver of the US during the 1950’s represented the manufacturer in a perfect way like nobody else. He achieved 15 American speed records, glorious victories in Daytona, Monza, Reims, Bridgehampton, at the Nürburgring and he drove an Aston Martin to victory in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Furthermore, Shelby was long-tome national coach and team leader. And he was involved in the creation of the legendary Cobra, a lightweight new version of the American sports and racing car that is a symbol of the American Dream.
The special model “Capeland Shelby Cobra Collection “, a limited edition, was a result from the partnership between Shelby and Baume & Mercier. Its profile: Chronograph with a 44mm steel case, dial with chronograph hands inspired by the look of the car’s dashboard. The two Shelby racing stripes are a distinctive contrast to the minute and second hands that call to mind the Cobra’s steering wheel and the Cobra logo. The model Guardsman Blue stands out with its Superluminova blue emission and a black alligator strap with an under layer of red calf leather, grey stitches and a triple folding clasp. On the sapphire caseback, the collection’s name and Carroll Shelby’s signature are engraved. In recognition of Shelby’s FIA World Championship 50th anniversary, Baume & Mercier created a special timepiece for the Capeland Shelby Cobra series in 18 carats red gold that is limited to just 98 pieces. This extraordinary model is something rare and precious – just like a world champion title.