Industry News: Baume & Mercier Introduces Start-Up Sister Brand BAUME
In a surprising move, Richemont spins off an accessible, environmentally friendly brand to Baume & Mercier. With fully customizable pieces starting at just $560.
Since 1830, Baume & Mercier has made classically designed, yet affordable mechanical watches. Since joining the Richemont group in 1988, the brand has pushed innovative new products such as the Baumatic and unique motorsports partnerships such as Shelby Cobra and Indian. Not content with sitting still, Baume & Mercier is now going after the bespoke accessible market. All while keeping pace with the latest environmentally friendly techniques.
Announced today in Geneva, Baume & Mercier’s new sister brand BAUME features a fully customizable collection of environmentally conscious “genderless” timepieces targeted to the 25-35 crowd. In a bold acknowledgement, Richemont is fully embracing the eco-conscious crowd that may be in the market for their first nice watch.
It’s important to note that BAUME will be operating completely independent from their parent company (Baume & Mercier). A completely separate management and design team will lead BAUME. Positioning the brand as a more of a start-up than a centuries old watchmaking house.
BAUME brand leader Marie Chassot remarks, “Our goal is to fulfill the utmost standards of quality and craftsmanship, while committing to the power of collaboration within a circular economy"
This new train of thought is interesting as it positions the new brand to compete head-on with the likes of Daniel Wellington, Undone, and Michael Kors. Yet backed by the powerful Richemont group allowing the brand access to quality materials and watchmaking prowess.
BAUME will go to market with two models, the Custom Timepiece Series, and Iconic Series.
Like its name suggests, the Custom Timepiece Series can be configured via BAUME’s online configurator. While technical details are vague at this point, we do know the Custom Timepiece Series will start at approx. $560 for a base-level quartz movement. The price will fluctuate depending upon the case size (35 or 41mm), dial, strap, and colors chosen.
The striking asymmetrical lugs and vary levels of case color, finishing, and materials lend refined looks to this decidedly accessible watch. The crown (set at 12 o’clock) comes in a matching metal.
While there is certainly a litany of watches at this price point, there may be no brands doing more for the environment than BAUME. By using a recycled, up-cycled, and sustainable materials, the brand is positioning themselves to cater to a generation that believes in leaving the earth a better place than they found it.
“We use no animal-based or precious materials and unused components are recycled or re-used. Our interchangeable watchstraps are made from natural, up-cycled or recycled fabrics such as cork, cotton, linen, alcantara and recycled PET. Packaging is kept to a minimum: there is no secondary packaging and only FSC-certified paper and cardboard are used,” says Chassot
The second model in BAUME’s inaugural lineup is the Iconic Series. This Swiss automatic timepiece still offers the minimalistic design of the customizable series yet takes a more elegant approach by skeletonizing the dial and offering a smoky black matte aluminum case with sapphire caseback. Also available later this year in new colors, materials, and case sizes.
The brand is disrupting the traditional Richemont release cycle by pre-announcing another limited-edition collection available later in 2018. This collection will be designed in concert with BAUME’s partners and is described by Chassot,
“By accelerating change through innovation and collaboration, we will help to ask questions to aid generations to come. We are excited about forthcoming work with our partner Waste Free Oceans, an organization that collects plastic from oceans, rivers and beaches. Ocean plastic will be transformed into material that will enable us to create a modern, recycled, and recyclable product while helping us to do our part in cleaning the oceans,”
While accessible luxury is nothing new, especially for Baume & Mercier, the new BAUME lineup diverges from the slog of Kickstarter and mass produced big brand watches. Offering environmentally friendly, thoughtful, and well-designed timepieces and an affordable price that will surely drive new collectors and fans to the brand.