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Executive Class Featured

From the Swiss Jura Mountains to the stage of international watchmaking, Baume & Mercier tells a unique story

by 08 October 2010

Even if you don’t happen to be familiar with the world of watches, chances are you have seen Baume & Mercier’s international “Baume & Mercier & Me” charity campaign. Since 2006, the faces of Meg Ryan, Kim Basinger and David Duchovny have personified the contemporary image of the Swiss watch manufacturer. This year, the talented Andy Garcia will continue Baume & Mercier’s support of humanitarian causes. Besides charity, this year Baume & Mercier is also on Facebook and Twitter, sharing the latest news with its customers and watch enthusiasts worldwide. Luxos takes a closer look and discovers its enduring story that started in the Swiss Jura Mountains many years ago.

The Baume family saga dates back to the 16th century, when the knowledge and skills of watchmaking passed from father to son. Generations of expertise have culminated to the founding of the Baume Brothers Company in 1830, though it was not until some years later that Louis Victor and Pierre-Joseph Célestin Baume opened their first London office in 1847. It was the right time, the right place, and towards the end of the 19th century, Baume & Co gained recognition as a reputable Swiss watch manufacturer.

The grandson of the original founder, William Baume, is a talented watchmaker. He had already gained some experience in the industry by the time he met Paul Mercier in the 1910’s. A Swiss national, Mercier brought his language skills (he spoke seven languages fluently) and business acumen to the company. Finally in 1920, they registered “Baume & Mercier” in Geneva. Just a year later, the brand solidified its position as an important watch manufacturer by receiving the Geneva Hallmark (“poinçon de Genève”).

Ever since the Twenties, Baume & Mercier created elegant and accurate watches. The style is always contemporary: Catwalk, Capeland, Riviera, Hampton, Classima Executives. The collections are unique in the watchmaking scene for their high quality and wearable style. Baume & Mercier designers find inspirations from the brand’s 180-year archive. New designs are modern, but always in keeping with the motto “Accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality.”

Baume & Mercier’s workshop in Les Brenets is where the magic (or should I say hard work) happens. Here, everything is controlled to the strictest quality standards. Watches are put together in temperature- , pressure- and humidity-controlled rooms, where they are then tested for accuracy, power reserve, time setting, date changing, chronograph functions and other complications. Even the quartz watches go through thermic shock testing. To the joy of watch collectors, the workshop also repairs vintage pieces. Pieces can be made again so the repaired watch will still have its original specifications.

Today, the motto of perfection is still the guiding light of Baume & Mercier’s operations every day. 180 years of watchmaking heritage has always been about contemporary luxury, balancing state-of-the-art techniques and aesthetics. The Baume & Mercier emblem is the Greek letter Phi – the golden number in antiquity – and is incorporated into every watch design. When the Baume family first moved from France to the Swiss Mountains, who would have known that they name would become one of the most recognised in the world of luxury today? That’s exactly what modern legends are made.

China Fall 2010