This company is a 2018 revival of the predecessor company of Baume & Mercier, which is another Richemont brand. This new watchmaker’s timepieces are targeted to a younger generation and uses elegant, understated cases but bold and colorful straps.
Rather than traditional materials like leather and steel link bracelets, the watchbands use cotton, cork, and recycled materials. Besides the watches themselves, the packaging uses recycled materials, such as recycled paper and cardboard.
Along with other practices, this is in order to appeal to younger consumers who seek ethical accountability and environmental sustainability.
The elementary, unisex styling of the brand’s inaugural collection also facilitates customization, another big selling point.
"A Bold New Concept!" The first watch brand founded by Richemont comes bearing fresh ideas.
In contrast to the other companies of Richemont, this brand aims to meet a younger crowd at an affordable price point. Similarly to many of the other brands in the group, this watchmaker has roots that go far back to the 1800s.
However, its current collections, though drawing great inspiration from earlier styles, are unambiguously contemporary. Since the beginning, it has searched for unusual and ecologically-friendly materials to use in its watches.
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Richemont’s New Venture
The company’s story traces all the way back to 1830, when the brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume started their business. However, it is only in 2018 that this company once again became its own brand, distinct from Baume & Mercier.
Just as the original company consistently sought to emphasize men’s and women’s watches equally, this offshoot takes a new direction. Specifically, all of the brand’s timepieces are unisex, and movement, case and strap combinations are customizable.
Custom engraving of a two-line message is available for all watches, thereby allowing for greater personalization. Also, in keeping with the international emphasis of Baume & Mercier, watches ship free worldwide.
All of these, together with a lower price point than other Richemont brands, intend to appeal towards the younger generations.
These collections are also notable for their unusual, typically environmentally-friendly watchband materials.
The company’s watches use an innovative lug design that looks similar to a trench watch’s wire lugs, but works differently. During the era when men’s wristwatches first became popular, they were usually of an improvised nature.
Hence, wire lugs were usually soldered onto a pocket watch in order to make a wristwatch. Though these Baume watches look similar, the lugs are screwed in from the sides.
Unusual Materials, Eco-Friendly Boon
Indeed, the move towards sustainable watch straps predates the company itself, originating in Baume & Mercier’s Promesse women’s watches. This collection’s leather straps are trout skin rather than traditional leather, with oversight in place for responsible trout farming practices.
This company has an edge in sustainable materials because of its collaboration with the University of the Arts in London. Baume works with graduate-level Material Futures researchers in order to conceive comfortable, stylish, and low-environmental-impact straps.
These include, for example, watchbands from cork, cotton, linen, alcantara and recycled polyester. Cork offers a unique mottled appearance and a feel that is supple, somewhat bouncy and elastic, while possessing self-healing qualities.
This means that, for example, small nicks and holes in the strap can smooth themselves over time. Further, proper cork extraction does not kill the tree, meaning cork trees are totally reusable.
Two of these types of bands use plastics, specifically, PET and alcantara. PET fabric, or polyester, provides a more fabric-like look and feel, while alcantara is softer.
Alcantara is a polyester-polyurethane blend with a soft, suede-like feel, relatively uncommon in watches, however, increasingly common in designer fashion.
It is chiefly used in high-end automotive upholstery, but originated with luxury fashion accessories.
The high cost and status of alcantara is not due to the base materials but, rather, the difficult manufacturing process.
What’s Inside The Watches?
The company collaborates with two companies in order to obtain movements: the Swiss firm Ronda AG and Citizen subsidiary Miyota. Three different movements power the first collection: the Ronda 6004D, the Miyota JR00 and the Miyota 6P20.
Small second watches use the Ronda 6004D, and retrograde pieces use the Miyota JR00, while moonphase options use the Miyota 6P20.
Learn More About Baume
Though it may be tempting to say this brand is Richemont’s value option, that’s far from the whole picture. Rather, it’s a reimagining of Richemont watch marketing and a new approach to wristwatches.
Since this is a new watchmaker, it has plenty room to grow, and its future directions remain to be seen.
We can expect to see more interesting and unusual collections from this brand as it feels out its young audience.
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