Founded in 1830 in the Swiss Jura mountains (but officially named Baume & Mercier in 1918), Baume & Mercier always focused on creating shaped watches rather than round timepieces and was one of the first brands to develop a strong women’s watch collection in the early 20th century. Today, under the auspices of the Richemont Group luxury conglomerate, the brand produces top-notch men’s and women’s watches at a great quality/value proposition. It offers small complications that include moon-phase watches, calendars in collections that include the Clifton, the Hampton (an iconic rectangular watch) and more.
Baume & Mercier’s story started in 1830 when two brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume, decided to open a watch dealership in a small village in the Swiss Jura called Le Bois.
The brothers’ business proliferated. By creating only the most exceptional timepieces using the latest innovations, they built an excellent reputation for themselves. Their motto was “Accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality.”
They rapidly realized that there was business to be made outside Switzerland and set up “Baume Brothers” in London. They soon expanded throughout the British Empire, and by the late 19th century, had established their reputation internationally as watchmakers.
At the time, “Baume Brothers” was known for its chronographs and grand complication watches, for which they won numerous awards. Their timepieces were extremely precise, and in 1892 they won an award for a tourbillon movement whose precision remained unmatched for over ten years.
In 1918 William Baume entered into a partnership with Paul Mercier, founding Baume & Mercier, Gènene. By 1919 they had already been awarded the highest distinction of their times – the “Poinçon de Genève” quality mark.
Paul Mercier knew the importance of keeping up with the times and grasped the importance of women’s liberation. He created several exquisite watches specifically for women proving that a women’s watch is not just a miniature version of a man’s.
During the 1050s and 60s, Baume & Mercier continually pursued the balance symbolized by the Greek letter Phi, the current Baume & Mercier logo, laying the groundwork for what is now considered the traditional round watch. They followed with a variety of chronographs with additional functions like triple date or moon phase indications.
During the 1970s, Baume & Mercier unveiled a host of uniquely shaped watches, such as the Galaxie and the Stardust, which won the prestigious award Golden Rose of Baden-Baden. In 1973, Baume & Mercier presented the Riviera, one of the first steel sports watches in the world.
In 1988, the brand joined the Vendôme group, now Richemont, and continued to build its collections. Today Baume & Mercier is present in over 75 countries worldwide.
Baume & Mercier is owned by the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA who also own brands like Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Baume & Mercier produces about 200,000 watches per year. Women make up a third of Baume & Mercier buyers.