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 Swiss luxury goods group Richemont, which is one of the world’s leading luxury goods companies. Richemont owns several other luxury watch brands, including Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Panerai, among others. Baume & Mercier was acquired by Richemont in 1988 and has been a part of the group ever since. Baume & Mercier produces about 200,000 watches per year.
Baume & Mercier has a longstanding tradition of gifting a watch to high school graduates in Switzerland as a symbol of their academic achievement. The tradition began in 1918 when William Baume, one of the company’s founders, donated a watch to the best graduating student of a local school. The tradition has continued over the years, and Baume & Mercier now partners with several schools across Switzerland to gift watches to high-achieving graduates. This is a unique way that the brand gives back to the community and supports education.
The Baume collection is known for its minimalist design and sustainable materials. The watches feature a clean and simple dial with Arabic numerals and a small seconds sub-dial. The cases are made from sustainable materials such as recycled aluminum, cork, and cotton.
The Clifton collection is inspired by the brand’s heritage and the Art Deco movement. The watches feature classic designs with clean lines, a variety of complications, and elegant dials. The collection includes dress watches, chronographs, and world timers.
The Hampton collection is characterized by its rectangular case and Art Deco design. The watches feature clean dials with Arabic numerals or Roman numerals and a variety of complications such as moon phase and day/date functions.
The Classima collection is known for its classic and timeless design. The watches feature clean and simple dials with Roman numerals and a variety of complications, such as moon phase and power reserve indicators. The collection includes both men’s and women’s watches.
The Riviera collection is characterized by its sporty design and nautical theme. The watches feature a unique bezel with 12 rivets inspired by yacht decks. The dials are clean and easy to read, and the watches are available with a variety of complications, such as chronographs and GMT functions.