BET­TER BY DE­SIGN

Alexan­dre Peraldi, de­sign di­rec­tor of Baume et Mercier, on the se­crets of clas­sic de­sign and the im­por­tance of per­fect pro­por­tions.

Esquire Singapore Watch Guide - - THE INTERVIEWS -

“My goal is to cre­ate new watches to help fu­ture de­sign­ers, in 20 or 30 years, for in­spi­ra­tion. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­tinue this legacy”.

“It was by chance. I was at an artis­tic and tech­ni­cal school in Paris, work­ing more with fur­ni­ture, but I learned a lot about aes­thet­ics. I started with Cartier and de­signed my first watch for Yves Saint Lau­rent. It was the change I needed. When one wants to be a good jazz mu­si­cian, one has to learn clas­si­cal mu­sic first for 10 years. That was my case, I learned the clas­sic Cartier de­sign and then joined Baume to play jazz.”

“There have been no ma­jor de­sign changes; we are a clas­sic brand, that’s in our DNA. When de­sign­ing a watch, half the prod­ucts are close to the his­tory of the brand and the other half are a new pro­posal. It is im­por­tant to keep that, as it iden­ti­fies the brand in all cre­ations. My goal is to cre­ate new watches to help fu­ture de­sign­ers, in 20 or 30 years, for in­spi­ra­tion. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­tinue this legacy.”

“We do not change the colours or shapes that iden­tify Baume. We only fo­cus on the de­tails. Also, the goal is still to keep the price com­pet­i­tive, so it’s a com­fort­able watch. For ex­am­ple, the Hamp­ton col­lec­tion from two or three years ago was not a suc­cess, but it was a good les­son for us to go back to clas­sic lines such as the Clifton col­lec­tion, for a union with our his­tory.”

“For many years, we used old pieces for in­spi­ra­tion, but for the past three or four years we went fur­ther. Now when we are in­spired by a model, we try to show that we are not stuck in the past and just main­tain­ing our tra­di­tions. Now we com­mu­ni­cate our story more, which is awe­some. We were one of the first brands to de­sign watches es­pe­cially for women, cre­at­ing the first pocket watch for a woman. We still try to be a brand tar­get­ing 50 per­cent women and 50 per­cent men.”

“We try to be cre­ative, but at the same time af­ford­able. The de­sign has cer­tain ob­jec­tives. The first is that it needs to be a cre­ative watch, but not ex­trav­a­gant; we have to be clas­sic and sub­tle, but also cre­ate de­tails that make it at­trac­tive. The sec­ond is the ease of use, as there are many beau­ti­ful watches that are very com­fort­able to wear. For me the best com­pli­ment one can give a Baume watch is not the beauty of it, but rather to for­get that you were wear­ing it. The third is com­fort, per­haps most im­por­tantly. It has to be ac­ces­si­ble and a good price. His­tor­i­cally we are a lux­ury brand with the best qual­ity, the best dura­bil­ity, great de­sign, but with the best price. When we make a tour­bil­lon it is cheap com­pared to the com­pe­ti­tion. With th­ese three goals in mind, we work on the de­sign. But our first thought is al­ways the aes­thet­ics of the piece.”

“It’s very im­por­tant. We al­most al­ways use the golden ra­tio, which was used in the past to build the pyra­mids, sculp­tures and paint­ings. It is also found through­out na­ture. I dis­like the word “per­fect”, but that’s the clos­est. This year we launched a small model col­lec­tion and it was es­sen­tial to main­tain the cor­rect ra­tio.”

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