BETTER BY DESIGN
Alexandre Peraldi, design director of Baume et Mercier, on the secrets of classic design and the importance of perfect proportions.
“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.”