On the se­crets of clas­sic de­sign and the per­fect proportions.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Special Feature - De­sign di­rec­tor of Baume et Mercier

ESQUIRE: How did you get in­volved with the watch in­dus­try?

ALEXAN­DRE PERALDI: By chance. It was at an artis­tic and tech­ni­cal school in Paris. I was work­ing more with fur­ni­ture, but I learned a lot about aes­thet­ics. I started there 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.

ESQ: You have been with the brand for almost 15 years. What changes have you seen in Baume et Mercier in terms of de­sign?

AP: 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 is 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.

ESQ: How do you main­tain the clas­sic style?

AP: By not chang­ing the colours or shapes that iden­tify Baume. We only fo­cus on the de­tails. Also the goal is still to keep the price com­pet­i­tive; 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 like the Clifton col­lec­tion, a union with our his­tory.

ESQ: Baume et Mercier is the sec­ond old­est Richemont group. Do you con­sult his­tor­i­cal files to find in­spi­ra­tion?

AP: No, it’s hard. 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, but just main­tain­ing our tra­di­tions. Now we com­mu­ni­cate our story more, which is awe­some. We were one of the first brands to de­sign watches spe­cially for women, to cre­ate the first pocket watch for women. We still try to be a brand tar­get­ing 50 per­cent for women and 50 per­cent for men.

ESQ: Baume et Mercier al­ways man­ages to main­tain an es­tab­lished line.

AP: 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.

ESQ: What about the leg­i­bil­ity of your watch?

AP: It is a weight which falls within the com­fort ob­jec­tive. Read­abil­ity is very im­por­tant be­cause a watch is made to tell the time, so if it is im­pos­si­ble to see it loses its main func­tion. The new Clifton model’s dial is sim­ple and clean, there is noth­ing to dis­tract you.

ESQ: And proportions?

AP: Very im­por­tant. Almost al­ways use the golden ra­tio, which was used in the past to build the pyra­mids, and 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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