Richemont’s Fash­ion-watch Ex­per­i­ment —

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— When Richemont an­nounced it was en­ter­ing the af­ford­able lux­ury or “fash­ion watch” seg­ment with Baume (sans Mercier), it was a surprise for a num­ber of fac­tors. Not only is the mar­ket share of this seg­ment rapidly clos­ing due to the so­cial me­dia savvi­ness of brands such as Daniel Welling­ton, but smart­watches are rapidly en­croach­ing on ter­rain that was typ­i­cal of the quartz-buy­ing, de­sign-friendly au­di­ence that Baume is tar­get­ing. And, what was most sur­pris­ing for watch en­thu­si­asts was that Richemont was giv­ing up its Swiss-made des­ig­na­tion and utiliz­ing Miy­ota move­ments (quartz and me­chan­i­cal) pur­chased from Ja­pan’s Cit­i­zen Group.

A large part of Baume’s ap­peal is based on two fac­tors that dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self from other “fash­ion watch” brands: sus­tain­abil­ity and per­son­al­iza­tion. All un­used com­po­nents are re­cy­cled, there are no an­i­mal-based prod­ucts or pre­cious ma­te­ri­als in­volved in the pro­duc­tion, and ad­di­tional items, such as the in­ter­change­able straps, are made from up­cy­cled fab­rics such as sus­tain­ably sourced cork, cot­ton and linen. Baume also of­fers a time­piece builder on its web­site where you can cus­tom­ize a watch off a base of your choice. There are over 2,000 dif­fer­ent de­sign op­tions so that dis­tinc­tion will be key when tar­get­ing a younger de­mo­graphic. With all that in mind, it’s im­por­tant to note that while Baume shares a first name with Baume & Mercier and the two are tech­ni­cally re­lated, the com­pa­nies will be sep­a­rately man­aged and won’t share sim­i­lar de­signs or con­cepts. A few ex­ec­u­tives from B&M are now at Baume but that is where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end.

Two dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions are cur­rently avail­able. The Iconic Se­ries, which looks to be the stand­alone flag­ship model at 41 mm, is made of re­cy­cled alu­minum and fea­tures a reg­u­la­tor dial lay­out with a large min­utes hand, a smaller 24-hour in­di­ca­tor, a small sec­onds sub­dial to the side and a crown placed at 12 o’clock. It’s also par­tially skele­tonized, ex­pos­ing the Miy­ota au­to­matic move­ment inside. It’s priced at $1,100. The sec­ond col­lec­tion, dubbed the Cus­tom Time­piece Se­ries, is com­pletely per­son­al­iz­able with a va­ri­ety of sizes, dial lay­outs and ma­te­ri­als avail­able. It also fea­tures the 12 o’clock crown. As of right now, all the watches in this se­ries are pow­ered by Miy­ota quartz move­ments and start at $560. All in all, this new Richemont ini­tia­tive is an­other ex­am­ple of how the watch in­dus­try is chang­ing.

Baume Cus­tom Time­piece Moon­phase

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