Richemont’s Fashion-watch Experiment —
— 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