Baume & Mercier: An Aesthetic Duo
Famous for the high aesthetic and technical quality of its timepieces, the firm of Baume & Mercier appeals to a young, dynamic, and generally very urban clientele. Founded in 1830 by brothers Louis Victor and Pierre-Joseph-Celestin Baume in the village of Les Bois in Switzerland, the company soon made a name for itself, supplying a select clientele with timepieces that were of much higher than average precision for the time. Yet although many connoisseurs now see the firm as an embodiment of middle-class values of prosperity, in the 1920s- and particularly in the days of the Great Depression- the company faced a number of difficulties that led William Baume, its head at the time, to go into partnership with Paul Mercier. The meeting of these two talents heralded the birth of Baume & Mercier- Geneva.
In the 1930s, the firm gained a reputation for meticulously designed creations, especially ladies’ watches. In the 1940s, it consolidated its leading position in this area, but also established itself in the field of men’s timepieces, presenting collections of steadfastly urban watches and chronographs whose sports design was combined with functions that reflected the aspirations of its consumers. Riding the wave of its success, by the start of the 1960s, the company had consolidated its position and was ready to compete with the greatest names of the day. To level the playing field, all it needed was the proper logo. In 1960, it filed the Greek letter “phi,” symbol of the golden number and by extension the “divine proportion.” In tits way, this little symbol-which immediately graced the dials of Baume & Mercier watches- underlined the firm’s love of balance and watchmaking intelligence. In 1993, the brand was fully merged within the Richemont Group.
The following year, it presented the Hampton Collection, whose refined traits have made it a chic urban watch paradigm to this day. Fifteen years after its launch, the success of this rectangular model based on a 1960 rose gold creation continues unabated. Produced to celebrate this timeless design, although the Hampton Classic XL Open Balance mounts no great challenge to existing watchmaking codes in absolute terms, it does refine them, while protecting its owners’ investment. New brand muses Evangeline Lily and David Duchovny would be the first to confirm this, having both found watches that best reflect their inner nature among the models that made up Baume & Mercier’s different collections.
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