Baume & Mercier

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Baume & Mercier Riviera XXL Chrono Diver
© Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier is a Swiss watch manufacturer, currently one of the Specialist Watchmakers of Richemont.

History

Baume & Mercier traces its history to the Les Bois watch shop opened in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume. Frères Baume opened a branch in London in 1851 under the name, "Baume Brothers", and the company's sales grew in the English-speaking world. With sales across the British Empire, Baume also produced watches under the names, Waterloo, Diviko, and Sirdar.

In 1918, under the leadership of William Baume, Frères Baume brought in the Geneva watchmaker Paul Mercier, son of a tsarist officer with the name Tchereditchenko. This partnership was agreed on November 26, 1918. Since 1921, the name of the company was Baume & Mercier, Fabrication Genève. William Baume and Paul Mercier retired from the company in 1937, leaving it to jeweler Constantin Gorski. Shortly thereafter, in 1945, watch manufacturing was moved to La Côte-aux-Fées.

Baume & Mercier established itself in the post-war years as a maker of upscale watches for men and ladies. Many of the former were complicated chronograph and calendar models, using Landeron and Valjoux ebauches, but thinner dress watches were also produced. On the ladies side, the Marquise was their leading model.

The Piaget family became involved in 1963 and had a clear ownership by 1965, forming PBM International. This gave them a mass-market brand below the exclusive Piaget. After this, the production was partially shifted to the United States. This was driven by Piaget's strong market there thanks to Gerry Grinberg, who also represented Corum. Also in 1965, Baume & Mercier introduced the slimmest self-winding wristwatch with date display, driven by Piaget and Grinberg's historic association with thin watches.

In the 1970s, Baume & Mercier increasingly focused on tuning fork and quartz watches. Baume & Mercier's "Tronosonic" would use the ESA Mosaba movement. The 1973 Riviera was overlooked at the time but now is seen as a historic model: This steel sports model came on the heels of the famous Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and had a similar integrated design but with a 12-sided bezel. In the United States, the brand often appeared alongside others distributed by Grinberg's North American Watch, Piaget, Corum, and Concord and was seen as an entry-level alternative at outlets like Tiffany's.

By 1982, Baume & Mercier had introduced their Avant Garde line. Similar to the fashionable sisters Concord Delirium and Piaget Polo, these watches featured an integrated case and bracelet with lateral lines that ran across the bezel and dial. The company also brought back the Riviera line, with the 1988 Riviera Complication gaining attention with its complicated calendar and moon phase dial. In 1988 Cartier purchased 60% of Baume & Mercier along with a share of Piaget. Cartier Group would become the base for today's Richemont Group, with Baume & Mercier serving as an entry-luxury brand.

The current model range is characterized by stylish, elegant watch ranges. The best known was the watch classic Riviera with its 12-cornered bezel. Another successful model is the rectangular watch Hampton.

In 2017, Baume & Mercier introduced Clifton Manual 1830, becoming the first Richemont company to sell a silicon balance spring. Their next technical innovation came in 2018, with the Clifton Baumatic. This in-house automatic movement, Cal. BM12-1975M, features the same silicon "Twinspir" balance spring as well as a silicon escape wheel and lever contributing to a 5-day power reserve.

Address

Baume & Mercier, Branch of Richemont International S.A.
50, chemin de la Chênaie
CH–1293 Bellevue, Geneva

Tel. +41 022 / 999 51 51
Fax +41 022 / 999 50 50

Weblinks