Baume & Mercier Interview with CEO Alain Zimmermann
Alain Zimmermann personally presented the 2016 Baume & Mercier collection to our editor-in-chief
“When we were developing the 2016 collection, we naturally took the global economic situation into account. I think this is only natural for any brand that considers itself to be entrepreneurial.
“Firstly, we wanted to present fewer new models, because over the past few years we did a lot of work on establishing a solid foundation for the collection, with the Clifton and the Promesse for the ladies’ collection and especially with Classima last year. So for me any new products should now enrich this story.
“In the Classima collection, we wanted to come up with some new ideas that we were not able to present last year. So we have introduced quartz models, for example, from 1,600 Swiss francs. We have also added small complications such as a GMT as well as the open dial, all for under 3,000 Swiss francs as part of our aim to offer a fine Swiss watch for an affordable price, either as a gift or for yourself.
“We have also worked on something that is far from spectacular but highly effective. Our retailers have taken on board the fact that you can get a Baume & Mercier gold watch for the same price as a steel model from another brand. We offer two new models for gents and ladies in a new 30mm diameter case that has been completely redesigned in the spirit of the Classima for around 5,000 Swiss francs with a self-winding mechanical movement.
“For the Clifton, our aim is to reaffirm the origins of the brand and its horological expertise. We have introduced a small complication in the form of a full calendar chronograph, which is my personal favourite and the one I am wearing. It’s not exuberant but it has a certain level of elegance nevertheless.
“The partnership with Shelby has been an extraordinary success, with the first edition of the Capeland Shelby Cobra already sold out. We are now launching a second edition that has the Cobra DNA but without losing its Baume & Mercier DNA, but we also add a piece of history. The car is a legend, even if you don’t know that it is a Shelby Cobra. What has surprised me most is that the collection has had universal appeal, even on the territory of Ferrari. So in addition to paying tribute to Carroll Shelby we decided to pay tribute to the drivers of the Cobras as well. We therefore chose the Sebring 12 hours race as our inspiration and the legendary factory Shelby team car with chassis number CSX 2128 with its black and yellow livery, which we have incorporated into the design of the watch.
“The ‘final act’ of the SIHH 2016 is feminine. We wanted to be audacious and to do so we realized we needed to look for a younger clientele. Specialists might call them ‘millennials’ or ‘Generation Y’ and when you observe this generation, they are very keen on ‘mix and match’ fashion, combining various bracelets, for example, that correspond to a particular situation or moment in their lives. We wanted to place our watches in this context, where they are not necessarily used to tell the time but instead become a mantra. This is why we developed the Petite Promesse, which has a 22mm diameter and no crown, making it perfect for this ‘mix and match’ culture. We have bold colours and a double-wrap strap as well as a world-first double-wrap metal bracelet.
“In summary we have new products based around our cornerstone of providing a first step on to the luxury watch ladder; a second layer that offers a level of know-how that affirms the brand’s horological expertise and its 186 years of history; a collection to appeal to those looking for a sportier watch and an audacious feminine touch to appeal to a much younger audience.
The Baume & Mercier watchmaking Maison has always had powerful emotional and celebratory connotations, while expressing watchmaking excellence in all its creations. Since 1830, it has embodied a family history in which a passion for detail and a quest for excellence convey a firm commitment: to perpetuate its heritage while being an essential partner of memorable moments. For Baume & Mercier, time is far more than just a sequence of seconds,...Find out more >
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