On his recent visit to Australia, Alexandre Peraldi, Design and Product Director, Baume & Mercier took some time out, for a little watch talk with us. Excerpts…
Tell us a little bit about the DNA of Baume & Mercier. What is it about Baume & Mercier that appeals to people?
First of all, it is a very old brand. It is a classic brand. There is a touch of originality. We try to be classic and not boring. I could also speak about what we are not…because that’s easier. We are not extravagant and we are not a fashion brand.
We are a luxury brand and quite relaxed. In fact, one of the key targets that we give our designers is comfort. That means, you have to be comfortable at the wrist when you wear a Baume & Mercier and pay attention that the aesthetic and the shape is very comfortable on the wrist.
We focus on the smaller details for the owner of the watch and do not design the watch to be recognized from 10 metres. There are many brands who do this, but it is not in our purpose. We try to be discreet, but at the same time, have some small detail and small finishing, decoration and cover that you discover step by step. It’s not easy to do that as a designer. For example, for the Clifton collection, which was essentially a functional sport collection, we also needed some details for the watch to be worn for formal and informal occasions where the sport functionality was not required. For the design team to incorporate that in the given cost is challenging. To manage the aesthetic and technical content is a challenge! Many people tell us that their very first important watch has been a Baume & Mercier. It continues like that.
How long does it take to create a watch from idea to conceptualization?
For the Shelby Cobra it took us a long time. However, the last edition was very fast as we had a long time between the first and the latest one to study the DNA of the Shelby Cobra. The last edition was really fascinating. When we started the project, I met Peter Brock, the designer of the car, and there was a very good feeling between us. We shared our vision of what the watch should be and in less than six months we were able to design exactly what we wanted. Normally, it takes between 12 and 18 months. For this one, due to the previous editions and also because of working together with Peter, it was faster and much more fun as well.
Care to give us an SIHH 2018 teaser?
I would like to do it honestly, but unfortunately I cannot. Haha. We will continue with the Clifton collection. It is a surprise. We were not really expected in the field of sport watches, but here we are…so yes, it’s a surprise. We have a new very important launch as well. As a teaser, I can say we will make a twist. There will be a twist in the Clifton collection as well. We have finished our production for SIHH 2018.
Baume & Mercier is a part of the Richemont group. Do you benefit from the other brands that are a part of the group as well?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. It is good because it is a huge group that is very important. For example, sometimes we share the same suppliers or distributors. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it is not. For the next project we needed to have the help of the group. So, it was really good. I prefer it that way. When you have a good year, it’s good for everybody and when you have a bad year, it’s not so bad as you have the groups’ support.
Could we expect a special edition for Australia anytime soon?
We take time to adapt in a country. When we design a special collection, there is a lot of opportunity. We do launch special collections for markets, and if there is a demand it is a good thing to do. The Clifton Club collection is really doing well here. We do have some options there for a special edition and have also done special editions with the Cobra.