Article By: Logan Hannen
What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to take a look at the newest brand to join the ranks of the Richemont Group (or rather, to be born of them) – Baume.
If the name sounds familiar, it should; the brand is, in a legal sense, a sub-brand under the larger Baume et. Mercier umbrella. It is going to be run by several executives coming over from Baume et. Mercier, including Marie Chassot, who has been tasked with leading the brand. This is, interestingly, the first time that a brand will have been entirely launched from within the Richemont Group, rather than acquired by them.
Baume’s philosophy has largely been described as targeting “a mindset” more so than a specific age group. This mindset is one in which only recycled or sustainable materials and methods are used in production of their watches. Their flagship model, the Iconic, features a case made of aluminum, some of which has been recycled, and a strap made from recycled plastic. The movement is an unspecified Miyota automatic caliber, and the watch comes in at 41mm.
The Baume Iconic Series
The other model line announced with the launch is the Custom Timepiece Series, which will give consumers the ability to use an online configurator to build their ideal Baume timepiece. Currently, the only offerings in the custom category will be either Miyota or Ronda quartz movements. The Custom series watches are being offered in either 35mm cases or 41mm.
Baume Watches Custom Series Examples
Iconic – starting at $1,100
Custom – $560 (time/time and date only) or $630 (quartz complications)
Alright, so with all of the facts out of the way, let’s dive into what I think of this brand based solely on what it is that Richemont has given us to work with. In principle, I think the brand is a brilliant idea. With the sheer amount of resources that the Swiss watch industry must be using each year, I can absolutely see a need for something more sustainable and environmentally friendly. That being said, there are a couple of issues with the brand as it is right now.
The first – that better be a super high grade Miyota movement in that Iconic watch, because $1,100 for anything less than top grade just seems a bit of a stretch to me. The second – they may be pushing the idea a bit too far as a start. Right now, the strongest word I can associate with some of the options in their customizer is “novelty” (referring specifically to the 100% cork straps in this case). It’s a solid idea, but without a more traditional looking offering that could mirror the formality of a leather strap (I wonder if you can emboss a pattern on cork), it might be alienating to those who want to dive into the brand feet first, but need something like a crocodile strap for their work life. Since it isn’t 100% clear how the lugs work just yet, though they do appear fixed to the case, it seems unlikely that it’s just as simple as “add your own after you buy it.”
One final note, and it is a total nitpick – the layout of their moonphase is beautiful, but 35mm is just too small for me right now, and not offering it in a larger case size is definitely disappointing.