Baume and Mercier Watches A Core Group of Swiss Watchmaking


by Joseph Levy
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier is part of a core group of Swiss watchmakers; this core group of watchmakers also includes Cartier and Piaget. Founded in 1830, Baume & Mercier is currently owned by a company known as Richemont, a Swiss luxury goods company that was not established until 1988. Presently, Baume & Mercier has goods representation in seventy-five countries around the world. Unlike some luxury watchmakers, Baume & Mercier produces a fair number of watches each year, around 200,000.

The World Wars affected many watch companies, not the least of which was Baume & Mercier

Members of the Baume family, in 1834 Les Bois, founded what would be known as the Societe Baume Feres. In the beginning stages, the family focused their attention and energies on enameled pocket watches. Ten years later, in 1844, Joseph Celestin Baume traveled to England in order to try to set up business relations in this country. In Australia and New Zealand, Baume’s watches were already being introduced with signed names such as Waterloo, Diviko and Sirdar. In an 1893 competition, one of the family’s timepieces won the year’s timing competitions in the Kew-Teddington Observatory competition with an impressive score of 91.9 out of a possible high score of 100 points. It was not until 1912 that William Baume met Paul Mercier, a jeweler and watchmaker, in Haas. This meeting would later result in the merger of the two businesses and the establishment of the Baume & Mercier company. The paperwork was officially signed on the 26th of November in the year 1918. A few short years later, in 1921, Baume & Mercier was awarded the Poincon de Geneve. The Poincon de Geneve award is recognition of flawless quality products, a very big achievement for Baume & Mercier and indeed any watchmaker. In 1937, William Baume retired. His retirement was followed by that of Paul Mercier. At this time, the esteemed jeweler Constantin de Gorski joined Baume & Mercier.

The World Wars affected many watch companies, not the least of which was Baume & Mercier. After the Second World War, Baume & Mercier began to focus on conventional men’s watches, jeweled ladies’ watches and sports chronographic timepieces. The Piaget watch family took control of Baume & Mercier in 1965, when one of the world’s thinnest calendar watches was produced. Mechanical watch production was ceased by Baume & Mercier in 1983. Five years later in Paris, Christian and Yves Piaget sold sixty percent of their stock to Piaget and Baume & Mercier was sold to Cartier Monde S.A.. Cartier became the sole owner of the Piaget and Baume & Mercier companies in the year 1993. In more recent years, Baume & Mercier has become known for their fashion-forward thinking and impressively designed timepieces.

The old Baume & Mercier watch models include Classiqe, Riviera Baumematik, Shogun, Formula, Medicus and Transpacific. Recent years have seen the following models: Hampton Classic and the Hampton Classic Diamond, Hampton Milleis Chronograph, the Hampton Milleis Gold and the Hampton Milleis, the Hampton City Chronograph, the Hampton City and the Hampton Spirit, Capeland S Chronograph, the Capeland S Ladies and the Capeland S Ladies Diamond, the Classima Executives XL Dual Time, the Classima Executives XL Small Seconds, the Classima Executives White Dial, the Classima Executives Black Dial, the Classima Subsidiary Seconds and the Classima Sweep Seconds, and the Iléa.