Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier is a Swiss luxury watch brand whose origins can be traced back to 1830 when Louis Victor and Pierre Joseph Célestin Baume founded “Frères Baume” watchmaking house in the Swiss Jura mountains. The brand Baume & Mercier Genève is born of the William Baume and Paul Mercier partnership in 1920’s. The brand is currently owned by Richemont group.

History of Baume & Mercier Watches

In 1830 brothers Louis Victor and Pierre-Joseph-Célestin Baume founded the house of the same name and registered it as an agency in the Les Bois village, in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Until 1840 the house manufactured watches with escapement wheels then introduced the cylinder escapement Lépine calibre to the Jura Mountains. Possessing a keen business sense, the Baume brothers looked to set up in a major European capital city. They chose London. Pierre-Joseph-Célestin Baume went to set up there in 1847 and founded “Baume Brothers” in 1851.

In 1869 Gold pocket watch, four parts, hours and minutes. Mechanical movement with manual charging transmitted by spring clip, Lépine-type bridge, cylinder escapement, flat hairspring, three-armed annular monometallic balance wheel. Offered by Louis Victor Baume to his daughter Mélina.

In 1880 The second generation took over. Alcide Eugène son of Louis Victor, managed the Swiss entity and Arthur Joseph that of London. Sensible entrepreneurs, sensitive to the policy of their elders, they took part in building the railway linking Chaux-de-Fonds to Saignelégier, not hesitating to have the line diverted to optimise delivery of their production. An example of their clearsightedness that allowed them to emerge from obscurity and quickly acquire international recognition. In 1885 In London, Baume & Co triumphed at the Kew observatory chronometry competition scoring an exceptional 91.9 out of 100 for a “keyless chronometer watch, tourbillon movement.” Note the record was only beaten 10 years later.

In 1912 Paul Tchereditchenko who became a Swiss national and adopted the name Mercier. He was the son of a tsarist officer and an embroideress from Worth. Hired as a lift attendant at the age of 10, he spent all his leisure moments learning, and climbed all the rungs of the hierarchical ladder. At the age of thirty-five he spoke seven languages fluently. The Haas watchmakers hired him thanks to his business skill. He quickly became business manager.

In 1920 Baume & Mercier Geneva was born from the alliance of two men, William Baume, talented watchmaker, grandson of the founder and Paul Mercier.

Less than a year after registering the brand, Baume & Mercier received the greatest reward attributed by the Geneva Watch making Senior Committee: the poinçon de Genève (Geneva hallmark) “Diploma attesting that the Baume & Mercier Company recorded the highest number of hallmark stamped pieces at the State Official Bureau”. Baume & Mercier’s reputation was now established, beyond frontiers.

The Roaring Twenties were particularly rich in designs for Baume & Mercier, which dominated all the continents with watches enriched with precious stones, worn on a chain or around the wrist.  The round, square or rectangular bangles relegated the classic onion-shape to oblivion. At a time ( 1940) when various different shapes were developing, both in the fields of architecture, art as well as furniture, Baume & Mercier affirmed itself as a genuine designer of elegant watches in harmony with the silhouettes of haute couture and developed an avant-garde spirit.

In 1946 Baume & Mercier issued its first watch catalogue intended for consumers. In 1948 Baume & Mercier created the watch known as “Marquise”: a dial perfectly integrated into a bangle, without a clasp, just like slave bangles. Its success lasted until the 1970’s. Always looking for the perfect balance between beauty and perfection, the brand was also characterized in the 50’s by splendid chronographs and continued producing models with small highly useful chronographs.

In October 1964, the brand registered the Greek letter PHI, symbol of the golden number and Leonard de Vinci’s theory of proportion. The letter PHI is present on all Baume & Mercier designs. Creation of the Tronosonic watch In 1971, first tuning fork watch that took the brand into the electronic era. In 1973 Baume & Mercier was awarded a prize for its creativity in jewellery watches by winning the Baden Baden Golden Rose in Dusseldorf with the Galaxie, Mimosa and Stardust models. 1973 also witnessed the birth of the Riviera watch, which has become the brand’s major classic.

Creation of the “Linea” watch (in 1987) that quickly became a reference in the world of Fine Watch making. In 1988, Baume & Mercier brand was acquired by Vendôme ( Now Richemont) Group.

The Baume brothers’ original maxim remains unchanged at Les Brenets, Baume & Mercier’s watch production atelier, located in the Swiss watchmaking arc. An ultramodern assembly unit where day after day, century-old watchmaking skills are executed amidst the panoramic fir tree landscape of the Jura region.

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