Baume & Mercier’s story begins in 1830. Brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume opened a comptoir horloger (watch dealership) in Les Bois, a village in the Swiss Jura.
The Baume brothers’ business grew rapidly, and true to their motto, “accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality”, they forged a fine reputation through the creation of exceptional timepieces featuring the latest innovations.
Keenly aware of the potential represented by new territories, the company set up a Branch in London under the name “Baume Brothers”. It soon expanded throughout the British Empire. By the late 19th century, the company had already acquired a solid international reputation as becoming an inescapable watchmaking player broad.
At the time, the brand was best known for its chronographs and grand complication models. The company won ten Grand Prix awards and seven gold medals at international exhibition across the entire world. Its timepieces demonstrated a rare accuracy. In 1892, Baume won a competition held by the Kew Observatory near London with a chronometer pocket-watch equipped with a tourbillon movement of which the precision was to remain unmatched for over ten years.
Creativity and avant-garde
At the beginning of the 1920s, the company director William Baume joined forces with Paul Mercier. Together, they founded Baume & Mercier, Genève, in 1918. The firm soon became one of the most active in the field of wristwatches by offering remarkably balanced special-shaped models.
In 1919, it was awarded the highest international distinction of the time in the shape of the “Poinçon de Genève” quality hallmark.
During the Roaring Twenties and throughout the Art Deco period, the brand established its style and left an indelible mark on watch design.
Paul Mercier knew that it was essential for the brand to live in step with its time and embrace change.
The firm grasped the importance of women’s emancipation and came to regard their desires as an unquenchable source of inspiration.
In the late 1940s, Baume & Mercier launched one of its most successful models: the Marquise. Impelled by this creative momentum, the brand creates a number of exquisitely creative and amazingly modern ladies’ watches. It thereby proved that watches for women are not merely miniaturized and simplistic interpretations of masculine models.
At the same time, Baume & Mercier was becoming known among a public looking for new products, and launched its first innovatively shaped wristwatches. These chic, urban watches kept step with life’s many special moments by embodying an art of living instilled with inimitable elegance.
During the 1950s and 60s, the company, constantly in pursuit of the equilibrium symbolized by the Greek letter Phi – the current Baume & Mercier logo – laid the groundwork of what is now considered the archetypal traditional round watch. It thus launched various chronographs equipped with functions such as moon phase or triple date displays.
Constantly demonstrating its creativity, Baume & Mercier unveiled innovatively shaped timepieces during the 1970s, such as the Galaxie and the Stardust, which won prestigious international awards including the Golden Rose of Baden-Baden. In 1973, Baume & Mercier brought out the Riviera, one of the world's first steel sports watches. In 1988, the firm joined the Vendôme group, now Richemont, and enriched its collection with a number of successful models which immediately established themselves as the brand’s flagship lines.