Talking Time With Baume Et Mercier COO Daniel Braillard
How he plans to expand the Swiss brand’s presence in the Australian market.
As displayed by the elegance, in-house sophistication and quality of the standout Clifton Baumatic Collection — Baume et Mercier proves you can have your cake and eat it too. And then go back for seconds. We caught up with the historic Swiss brand’s COO to talk future plans, accessibility and its increasing drive into the growing Australian market.
Are we right in stating that a cloud of misconception sometimes surrounds the Baume et Mercier brand?
Baume et Mercier is a complicated name with a long history and, yes, people believe it’s a very expensive brand and think, ‘oh,
I’ll never be able to afford it.’ But, really, the purpose of Baume et Mercier is to be the perfect entry point into the luxury watch market.
Central to the growing concept of affordable luxury then?
What we talk about when we say affordable luxury is that it’s not mandatory – nobody needs a watch. But it’s important for people with less money to have access to luxury watches, to experience a beautiful watch that will serve them for a long period of time and for a very fair price.
B&M does sail under the radar a little — somewhat the quiet achiever. We wonder if that can be a positive thing?
To be perfectly honest, I would love if more people were aware of the type of quality that we present to the market and the type of work that we put into these products every day. For example, with the Baumatic movement [BM13-1975A], we have worked for years to achieve such a movement with all the specificities, again, at a very reasonable price.
You mention in-house movements there, is it fair to say the Baumatic BM12 – 1975A was a real gamechanger?
We were challenged for years about why we didn’t have an in-house movement – but for me it was nonsense to build a movement just for our own ego. Maybe if we did, it would be more expensive because you’ve done it in-house, maybe the quality will go down because it’s not easy and for me the best thing to do was to do nothing … But seven years ago, when the research and innovation department came to me with a proof of concept on new technologies, new materials, we realised it was time to develop a new movement that will solve the four big headaches of the watch industry – random inaccuracy, not enough power reserve, magnetism, lubrication of the mechanism.
How does Baume et Mercier view the Australian market?
We’re certainly trying to develop our presence here, even if we know there are some specificities to the market – we know they’re keen for sporty watches, easy-to-wear, but at the same time they know more and more about watches. Though far away from Switzerland, people [in Australia] are more connected and informed.
What lies ahead – can we learn of some key 2020 plans and initiatives?
We’re working on new collections, and we’re continuing to work on projects around the Baumatic. And the rest, you’ll just have to wait until April.