178 years of watchmaking expertise by Baume & Mercier

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Published by 571 on July 13th, 2009 at 05:14 p.m..
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  • Summary

The new William Baume Collection is a tribute to time and its measurement. Through three superb Haute Horlogerie models, it evokes the tradition of one of the ten oldest Swiss watch brands, Baume & Mercier, whose origins date back to 1830. This expertise was admirably embodied by William Baume, the mastermind behind the modern-day brand and its successful bid to earn the watch industry’s highest quality certification: the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, granted in 1921.

It was in 1830 that the “Frères Baume” watchmaking “comptoir” was founded in the Swiss Jura village of Les Bois. In 1918, the company became Baume & Mercier in Geneva under the leadership of William Baume, representing the third generation of a watch company that was one of the most important of its era. The Baume brand had indeed distinguished itself worldwide since 1830 by the excellence and innovation displayed in its timepieces.

It won gold medals at the Universal Exhibitions in Paris, London, Philadelphia and Geneva with its complication watches – tourbillons, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars – and was repeatedly successful in what was then the most famous chronometry competition of them all: the one held by the Kew Teddington Observatory London. In 1892, Baume won the absolute precision record – that was to remain unbeaten for 10 years – for its keyless chronometer with tourbillon escapement. Such is the rich horological heritage that the William Baume Collection now celebrates by offering contemporary reinterpretations of Haute Horlogerie models that are an integral part of the Baume & Mercier heritage.

William A. Baume (1885-1956)
William Baume is the modern mastermind behind the Baume & Mercier brand. He ushered the “Frères Baume” company – founded in 1830 by his grandfather Louis Victor Baume and grand-uncle Pierre Joseph Célestin Baume – firmly into the 20th century.

An exceptionally talented watchmaker driven by the innovative ideas characteristic of the early 20th century, William Baume associated with watchmaker-jeweler Paul Mercier in 1918 to create the Baume & Mercier brand in Geneva. The new company successfully combined traditional and contemporary watchmaking, drawing inspiration from the latest technical and aesthetic trends that it interpreted in keeping with the noblest rules of watchmaking craftsmanship.

Loyal to his forerunners’ motto of “creating only watches of the highest quality”, William Baume was to perpetuate their know-how with passion and innovation.

In the midst of the “années folles”– a period of sweeping changes marked by spectacular technical break-throughs and unprecedented creative effervescence – William Baume and Paul Mercier defined a brand philosophy that is now more modern than ever: mastering Haute Horlogerie in order to dedicate it to the cause of timeless design and elegance. Such is the founding philosophy of
Baume & Mercier, now admirably illustrated in the William Baume Collection.

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