Baume & Mercier’s story begins in 1830 with the founding of a family business. Brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume opened a comptoir horloger (watch dealership) in Les Bois, a village in the Swiss Jura. Their company developed rapidly and earned an excellent reputation by creating exceptional models incorporating cutting-edge innovations. Loyal to their motto “Accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality”, the Frères Baume company enjoyed rapid growth. Louis- Victor was a true visionary who already intuitively sensed women’s interest in watchmaking and gifted his daughter Mélina a gold pocket-watch in 1869.
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, spanning India, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Burma. By the late 19th century, the company had already acquired a solid international reputation and was becoming a noted watchmaking player abroad. At the time, the brand was best known for its chronographs and its grand complication models, including minute repeaters, calendars and tourbillons. Thanks to its time measuring instruments, the company won ten Grand Prix awards and seven gold medals at international exhibitions and shows in Paris, Melbourne, Zurich, London, Amsterdam and Chicago.
As well as being beautiful and highly complex, Baume watches also demonstrated a rare degree of precision. They set accuracy records and won various timekeeping competitions, particularly the precision timing trials held by the Kew Observatory near London. In 1892, Baume won the latter competition with a chronometer pocket-watch equipped with a tourbillon movement of which the precision was to remain unmatched for over ten years.
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 – a token of exceptional craftsmanship and quality.
Energized by the arrival of Paul Mercier, the company laid the foundation of a corporate philosophy that is still as timely as ever. From this point onwards, horological mastery was embodied through timeless elegance. A true trailblazer in this market segment, Baume & Mercier made a name for itself among a public eager for new products by launching the first “shaped” (meaning other than round) wristwatches.
To discover more: www.baume-et-mercier.com