The Swiss watchmaking tradition confronts itself with the phenomenon of the Millennials – and launches its own recipe that (it hopes) to be a winner.
The Richemont group, which includes some of the most important pieces of watchmaking such as A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, International Watch Company, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Minerva Manufacture, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels has created a new brand, Baume, to relate to this public so different and far from the traditional planet of the luxury watch.
And it did so by winking at the most widespread trends of the 2000 generation.
Meanwhile, the Baume watches are available exclusively online, through a dedicated site, and are fully customizable through a configurator. There are over 2,000 possible variants, so there is very little risk of having a “massified” watch. This has also made it possible to reduce stocks, inventories, and offer a “tailor-made” product, sent directly home in about fifteen days: something that the generation of Amazon will appreciate.
The design of these Baume Custom, which include four types of dial, including the striking Retrograde, is very post-industrial, with references to Dieter Rams and Bauhaus, enhanced by the linear and essential purity of the case. The straps are – of course – eco-chic: cork, alcantara, totally natural vegetable fibres, and so on. Words such as recycling, sustainability, circular economy, vegan-friendly and so on are really the buzzword in the company literature.
But instead of a mechanical movement, these timepieces are fitted with quartz calibres (and what happens with the exhausted batteries?), obviously to contain the costs that would otherwise have reduced, and by a great deal, their appeal. Another model, the Iconic line, with its recycled aluminium case, is in fact offered with an automatic Miyota movement (and here, too, there could be a disquisition), which costs about twice as much as the Custom line.
The Richemont group has invested heavily in communication and the creation of collateral events, precisely to touch an audience that is usually outside the common logic of luxury: to make an example, the brand was launched in a pop-up location in California near the sea, in cooperation with Waste Free Oceans, an NGO that collects plastic from the oceans to recycle it into design objects.
In short, a marketing operation that is certainly interesting and well thought out, but that from a strictly technical point of view shows a series of important limits that do not fully do justice to the technical tradition of the group. It is clear that these watches are aimed at those who have never worn anything but smartwatch, and wants to be a kind of springboard to other (and far more important) references.
To posterity (or rather, to the public) the arduous sentence.