Two short years ago, Baume was just the seed for an idea. Today, it is very much reality. Heir to a long legacy in watchmaking, it has chosen to make its own way outside traditional lines. It has turned its back on Swiss-Made, gold and diamonds without compromising on quality. It’s vegan-friendly and an advocate of sustainable consumption that favours natural materials, recycling and reuse. But who is this new arrival and how is it different?
To start off, Baume is a brand with two collections: Iconic and Custom Timepieces. Breaking with the classic distribution model, its watches are only sold online at www.baumewatches.com and in a handful of concept stores.
Custom Timepieces, watch of a thousand faces
The Custom Timepieces range offers multiple personalisation options via an online 3D configurator. Proposed in two sizes (35mm and 41mm) with three cases, four (quartz) movements, three dials, three hand colours and nine straps in four materials (linen, cork, cotton and alcantara with only natural dyes), a single series can have 2,160 different appearances. Rather than present only a limited choice of options, the brand deliberately encourages customers to co-create the timepiece that matches their tastes and moods, adding and removing features until they get the exact result they want. That could mean a 35mm or a 41mm case; hands might be coloured steel, gold or black on a blue, white, black or grey dial. The strap could be cork or cotton. Maybe alcantara. Or linen. And that’s even before choosing which complication to add.
Indeed, Baume has nothing to envy other brands in terms of quality. Functions on offer include a calendar with moon phases, a date display with small seconds and a retrograde day. Prices start at €490. After ticking all the boxes, customers have just ten days to wait before the object of their desire is delivered to their door. In keeping with Baume’s environmental policy, packaging is kept to the strict minimum; the felt pouch that protects the watch can be repurposed as a glasses case while the box, in FSC-certified board, can be recycled or put to a new use. Components are made in advance but the watch is assembled only once an order has been placed. “The whole point is to cut down the waste that results from overpackaging and obsolete inventory,” explains Marie Chassot, who heads the brand. “The co-creation process also encourages customers to consider their choices and make a stance for the environment,” she says. It’s her belief that “creativity, innovation, eco-responsibility and collaboration” can bring about change.
Iconic, the eco-friendly range
With its aluminium case and 100% recycled PET strap, the Iconic range – Baume’s flagship collection – has its finger on the environmental pulse. Aluminium has the advantage of being solid, easily recycled and is less energy-hungry than metals such as gold or steel. Minimalist in design and promoting principles of recycling and reuse, the Iconic watch is fitted with an automatic movement and covers a spectrum of styles, materials and colours. Again, price is a very affordable €960.
Creativity, innovation, eco-responsibility and collaboration can bring about change, according to Marie Chassot, who heads the brand.
Baume has also joined the drive to encourage circular economies by teaming up with Waste Free Oceans, an NGO that collects plastic debris from oceans, rivers and beaches which is then recycled into modern, desirable products… helping to clean the oceans of plastic litter at the same time. In fact the brand is launching next to an ocean, at a pop-up creative hub in Los Angeles which, for one month, will host a programme of concerts, art events and talks on themes relating to nature, culture and eco-responsibility.