David Chaumet, CEO of Baume & Mercier, has found the key to relaunch a firm that in recent years has undergone several successive changes in management. AND Riviera is once again the great value and banner of the watchmaking house. Chaumet took the reins of Baume & Mercier in April 2019, replacing Geoffroy Lefebvre when he had not completed a year as CEO of the brand. By then, David Chaumet already knew the ins and outs of Richemont after his successful stint with Roger Dubuis.
—In a successful year for the watch industry, is it a good time for Baume & Mercier too?
“Overall, it’s been a good year for me.” Baume thanks to the strategy that we started three years ago with the decision to relaunch Riviera and launch the house to remember that we have this Baumatic movement. First, some impressive pieces, but not a complete collection. And now, after three years, we do have a very good global offer in Riviera.
Riviera was introduced this year in 39mm.
—Riviera is growing after the redesign. It is the anniversary this year, is it again the most recognizable face of the firm?
—Riviera is easily recognizable by its shape. Launched in 1973, the most recent relaunch has refitted the Riviera closer to the original design. We see the more expressive straight lines and I would say that in that sense, when you see a Riviera, people start talking about it before Baume & Mercier, which is a good sign of recognition of the collection. And then, it is one of the faces of the maison. We’re doing a lot around shapes. from Classima and from Clifton with two slightly different territories. Classima is more of an entry with some quartz and a well-executed piece, it is the gateway to Swiss luxury watchmaking and then Clifton with the expression of great savoir-faire, and the Baumatic movement, a single complication. As for the Riviera, there is the 12-sided dodecagonal shape, now covering everything from the simplest movement to the perpetual calendar, along with the Baumatic.
New this season is this Riviera Chronograph.
—We all say in the industry that Baume & Mercier speaks to the young generation, but you are developing a new perpetual calendar with Baumatic movement. So he’s speaking to the older generation as well.
—We are talking to everyone who wants to get started and talk to us. Baume & Mercier is clearly targeting the young generation, you mentioned the Classima, but we see that the young generation is already approaching Riviera because it is strong, it has a lot of content, but it also appeals to the generation that may have already heard of Riviera in the past and that they are fun and that they are willing to come back to us with Riviera. So we don’t have any target generation. We are designing, creating and manufacturing timepieces with strong design, strong quality, strong manufacturing content, and different styles that can match the taste of younger people as well as older people who are more design inclined. traditional. In fact, with our four collections we are lucky to reach a very wide audience.
—Vintage is a trend, but you have a completely new design in the Riviera Azur 300 M. Did you think of a special edition?
“We thought about what the Riviera meant to us. There are five generations, in fact. So we tried in this generation to have as much code as in the first, the original, without replicating the exact design of that moment. For us, first of all, it is fundamental to project Riviera in modernity with the use of new materials, stronger design characteristics and to expand the ways of playing with Riviera. Like the new Rivera Azur 300 M. It is a diving watch. So it’s really contemporary in terms of design. It is a good direction for Baume & Mercier to be more present in this type of design.
The Baumatic movement and its guarantee.
“Isn’t that the first diver’s watch?”
—We had the 1981 Riviera Dive, but if you see the piece, we were a little inspired, but the new version is quite different. It now has a unidirectional bezel with a screw-down crown, 300-meter water resistance, a Baumatic movement and, como all movement Baumatica benefit of six years of additional guarantee, which means that the guarantee period of time for the client will be eight years in all these movements.
More colors and declinations of the Riviera.
—Why do you think the sphere is coming back smaller?
—In fact, for us, it is not a return, if it is not an addition of the new Baume & Mercier in Riviera. Size trends are hard to follow, continents evolve at different rates. In fact, we know that Asia was a market for smaller diameters, but in the last year or two they have been moving to larger diameters. Europe, for the most part, tends to a smaller diameter. So we have what our customers want and that they enjoy wearing the watches. So we have 39, 40 or 42mm as options. It is your choice and we fully respect what you choose. We offer them the option to choose the size they are willing to wear.
—How is the feedback from Hampton? It’s a quirky distinctive shape and there aren’t that many square watches in the industry…
—I would say that there are quite a few with that shape… Hampton is quite popular and a super-seller, but for Baume & Mercier it has been a collection that we have had in the portfolio for a long time. We have a piece from each collection among the 15 best sellers. And Hampton is among the best sellers. So this watch is running very well. And we have a good traction of feminine design. There is a definite audience for the rectangular shape.
Two new Hamptons from the 2023 collection