Baume – a new watch brand offering genderless timepieces, and the entry level offering in Richemont's watch portfolio – has created a sustainable, e-commerce business model that allows you to play designer, while helping to build a ‘better tomorrow’.
Moving into the sustainable world is a canny move from the Switzerland-based luxury goods holding, and Baume addresses some of the key preoccupations of the contemporary consumer.
Today, sustainability presents a ‘to-buy-or-not-to-buy’ dilemma; we care about the values behind the company we're buying from. Instead of gravitating towards designs simply defined by their ‘for men' or ‘for women' status, we increasingly crave uniqueness, with one-off pieces made specifically for us. Baume brand leader Marie Chassot's aim was to ‘create a brand that is more adapted to these challenges, and the evolution of the customer,’ while capitalising on the modern mindset that ‘no one should tell you what to wear’.
Baume's business model covers these issues with a clutch of innovative initiatives. First off, sustainability is ‘rooted in Baume's DNA’, says Chassot. From a material perspective, Baume avoids traditional watchmaking materials like animal leathers (particularly options like calf skin and alligator) and precious stones, instead picking a small cache of carefully selected vegan materials, like cork. The watches themselves are mindfully designed in Geneva, and constructed in a Richemont facility in the Netherlands, on demand, so no components get wasted, and only commissioned watches get made.
The Custom Timepiece Series builds ‘an interesting conversation and closer relationship with the customer’, says Chassot. As the name suggests, each watch is customisable, with over 2,000 different iterations available, from strap colour and material to face size, dial thickness and metal. ‘We want to create an ecosystem between us and our audience, through which we can convey our values, messages and experiences,' she adds. ‘Plus, when individuals find a best-fit product, they last.’ Indeed, by building the watch yourself from the wrist-up, you're swung into the designer's enviable chair; and love your creation all the more for the part you've played in its conception.
Of course, Baume isn't the first watch brand to dabble in customisation, nor is it the first to profess sustainable philosophy. It is the first to balance these significant assets with each other – with the added benefit of benefiting from our contemporary fixation with minimally designed objet. ‘Baume is different to any organisation I've worked in before,' Chassot concludes. ‘To me, this is the future of sustainable branding'. We're convinced.
For more information, visit the Baume website
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Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.
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