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Meet Baume: the future-proof watch brand making sustainable design good for business

Left, Baume 35 Rhodiee Liege Marron. Right, Baume 35 Coton Gris

Elly Parsons
5 Sep 2018

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.

Baume 41, Acier Coton Beige, from the Custom Timepiece Series

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. §