Monday, January 20, 2020

Baume & Mercier and What Could Still be

Courtesy of Baume & Mercier
There are some brands out there that just seem to get lost in the shuffle.  I was trying to explain the concept of luxury groups to someone who is really not into watches at all.  This conversation took place while driving past one of America's innumerable "Auto Miles" where row upon row of auto dealers live and work, cheek to jowl.  

And we had a perfect example passing by the local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM and... Fiat dealership. It becomes a bit more confusing were you to add some of the other brands owned by the same parent company - Lancia, Maserati, Alfa Romeo...

Well, you get the idea.

Richemont, for all of their swagger and flash are not enjoying the best of times in terms of watch sales.  Now while it has been reported that sales were up in the jewelry section, and a modest bump in watches, there are actually quite a few more pennies about to drop. 

Apart from Rolex and Patek, everyone else is, essentially, sucking a rather fuzzy lollipop.  

But let's get back to the main topic this evening, Baume & Mercier.  And not unlike that aforementioned Fiat Auto Group, while there are several horses in the stable, they are not all future Kentucky Derby winners.

As mentioned previously, the Fiat group has a lot of "work horses", and there are some who feel that Dodge should be sent to the knackers, but they have one race horse - Maserati.  Now curious to relate, all of the brands within the group are not trying to emulate Maserati.  In fact, each of the brands pretty much stays in their lane.  Also curious to relate?  Baume & Mercier had a very bad habit of trying to piss in the tall horological weeds with the other big dogs in the Richemont pack.  Now in fairness, that was under a previous regime.  But the point being, you have to punch your weight.   

Do you ever wonder why Mido doesn't come out with a tourbillon?  

Baume & Mercier has A LOT to offer.  A lot to offer at the right price point and positioning anyway.  There are a lot of people out there who walk into a jewelers without any blessed idea as to what to buy for themselves or as a gift for someone else.  Guess what they buy?  They might buy a Longines, they might buy a Baume & Mercier.  In fact, in speaking with a lot of retailers in North America, that is why Baume & Mercier was such a great seller for them.  It was the watch to sell when a "civilian" came in unsure of what to get.  Not too cheap, not too expensive, but just right.

That was long before the spin-off of Baume, before the identity crisis that is still roiling.
Baume & Mercier could still be something pretty special.  But it is going to take some time and some re-working of the brand and the brand's message.

But Baume & Mercier could knock it out of the park if they are willing to be who they are, and can stop trying to be who they are not.

I would buy this one in a heartbeat -

Courtesy of Baume & Mercier

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