Baume & Mercier was founded as “Frères Baume” in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume, who opened the watch dealership in Les Bois, a village in the Swiss Jura. The Swiss watch manufacturer expanded internationally by establishing a branch in London in 1851 under the name “Baume Brothers”, which led to expansion throughout the British Empire. By the late 19th century, the company had an established international reputation, and its timepieces had set accuracy records and won a number of timekeeping competitions.
In 1918, company director William Baume partnered with Paul Mercier to found “Baume & Mercier” in Geneva. The firm became specialized in manufacturing wristwatches, particularly unconventional “shaped” models that did not possess the traditional round form. In 1919, Baume & Mercier was awarded the Geneva Seal, the highest international distinction of the time for watchmaking excellence.
During the Roaring Twenties, the brand embraced women’s emancipation. In the 1940s, Baume & Mercier launched a number of modern watch collections, most notably the 2 Register Chronograph. Early examples of this model with the double-caseback are rare and highly sought after, often fetching more than double the price of a later model.
In the 1970s, Baume & Mercier introduced shaped timepieces such as the Galaxie and Stardust models. In 1973, Baume & Mercier presented the Riviera, one of the world’s first steel sports watches.
In 1988, the Swiss watchmaker joined the Richemont group. Currently, the brand offers the Clifton, Classima and Hampton collections for both men and women, the Capeland collection for men, and the Linea and Promesse collections for women. In 2015, Baume & Mercier bolstered its sports watch offerings by entering into a partnership with the celebrated American race car maker Carroll Shelby International. The company now offers limited edition “Shelby Cobra” models, named for the classic sports car, in its Capeland and Clifton collections.