Baume et Mercier knows a thing or two about elegance. Actually, elegance is what they do best. This could have something to do with the fact that in 1918 William Baume joined forces with jeweler Paul Mercier, forming the companiey’s current name, which resulted in a collection of remarkably shaped watches the year after. Their steel sports-model, the Riviera, which was introduced in 1973, looked very elegant despite the fact that it was built to withstand the 24 hours of LeMans . . . strapped to the wheel of a race car.

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Judging ladies watches, as a man, is quite a different task then reporting about the newest men’s model. While those can be strapped on and be admired, as well as judged, on the wrist,  with ladies watches there is more of a distance, it is after all a watch you will never wear yourself. That distance also allows for greater reflection, since unavoidable personal preferences are also set further away. Or not? When you are passionate about watches it is inevitable to also have an opinion about ladies watches, since the women in one’s life often own and wear at least one. Those ladies may, or may not, share the full extent of your passion for the finer timepieces, however a well-designed, beautifully crafted watch will satisfy both. To create such a watch is actually quite difficult. Women’s clothing is far more influenced by trends then men’s clothing. Also, where men can rely on a couple of safe, classical combinations in which they can vary, the overall variety of women’s clothing, not to mention the combinations between them that can be made, or not made, is mind boggling, at least for me as a man.

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To create a watch that can handle these dynamics is quite a feat, yet one that Baume et Mercier pulls off with flying colors with their new Promesse. Why? Because it is a watch that goes back to the basics for Baume et Mercier, blending thee jewellery background that Paul Mercier introduced, with their knowledge of making a really good watch. When jewellers are involved in watchmaking, and pay close attention to the watch designs of, for example Piaget, Cartier or Chopard, you see that a strong basic design is accompanied by a wealth of details. This is the same with the Promesse.

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Baume et Mercier went for an oval shaped case surrounding a round dial. This means that large portions of the case on either side are not being used for anything, yet Baume et Mercier made sloping curves that go down to the dial. The result is a very three dimensional design, and the creation of a very playful element! Baume et Mercier really uses this element to give each of the members of the new Promesse collection its own character. Sometimes the slope is left bare, yet the case itself features a pave setting of diamonds and sometimes it is vice versa. In all cases it results in a playful elegance of a timeless proportion.

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Another strong point of the Promesse is the dial. It is a classical round dial, yet always features a beautiful guilloche motif. Yes, always, even when you opt for the mother-of-pearl dial, a very fine guilloche motif will decorate your dial. This detail can only be admired when the light hits the watch just right, but when it does…..

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The bracelet might look a bit plain at first, yet its design is very intriguing when you allow yourself to better observe it. The middle links feature a similar slope curve as the case. The result is that around the wrist the bracelet, with a bit of imagination, forms a small staircase made up of beautiful, rounded steps. Because of this design it also perfectly matches with the watch itself, actually amplifying its original design. Leather bracelets are also available, but those make the watch much more formal, and a touch more classical.

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Timeless is also Baume et Mercier’s approach to the collection itself. It is offered in two sizes; one with a 30mm diameter and one with a 34mm diameter. Contemporary choices that are on most women neither too small, not overly large. Quartz is of course an option, but also an automatic movement is available. That makes the Promesse a watch that has a lot to offer, with a fresh, through through design that gives a new spin on modern day elegance.

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Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics

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