This week in our Menswear Dialogue Series we introduce you to Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier who has recently released a new collection of handsome watches in their Clifton Collection. Inspired by archives from the 1950's this collection is built on a round face with simple dials and clean bezels. The options are cased in steel or 18K gold with alligator leather straps. Offered in both manual and automatic movements the collection is now available in international showrooms and online. Baume & Mercier is one of the original watchmakers to participate at the exclusive Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland. For our series we spoke with Mr. Michael Irilli who has spent several years building the digital brand of Baume & Mercer and was kind enough to share a few words with us.
Image Granted - What is your title/job/craft? What inspires you and gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going in your industry?
Michael Irilli - My title is Director of Digital & Business Development. My job is to balance the soul of the brand, nurture its relevance by telling its story, and effectively advance its presence in the modern world by offering a delightful customer journey in our e-boutique and in our authorized retailers. My craft is being able to manage the complex and changing dynamic between our understanding of the past and our vision of the future. I relish in anticipating the indulgences of tomorrow.
All things Swiss inspire me to get out of bed in the morning. Being on time, a Nespresso cappuccino, and chocolate. I like my sweets in the morning. In an age of newer is always better: a technology and a craft that is 200 years old that one wears on his/her wrist as jewellery and a status symbol! Watching someone receive their first nice wristwatch.
IG - Tell us more about Baume & Mercier. Being the 7th oldest luxury watch brand in the world is a significant achievement. Other than attending Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), how does B&M maintain its relevance in the luxury market? How does the brand conduct its business today compared to 20, 50, 100 years ago?
MI - Baume & Mercier is quite proud to be the 7th oldest luxury watch brand in the world: a brand that evokes happy memories when one glances down to his/her wrist, and a brand that one enjoys to wear not only for special occasions, but every day. One of the most beautiful authentic attributes of the brand is that Baume & Mercier is often times someone’s very first nice watch. This watch is often received as a gift to celebrate a special occasion whether it be a graduation, promotion, anniversary, or even a birthday.
When you ask a person wearing a Baume & Mercier what watch they are wearing, the response is not simply “my Baume & Mercier”, but rather “my Baume & Mercier that I received for my college graduation/wedding/30th birthday/anniversary/promotion”. These timeless moments have stood the test of time for the past 20, 50, and 100 years and we are certain will continue to stand the test of time for the next 20, 50, and 100. It is wonderful that we have this very true connection to celebration.
IG - How do your digital responsibilities play into B&M's reach to current and perspective customers? How does the brand stay in the hearts and minds of current buyers while attempting to win the hearts and minds of perspective buyers?
MI -We live in a world of constant social stimulation. Our fans and customers love hearing about our brand and collections, but also love sharing their personal gifting stories centered around a Baume & Mercier even if it was a self-purchase. The brand recognizes this importance and has incorporated added values in our e-boutique inclusive of free gift wrapping and watch engraving for every purchase.
It is great to look at the dial of the watch and remember the moment in which you received this gift, but even more special when you take off your watch, turn it around and read the special and personal engraving of either love or accomplishment.
IG - What sets B&M apart from other luxury watches in terms of fit, form, and function? When one puts on a B&M product what does it say about them and their lifestyle?
MI - There are so many great Swiss watch brands with heritage, but what makes Baume & Mercier truly special is our testament to offering classic and timeless designs. A watch that looks good today and will for sure look good in 20 years. This is why they make perfect gifts. To own a Baume & Mercier is to know a Baume & Mercier. We are not the most well-known watch brand, and we are proud of that.
We are a bit more special. Our customers love the fact that they wear a watch that is not the same watch everyone else is wearing. Their lifestyle is one that appreciates the finer things in life, the more special things, and are self-confident to know they have something unique. They are often always so proud to help their friends and family discover Baume & Mercier. One thing I always notice about customers talking about their Baume & Mercier is that they always smile: it may be prompted the memory of receiving the watch, for the accomplishment to which it represents, or to the fact that it still works and looks amazing!
IG - What stands out in your most recent collection? What can consumers expect from B&M in the next 100 years?
MI -Clifton, our most recent collection, justly represents what makes Baume & Mercier successful. Clifton is inspired by a vintage wristwatch in our collection from the 1950s. This elegant golden era saw the rise of the “wristwatch” and a time when a man took pride in getting dressed in the morning. Classic, refined, and elegant, our new inspiration of this classic could not be appropriate today when all things old are new again!