This week our Menswear Dialogue Series takes us back to Geneva, Switzerland to the design table of Baume & Mercier. We spoke with Design Director Mr. Alexandre Peraldi. Mr. Peraldi has a great passion for the aesthetics of watchmaking and living life to its fullest. Alexandre and his team worked dutifully on the Clifton Collection recently released by Baume & Mercier. Today we learn more about how these fine watches are created.
Image Granted ~What is your title/craft/profession? How long have you been in this industry? What are you passionate about? what gets you out of bed every day?
Alexandre Peraldi ~I’m the Design Director of Baume & Mercier. I started my career 24 years ago in the Cartier Design team, and I’ve been working for Baume & Mercier for 12 years.
My passion is my work: the design. Creating new shapes, new aesthetics for watches is a real pleasure, but the most important aspect for me is to have challenges to solve. Design without “problem”, is not the real design. These complications during the development process give you the opportunity to develop creative solutions. Each constraint obliges you to find other solution, and very often, these solutions are better than the primary project. That gets me out of bed. One “problem” per day is perfect…
IG ~ What goes into the design process for Baume & Mercier? As one of the oldest watchmakers in the world how has the process evolved over the years?
AP ~ The design technology is in constant evolution. For a designer, there are a lot of new opportunities to improve the creative process. If we continue to draw the first sketches by hand, very soon, we work with computers, on 2D and 3D software. We have recently started to work with screen tablet drawing; and have 3D printers since a long time, which are so useful. The digital is also important now. We spend a lot of time on internet to discover the amazing world of aesthetic all around the world. It is very inspiring and challenging.
IG ~Walk us through the process from start to finish. How many steps are involved? Which is the most critical? What happens if something doesn't go according to plan/design?
AP ~ It takes a long period of time to create a watch! The timing required to create watches is completely in line with the motto set by our founders: “accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality.”
When we create a new watch, we give strong importance to each development step: • Design: Managed in-house and requires a long time from the inspiration to the final drawings. Each begins with an inspiration, a desire to surprise and to innovate that will take shape through thousands of sketches, hundreds of hours spent modelling.
• Technical development: Several technical studies are done and many prototypes are created to ensure the durability of the watch. The design and the technical office work very closely.
• Finally, each Baume & Mercier watch is assembled by expert artisans and watchmakers, in our workshops based in Brenets-Swiss Jura- with a dexterity backed by the utmost vigilance. Each component, after undergoing rigorous inspection, is assembled in an immaculately clean, atmospherically controlled workshop. Every aspect of each watch complies with the rigorous standards established by Baume & Mercier’s founding family in 1830 – from the flawless integrity of straps and bracelets to the water resistance of the case, as well as the smooth running of each horological complication and adherence to strict standards of accuracy.
The most problematic part in this process is to guarantee the initial idea. The aesthetic could change a little bit, the marketing objective also, but we have to manage to obtain the best quality for the best price! It is the most challenging. If we fail in this way, we prefer to postpone the project, in order to be able to find a solution.
IG ~ What was the inspiration for the new Clifton Collection? What makes this design what it is? How is it different than other B&M designs?
AP ~ The new Clifton draws its inspiration from a 1950’s piece of our Museum collection, which enables the Maison to remain loyal to its tradition. This old collection is always a bible for the designer, it gives us the opportunity to stay true to the aesthetic DNA of the brand.
The Clifton collection reflects the Baume & Mercier style, a fine combination of wearing comfort, elegant and timeless design, it also offers a high-quality level and Swiss expertise at an affordable price.
The most noteworthy features of Clifton watches are: • a collection entirely mechanical and houses Swiss-made calibers • refined watches with uncluttered sun satin-finish dials, • a fluid style that expertly blends elegance with timelessness, • A high-quality level at an affordable price point
IG ~What is the future of the design team at B&M. What can old and new customers alike expect in the years to come from B&M designs?
AP ~ It’s secret, of course! But you have to be sure that we’ll continue to present timeless, elegant and affordable watches, for both men and women, and to give them the opportunity to offer a Baume & Mercier watch as a perfect gift for the best moment of their life.