How does a watch brand react to tough times? The last two years have been tough, and Baume & Mercier have reacted by introducing a sub-collection to the existing Classima collection that speaks to a new, wider range of customers. People who are attracted to a luxury Swiss watch brand but who don’t want to pay much over €1,000. In fact My Classima consists of seven watch models, starting from 850 or 1,050 Swiss francs, or $990/$1,190 or €990/€1,190 depending on the model. The brand has already tested My Classima in the United States and has seen that it produced a 20% increase in sales, without detrimental effects on the other parts of Baume & Mercier’s range.
How have they done it? Simple: My Classima watches have quartz movements. The watch is available in three case sizes, 40, 36.5 and 31 mm, with steel bracelet or leather strap. The quartz movement makes it possible to achieve slim cases, about 6 mm thick. The result is an attractive everyday watch that has the looks of a dress watch for use with evening wear.
Of course a quartz watch doesn’t have the fascination of a mechanical watch. But Baume & Mercier have cleverly concealed the quartz movement by not having a seconds hand. On the surface, the watch could easily pass as a mechanical dress watch with just hour and minute hand, and the date window. Having a quartz watch takes them into a vast area of competition with brands all over the world, in particular Japan: Baume & Mercier can use the kudos attached to their name and those two words “Swiss Made” to gain the advantage. The results from their test in the United States seem to confirm the success of their policy. But the image of the traditional Swiss watchmaker used in their communications does seem a bit of a joke.