Exclusive Interview with Baume et Mercier’s Alain Zimmermann

Lara Mansour   |   30 - 08 - 2017

CEO Alain Zimmermann, enhances the rich heritage of Baume et Mercier with a modern flavour.

As one of the oldest Swiss watch Maison’s, Baume et Mercier has been shining in the watch industry firmament for almost two centuries. Such longevity commands respect and the inevitable question comes to mind, what is the recipe behind this success? The key ingredient is undoubtedly expertise, continuously distilled with authentic passion, something which Alain Zimmerman, CEO of the company, lives and breathes.


What was your proudest achievement last year for Baume et Mercier?

2016 was a feminine year and for Petite Promesse what we have done around the concept was to re-address the femininity, but this year we have continued with it in a much more versatile way, playing around with the straps and considering the watch to be an accessory. To be on one side super fashionable and stylish, and on the other ethical, as people increasingly want to have a good feeling. Bringing fantastic straps in an Eco responsible way with Banka leather is the future for Petite Promesse.

Do you think you are one of the few brands who is managing communication smartly between targeting millennials with more mature loyal customers?

This might sound shocking, but I don’t think our main aim is to have a very loyal client. Normally when you get a new client you try to keep them as long as possible. However, I think our mission is different, our mission is to be the first watch, we are more on the initiation approach, and want to be the door opener to access the industry. For some people, this will actually end up being the first and last watch they own as it is perfect for any kind of style, and maybe the customer is less of a collector. The common point between any of our potential clients is something which is not related to age, it is the emotion of celebration, and this is the bridge which is not specific to millennials or age.

What do you think the projection is for this year, and do you expect any obstacles?

I don’t think anybody knows, and I think we need to manage pragmatism, realism, and optimism. If everything gets too dark about the market, then you don’t get the necessary positive energy to create. The world is tough and difficult enough, so our role is to surprise, seduce and make people happy. Luxury is the feeling of happiness and pleasure, so in that world we cannot ignore the context. This year is about navigating in waters where there are a lot of waves, but not to forget your direction.

Do you think the honeymoon between luxury and high-watchmaking is over due to how they are marketed?

I don’t think so, I think the product remains the star, whatever the marketing. You don’t open your wallet as easily as you maybe did a few years ago. But if you do go for it, you expect a great product with a beautiful story that is harmonised with your own expectation, and on top the perfect service, while you buy the watch and even more afterwards.


Do you create the product and then the story, or vice versa?

It is both, but I will always give an advantage to the product as I know the story can be changed overnight, but not the product. Once you have bought the product, you might remember the communication, but one day the communication will disappear and the product will stay. There is no doubt that one is nourishing the other, but the final objective is to make you happy and proud of what you bought.

What three things do you hate most?

Lying, unfairness, and when people don’t go the extra mile.



What is your ideal time of day?

I am a morning man, and I need the first hour of the day for myself, when there are no external obligations and I am in control of that hour. This is time for family, and even to spend time with my dog!

What book are you currently reading?

To be honest I don’t read books, it is newspapers instead. On holiday I will read short books, but during regular time I am a fast consumer of news through magazines, newspapers, and social media.


How would you describe your style?

Casual and elegant.

What is your personal motto?

It is always possible.

By Lara Mansour Sawaya



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