Alain Zimmermann, CEO Baume & Mercier introduces the Capeland Cobra limited edition watch

Diana Bell-Heather   |   18-07-2015

Power, Precision and priceless presentations weren’t the only highlights of the day we spent at the Spring Mountain Motorsports ranch in Las Vegas, It was also the pleasure of chatting to Alain Zimmermann, CEO Baume & Mercier.

How did this collaboration come to life?

It all started when we were shooting with Peter Lindbergh our campaign “Celebrate Moments”. There is the picture with a guy driving an exceptional car. We started using this picture with the Capeland collection and the fit was amazing. People loved it! It was a bit different. And this is when we said that this might be our story! Since Capeland was missing an emotion and a story unlike our other Men’s watches: the Clifton where had the 50’s, the Classima, the Promesse and the Hampton.

So we started scouting for a partnership between cars and watches where there are lots of common grounds, and brainstorming on who may be the perfect match in terms of values. We had a potential list and when the name Cobra was among them. I said this is it! Since yes, it has performance, it has the timeless elegance, and above all they are free! We flew over to Los Angeles to pitch the collaboration and through our first meeting, immediately we had a fit!

It was a win- win collaboration to create.

Then they explained that 2015 will be a great year to them, and since at Baume & Mercier it is always about celebrating moments and events, we worked against time with full speed to make it on time and be able to present the watch at the SIHH fair in Geneva. Both teams were committed to this project and super excited for this collaboration and when we launched it at the fair, it was well received and the retailers loved it!




 Speaking of the fair, SIHH took place earlier this year, how do assess it?

The fair started with very critical conditions where the Swiss Franc value collapsed so it was the five-minute topic that started every meeting, then things automatically started moving forward and everyone started discovering the novelties.

For us, we had a great and powerful product this year that was the Classima where the design was extremely well received and more important keeping the price in the right context. So to answer your question, it all started with a big question mark and ended with a smile!

What do you think people are looking for nowadays when buying watches?

There are many players in the market but people are looking for a brand that they can trust and rely on, a brand with a very balanced offer. There was a trend of very limited and exceptional pieces with specific target customers, but we need to keep in mind the young people.

The medium luxury trend is coming back. Even the market in terms of size, is going back to normal.

For us, it’s a great opportunity; we don’t have to change our DNA or business model since we have all those conditions. It is a window for more market shares and attracting more people. I consider that we are still in the launch phase of “Promesse” and there is more to come in the ladies segment. Keeping the balance is key for Baume & Mercier even though the men market is larger for us and with Clifton and Classima and the new shape of Hampton we have a great feedback. Now it’s about implementation and making sure that with this collection we move ahead in every single country including the Middle East.

The Middle East has great performance and we ‘ve had our partners for many years where trust is a great asset that we share.

In the UAE we have the Seddiqi family, the Behbehani family in Kuwait, and Atamian in Lebanon. We work very closely together and what we do is in line with their roadmap. Investing in this region is very important.

I always say: “It’s not sell and run, its sell and stay”. Always give your best with a lot of passion.

You’ve been with Baume & Mercier for almost 5 years now, what’s an objective you still aim to achieve?

It’s a journey! When you see that this brand is celebrating 185 years, 5 years is nothing!

My job is to make the brand prepared for the future. To do this, we have to make it stronger in Asia, we have to take full advantage of the ladies segment, which is till today not strong enough, and to continue day after day to create a very qualitative offering with affordable prices.

Our objective is to always attract young people. We don’t do electronics, we don’t do lifestyle, we do watches and we are 100 percent focused on that. This is what makes our road map exciting.