The watchmaker Baume & Mercier had its start in 1830. Two brothers, Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume, opened a watch dealership in a village in the Swiss Jura. They earned a reputation for excellence and innovation, backed in no small part by their motto, “Accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality.”
Staying true to their motto, Baume & Mercier is known for several accomplishments — their complication watches, chronographs, minute repetitions, and chronometers. They have also won awards in several exhibitions and competitions over the years.
Louis-Victor Baume’s daughter Mélina was the recipient of a gold pocket-watch in 1869. Thanks to Louis-Victor’s vision, that may have been the birth of the ladies line. Perhaps it is thanks to her that Baume & Mercier delved into ladies watches in the first place. Thirty-nine years was a long time to wait from starting the company to producing a ladies watch. It seems the wait was worth it though. Perhaps that first ladies pocket-watch was a mark of things to come. A promise.
A promise is defined by our friends at Merriam-Webster as, “a declaration that one will do something specified; it is a reason to expect something.” More than 140 years ago, that watch for Mélina proved to be the reason to expect something — something beautiful and grand and exquisite. It was the beginning of a life of ladies watches that continue to be sought after and yearned for. A promise means everything to a pure heart.
The Baume & Mercier Petite Promesse is a small watch, only 22mm in diameter. Whoever said good things come in small packages may have had their sights set on the Promesse. But what it seems to lack in size it compensates for with the longer band. Twice as long as usual, and thus, twice as fun. Yes, the watch is held to your wrist by a thin and dainty but long strap that wraps around your wrist twice. It is part watch, part fashion statement.
Now, many watch manufactures have smaller watches for the ladies. This offering has many points that will draw you in. The first being the obvious feminine size. At only 22mm in diameter, the watch dial will also be lightweight. The interaction between the oval case and round bezel gives the watch stable harmony. It is aesthetically pleasing to look at. The double-wrap strap gives it a je ne sais quoi — unexpected yet beguiling. Powered by Quartz, the watch has a fold-over clasp and is water resistant to 5 ATM.
Another interesting point that might make you take a second glance at this watch is the way Baume & Mercier have chosen to inform the public about the watch. Aside from the typical advertisements and technical specifications, they also give us a narrative. Not from the lady who wears the watch. But from the watch itself. Yes, a day in the life of a watch, in first person. And from someone who has read through my fair share of press kits, I appreciated the deviation.
The day’s story begins with the watch waiting patiently to be put on the lady’s wrist, as the lady is choosing her outfit for the day, and of course, her accessories. Though a Promesse is more than just an accessory. The day continues with meetings, a trip through a flea market, and cocktails with friends. I specially like the part in the story about finishing a box of cookies. I mean, we’ve all done that, right? The little watch accompanies the lady throughout the entire day, and enjoys the various facets of the lady’s personality.
The hypothetical day seems long. So long, in fact, that I am reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. The poem, nay, the masterpiece, relates the day-end of a traveler drawn to nature and the woods, yearning to stop and enjoy the beauty, but pushing on because, and I quote, “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” But somehow, the Petite Promesse could make a long day seem shorter.
Once you’ve committed to this entanglement, you have a decision to make: which of the three watches will you take to be your day-long companion and life-long friend? You could choose Petite Promesse ref. M0A10289, which has a polished stainless steel strap (which looks like snakeskin) and a bezel partially set with diamonds. The white mother-of-pearl dial has 2 diamond indexes, at the 6 and 12. This one is elegant and feminine, a jewelery watch.
The next option is the ref. M0A10288, with the (gorgeous) blue strap. Sorry, did I say that out loud? The calfskin strap is such a vibrant blue I can’t take my eyes off of it. And I probably wouldn’t take it off my wrist either. Akin to the stainless steel version, this watch also has a white mother-of-pearl dial and a bezel partially set with diamonds.
The third and last option is the ref. M0A10290, with the playful orange strap. What sets this one apart from its two co-offerings is the bezel — it is fully set with diamonds. Forty-four of them, to be exact. If I were the decision-maker at the company, I’d give the ladies the option of selecting which strap to go with full-diamond bezel watch. Much as I love the blue strap, I’m leaning towards the orange one due to the dazzle.
The choices are interesting and that adds to the excitement of your decision-making process. But while our traveler on that snowy evening may have felt caught in decisions he felt he had to make, I would welcome the entanglement of this perfect Promesse.