WATCH WORKSHOPS

IN THE HEART OF BAUME & MERCIER WATCH WORKSHOPS


All Baume & Mercier watches are produced at our Watch Workshops located in Les Brenets, in the heart of the Swiss Jura mountains. It is there that an assembly process of the very highest quality takes place, based on a traditional method of watch production known in French as "établissage" (the division of labor between a range of specialist craftsmen). In its modern form, this method makes it possible to concentrate the expertise of the best collaborators working in the sector, while at the same time maintaining internal control of all key operations and ensuring a very high degree of flexibility.

By working in close collaboration with recognized partners and watchmaking specialists, we have guaranteed access to the best components. We use only equipment, movements and processes that have proved their worth over many years, which makes our watches both reliable and efficient." Daniel Braillard, Director of Industrial Production at Baume & Mercier.

"Accept only perfection. Only manufacture watches of the highest quality".

The original motto of the Baume brothers applies today in the Baume & Mercier Watch Workshops in Les Brenets, in the Swiss watchmaking area, where the same century-old gestures are repeated day after day opposite a typical, fir-clad Swiss landscape. A journey to the realm of the masters of time, to the heart of the workshops where all Baume & Mercier's watches are assembled.


Les Brenets Watch Workshops - a few facts:

• Workshops filled with light.

• Controlled atmosphere zone to fight the "worst enemies" of watchmaking: dust and humidity.

• Modern, well-equipped work stations.

• Specialized high value tools.

• A large stock of available components.

• Passionately committed, skilled specialist staff.

• Watchmakers with specialist qualifications.

• Quality specialists.

• Restoration specialists.

• Polishers.

• Continuous monitoring and updating of technical skills.

A COMPLEX PUZZLE

A watch is a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle. To start with, it is just a heap of parts all jumbled together, which watchmakers then have to assemble painstakingly together to give life to the final timepiece worthy of a great watchmaking firm. The organization of components and spare parts is thus of fundamental importance and a vital factor in the management of any watch factory. It is at the factory that the parts are received from our suppliers. They are checked, packed and then registered to ensure that all the finishing details comply perfectly with the brand's requirements. The highlight of this stage is the impressive safe-deposit room, where thousands of carefully arranged and labeled spare parts are stored.

DIALS, HANDS AND IMMACULATE CLEANLINESS

First workshop: this is where the most delicate operations are carried out: the installation of the dial and of the hands, and the repairing and casing up of the watch movement. These operations are delicate not only by their painstaking nature (given that they are carried out entirely by hand) but also because they are conducted "open-heart" on the most vulnerable parts of the watch. At Baume & Mercier, these stages are undertaken in a controlled atmosphere zone (CAZ), in which everything possible is done to avoid dust or humidity, the two main sources of potential malfunctions in watches. The air inside the CAZ is permanently filtered, the temperature, humidity and pressure are carefully regulated, and entry to or exit from the CAZ is only permitted to those who wear an anti-static jacket and pass through an airlock.

Inside the zone, in an area that is calm and full of light, the technicians and watchmakers are to be seen leaning over their work stations and peering through their eyeglasses. Their actions are precisely controlled and their tools are carefully positioned. "We are all pretty obsessive about even the smallest detail," laughs Pascal Moulins, the Director of our Watch Workshops at Les Brenets. It is also here that movements are adjusted in order to operate with maximum precision, and that a whole range of tests is carried out, including those to check the water-resistance and airtightness of the assembled watches.

COMPLETION AND EXTREMELY STRICT TESTING

Once they have been cased up, the watches are then transferred to the adjoining workshop. Here there is no longer any need for the "CAZ," since the enclosed watch cases are now airtight and "immunized." They are, however, about to be subjected to a series of stringent tests. The checks undertaken are extremely strict so as to ensure that Baume & Mercier watches are of the very highest quality. Each watch is tested individually. On one side, mechanical watches are placed to whirl around on a winding machine, to test the precision and the power reserve of their movements, and on the other tests are carried out to check the functions: the time setting,

date change, chronograph function and any other type of complication. Stringent aesthetic tests are also carried out in order to detect even the tiniest defects. If a problem is identified, the watch is sent back to the "CAZ" for a "return check" by the watchmakers, who then proceed to dismount and repair it. Quartz watches are then subjected to the thermal shock test, which will reveal any possible hidden defects. Finally, the watches are labeled, fitted with their bracelets and packed to be sent to the distribution center, which will then dispatch them to approved Baume & Mercier retailers all over the world.

OLD WATCHES MADE GOOD AS NEW

The Baume & Mercier Watch Workshops in Les Brenets not only produce new watches but also repair old Baume & Mercier timepieces sent in from all over the world. Our philosophy: no Baume & Mercier watch is unrepairable. Sometimes the emotional value of the timepieces concerned is more than what they are actually worth, and the repair may cost several times the purchase price. If, however, the watch concerned is that of a much-loved relative, the money doesn't matter. We are sometimes asked which is the oldest timepiece we have ever received for refurbishment. It was a watch made in 1870 that had been purchased by a collector. Most of the watches we receive, however, date from the post-war periods. They are totally disassembled and repaired, even if this involves re-manufacturing the parts concerned! 

 "Our customers want perfect watches, we cannot disappoint them!"


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