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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

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Baume and Mercier

A Swiss watchmaking company founded in 1830. It is owned by Richemont, and with Cartier and Piaget they make up the core of the group. This company is represented in 75 countries and produces around 200,000 watches a year.

The most important markets are in Europe, especially Italy, Spain and France. Baume and Mercier is distributed by 220 exclusive retailers worldwide and has established itself as a manufacturer of sporty chronographs.

After World War II Baume et Mercier concentrated on conventional men's watches, sports chronographs and ladies' jewellery watches. In 1965 the Piaget family bought control over Baume and Mercier. One of the world's thinnest calendar watches with a mini rotor was produced under Piaget's aegis. In the same year the new owners switched to electronic tuning fork movements, and from 1970 increased investments in quartz movements.

At the end of the 1983, Baume and Mercier temporarily ceased production of mechanical watches. In 1988, Christian and Yves Piaget sold 60% of their stake to Piaget holding S.A., also selling Baume et Mercier S.A. to Cartier Monde S.A. in Paris.

In 1993 the Cartier group became sole owners of both Piaget and Baume and Mercier. In September 2004 Baume and Mercier opened a new production building in Les Brenets, Switzerland. For the past few years Baume et Mercier has made a name for itself as a trendsetter. Fashionable models such as the "Riviera" and the "Hampton," named after the stylish resorts and high-society meeting places of the U.S East Coast, defined a new watch style in the 1980s and 1990s, for both genders.

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