While most of the guests from the Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby Cobra watch launch were still enjoying their sleep and recovering from the amazing day’s activities and the dinner we had the night before, I headed to my breakfast meeting with Alexandre Peraldi, Design Director at Baume & Mercier.
I was looking forward to meeting him and talking more about the watch, as well as getting to know the man who’s heading up the design studio. I hope you all enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Mr Peraldi have recently worked on the design of the second series of limited edition chronographs inspired by one of the most successful Cobras in history “the CSX2128” the 289 Roadster built to conquer the gruelling 1963 12 Hours of Sebring race, competing as number 15. The new Capeland Shelby Cobra models maintain the distinctive elements of the first edition with specially crafted hands featuring the Cobra logo.
The Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 comes with a 44 mm x 14.65 mm stainless steel case and it is matched to a black alligator strap with a rubberized yellow lining. The back sides of the watches are engraved with the name of the collection, as well as the words “One out of 1963” in reference to the number of limited-edition pieces and the year of Cobra’s first victory at the American championship. The two watches are water resistant to 50 metres /165 feet. The movement guarantees a power reserve of 48 hours.
How do you start the whole design process and how long does it take to finish everything?
The design process can take up to four years and sometimes we just keep the designs for ourselves. We always have to keep the DNA of the brand in mind and add something new. It’s a long and interesting process. We work closely with our marketing team and we always try to come up with the best product at the end.
There are a lot of different constraints and I’m always frightened and anxious about designing something if I don’t know the techniques from the beginning, but I’m a fast learner because I just love what I do. I always master it because I love designing comfortable things. Nowadays, you need a team of designers for any product, not just one designer – which was the case a few years ago, whether the product being designed was a chair, shoes or a car. Now though, if you’re designing a car, for example, you’d need a designer for the interior, another for the exterior, and then one for the engine. And it’s the same with watches. I love designing the whole product, but you always need a team. It’s the most essential and exciting thing you will do.
Part of our design program is that we’re now working with design schools. It’s very inspiring! You get different ideas, nice ideas, crazy and stupid ideas, but you get what you want at the end. It’s magical and it’s very exciting! It’s not about the product, it’s about the team and the process that leads to the final piece.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been designing for the past 26 years.
What have you added to the Baume & Mercier design history?
I actually don’t want to add anything. I want to continue what has already been done and design more watches. I want to maintain the DNA of the brand and design in a different way.
What’s your favorite dish/cuisine?
I like cuisine that is very simple, Japanese, sushi, sashimi, as I like simple designs. I like traditional sometimes, of course, like what you find at home. I actually found a place that cooks an amazing couscous. It’s a small family business, the owner of the restaurant cooks for 15 people every day, and that’s all. And it’s very fresh, very good. Traditional but simple.
Who’s your favorite fashion designer?
Japanese designers Kenzo and Issey Miyake. I like creativity in a simple way. I don’t know the fashion universe very well. I discovered an exhibition for McQueen in London and I loved it, it was unbelievable. You enter his world and he’s crazy, he’s a genius!
Other than Baume & Mercier, what watch would you wear or admire?
I continue to follow the rock of Francois-Paul Journe, I love this guy because he’s crazy in his way. He creates a very different movement and at the same time he has his own style. I love the MB&F watches that showcase the fluid in them, totally crazy, thick and very comfortable. I like these kinds of new creative objects.