Incoming: sustainable watches made out of upcycled skateboard decks.
Let’s set the scene. It’s Paris, the room is pure kinetic energy and endless rows of scuffed Vans and Converse are currently poised toe-first, ready to drop boards into a make-shift skate bowl, which literally a matter of hours ago pretty much resembled woodchips.
It’s the buzzy launch party for the collaboration between sustainable watch brand BAUME and legendary skateboarder Erik Ellington with his brand HRS (Human Recreational Services). The result? Limited edition timepieces, crafted from upcycled skate decks previously used by Erik and Palace friends Lucien Clarke, Blondey McCoy and Rory Milanes.
Earlier on in the day, a sustainable lunch showcased BAUME’s brand values, presented by acclaimed Chef William LeDeuil, with a focus on sustainable sourced ingredients, farming and cooking.
By the end of the night, the room is wall-to-wall crawling with skaters, aching to trial out the fresh indoors skatepark, with the other floors showcasing a curated marketplace of brands including Wayward, Jetlag Brothers with Lucien Clarke, Sex and Sun Buddies.
But the focus of course, are the watches, which give tattered boards a second life. Each timepiece from the collection rocks a unique case, thanks to variation in the colour and texture of the wood within a single skateboard deck.
We grabbed a chat with head of BAUME, Marie-Emmanuelle Chassot, about the new collaboration and why it’s different…
How is BAUME different from traditional watchmaking – why is sustainability so important to you guys?
The first question we asked ourselves when we started with this project was: ‘seriously, do we want to create a new watch brand? There are so many’. And we decided if we were going to do it, it would need to be responsible and a force for good. And just propose a new paradigm for watch-making. You can do things differently, you can commit to not using leather anymore, a more responsible supply chain, not creating stock and destroying. And just have this ambition to leave a better planet to the next generation.
And it’s great the watches are genderless…
Yes! Can we stop saying to people this is what you have to wear? Can we stop saying this is for you ladies, you have to wear pink. I have a daughter and I just want her to be able choose. And this is the whole philosophy of the brand. That’s also why we champion the customisation aspect.
So this is BAUME’s first collaboration, and you’ve partnered with HRS, which is skateboarding but also footwear, what made you choose them?
We love to collaborate with small businesses, because we are a small business still. We met Erik in Los Angeles, in Malibu, when we launched the brand. We created a BAUME house over there, and were connecting with subcultures and different communities, to really get to know people. And we hung out with Erik, found we were sharing the same clients, the same vision of the clients, and he has the codes of the skate community. It was a very symbiotic relationship. We thought you can’t recycle a skateboard, and it will probably end up in the garage, so we can just upcycle them and give them a second life. There’s a soul in these old skates. They live. There is a whole story and value in these watches.
What’s been the most challenging part this collaboration?
It definitely has been a challenge. But I think we have a great team, we have real experts. So there’s this whole spirit in the brand – people who love to enjoy life, who also love the challenge.
And how involved did HRS get into the actual design process?
We had a lot of discussions with Erik, a lot of back and forth. But it was super easy because we just share the same vision and values. Erik is just an amazing guy, super cool, super easy, open-minded.
The person who purchases a BAUME watch might be different to one who shops HRS, how was it merging the two audiences? Do you feel like you have a bigger audience now because of the collaboration?
Yeah, I definitely think so. The whole idea is just to talk about responsibility, but in a fun way. It’s more about a story and having this community of people who love the brand, and can also convey the message. Because the whole ambition of BAUME is to connect with the wider possible audience. Because we want to be universal.
So whose idea was it to have an event like this where skaters would tell others to come? It’s an amazing way of getting a lot of organic energy behind it. It felt really natural, everyone was having such fun last night!
From the very beginning, it’s how it happened in Los Angeles and Malibu as well. From the very beginning we wanted these events to be very relaxed. We didn’t really have a community of customers. But we wanted to interact with people and have the doors open.
How do you think it’s shaped upcoming collaborations? What do you want to do next – keep the same energy and keep doing what you’re doing?
Definitely. We have other collaborations in mind, but we love this energy. What I really loved about yesterday is the crowd was so eclectic. You had teenagers with skateboards…
I saw some old women as well with dogs…
Exactly. And I really love that because it’s what BAUME is about. Universality, genderless, inclusive. Just can we have more humanity? Can we love each other? Can we just respect each other? I love that.
The Limited Edition range will be sold in limited quantities, exclusively through baumewatches.com.