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“Virtual Try-On”: The new watch shopping experience

With its “Virtual Try-On” feature, Baume & Mercier is launching an innovative concept that allows customers to test watches from the Riviera collection directly from the Brand’s website, without needing to use a social media platform or app, or indeed without needing to use a marker on the customer’s wrist. This advanced augmented reality technology embodies the Brand’s innovative outlook and its ultimate objective: to meet customer expectations as best it can. A world-first for a Brand with more than 190 years of know-how.

AR innovation to benefit customers

🗣 Using the camera on your cell phone, the “Virtual Try-On” feature shows you how the various iconic Riviera watches on the Baume & Mercier website would look on your wrist. Simply go to the page featuring the watch you wish to try on, click open your camera, place your wrist behind your cell phone and the Riviera watch of your dreams will appear as if by magic. The process is unique because it does not require a social media interface, an app download, or wrist markers. It works with all types of cell phones with cameras because it is based on a web browser. That’s all there is to it.

Your chosen watch will appear on your wrist and can be viewed from any angle. This tailor-made remote service has been designed to benefit customers who can then browse the collection from one model to another, selecting their watch with complete peace of mind, whether they are at home or anywhere else, and whether they are alone or surrounded by trusted advisers. The process is simple, user-friendly, comfortable, and enjoyable.

Their innovation vision drove the Brand to call on its internal talent to develop the Baumatic movement with innovative materials and concepts. While the movement itself is a technological breakthrough, it was created specifically to meet the expectations of customers looking for a timepiece that would combine design and performance.

The “Virtual Try-On” feature is currently available for the iconic Riviera collection only but may be applied to the other Baume & Mercier collections in the future. Since the Riviera collection was launched in 1973, it has epitomized Baume & Mercier’s know-how through its design, shape, and watchmaking expertise. Recreated in 2021 and faithful to its philosophy, it has been enhanced with some variations, which were unveiled during Watches & Wonders in April. The bold and contemporary collection now offers this modern feature that is sure to delight its many aficionados, who, guided by “Virtual Try-On” will be able to select the Riviera they prefer.

The process: What was the mission?

🗣 The initial mission was to allow the brand to offer its online customers a virtual try-on of the Riviera watch in real-time. The goal was to visualize the product page and then to see how it would look on the wrist virtually.

It was important for the brand that the visuals be realistic and in the image of the real product, but also that the experience be fluid, practical and easy. That’s why the experience is available to everyone, without any mobile application, directly in the browser.

How did they achieve this?

Internally, 3 departments were mobilized:

👉 The rendering and modeling unit

👉 R&D department

👉 Technical & integration unit

Major steps of the project

  1. Modeling

🗣 From the CAD models sent by the brand, the modeling started. Using photos of the watches, the team worked on the shapes and reliefs of this emblematic watch and modeled 3 sizes of watches (36, 42 and 43mm). The first one is available in 5 variations, the second one in 7 variations, and the last one in 3.

The particularity of this project was to make a model and a rendering adapted to a Virtual try-on experience and not to a 3D configurator. Thus, it was important to consider the shape and size of the wrist as well as the rendering on camera.

  1. Rendering setups

🗣 Specific materials were applied on the watch models: metal and rubber applied on the strap, and a custom creation for the dial, since it is a solarized dial, which on certain variations is transparent to reveal the watch mechanism. Indeed, it was necessary to create tailor-made materials in order to replicate the effects of transparency and light of the real object as faithfully as possible.

The goal was to find the right compromise between different lights so as to achieve a rendering that would be as natural as possible on the wrist while respecting the artistic direction and the visual identity of the brand. Finally, last details were added to bring more realism to the experience, such as the shadows on the watch around the wrist. 

  1. Research and innovation

🗣 User needs analysis is to understand what their behaviors are, and what will facilitate their experience and understanding. The way they instinctively position their arm during the fitting, the hand on which they would try the watch, the angle of view from which they film themselves, etc.

Once this is established, the goal is to generate and collect data in order to start a machine learning process that is meant to be representative of a variety of user behaviors.

  1. Implementing the module

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