Baume and Mercier has announced a preview of a new chronograph model that will complement their Clifton collection. This new model is to be formally presented at the SIHH 2014 to be held in Geneva from 20 to 22 January next year.
Baume & Mercier was founded in 1830 and is the seventh oldest watchmaker still operating, and during its long history they once made tourbillons and even minute repeaters. Today, the watchmaker looks to its heritage by returning to its roots and creating an automatic chronograph with aesthetics and finishes inspired by watches from the 1950s, a period considered by watchmakers as the golden age of wristwatches. During this period Baume & Mercier chronographs were widely recognized for their qualities and very much appreciated by watch connoisseurs, these early models are still a worthy investment if you are lucky enough to find one.
Over time Baume & Mercier has earned the image of a house whose name evokes timeless elegance and discretion as further evidenced with the addition of this elegant chronograph model to the Clifton family. The Clifton range has something to offer most buyers, and was inspired by past B&M models but is a continuation of the Baume & Mercier Classima line. The Clifton line appears to be a very adaptable and understated line of everyday dress watches that offer a range of dial designs, sizes and case metals.
The Clifton Chronograph offers an undeniable vintage appeal, this model has however, been thoroughly reworked by Studio Design Baume & Mercier.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph – Case & Movement
This chronograph model features a slightly more refined case design compared to the previous Clifton models. All three editions of the Clifton Chronograph come in a stainless steel case that is a combination of polished and satin-finished steel that measures 43 mm in diameter and 14.95 mm in height. The design has a rather classic style with modern lines and a size corresponding to the current market trends, its classical looks are a natural extension of the 2013 Clifton models. A sapphire case back that is secured with 4 screws provides water resistance to approx 50 meters (165 feet).
The Clifton chronograph is powered by an automatic ETA 7750 movement which – for its reliability and resilience- it certainly needs no introduction and is unquestionably regarded as one of the best chronograph movements ever created. Formerly called Valjoux, and being born in 1974 it will next year no doubt celebrate its first forty years. Customized by Baume & Mercier it has a decorated winding rotor and bridges with circular-grained finish and rhodium-plated screws which can be viewed through the transparent case back.
Beating at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) the movement is built on 25 jewels and features a power reserve of 48 hours.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph – Dial
The dial is well balanced and very legible and apart from the chronograph complication offers a double window opening at 3:00 with indications of the day and date. The two chronograph counters are situated at 12 and 6 o’clock positions, the upper one is a 30-minute chronograph register, while the lower one displays results of up to 12 hours. A small seconds sub-dial is situated at the 9 o’clock position.
Three versions of this model will be available (two dial variants) although for me the variant with the blued hands that enhances the classic look is preferable. The dial versions are a sun satin-finished silver dial with blue hands and a sun satin-finished silver dial contrasted with golden hands and golden digits and accentuated by a full grain brown alligator skin strap. The third version features the same blued hand dial version but on a stainless steel bracelet.
The dial is viewed through an anti glare, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
The Clifton collection has a wide range of appeal and is a very versatile and understated line of everyday dress watches that offer a range of sizes, case metals and dial designs. Baume and Mercier with a model range consisting of mostly vintage-inspired and almost solely dress watches has meant that they have often been overshadowed by sportier brands such as Rolex, Omega or TAG Heuer, so the addition of another sportier model can only help Baume & Mercier get a bit more of the limelight it deserves.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph – Conclusion and Pricing
With the case size of a modern piece but with the wrist presence of a vintage watch the Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph will suit those in the market for a dressy everyday piece with an interesting and sportier traditional complication setup. Incidentally if this watch design appeals to you then you may also like the Hamilton Jazzmaster which follows a similar aesthetic. The Clifton chronograph will be available later in 2014 and is expected to be priced around the $4k range.