Handsome, affordable and now with an added touch of luxury
At SIHH 2013, Baume & Mercier launched its Clifton collection with several versions featuring different complications, dial executions, bracelet and strap options. The model has been an overwhelming commercial success.
Later in 2013, Baume & Mercier enlarged the Clifton collection still further with the release of the Clifton GMT. This stylish model, as the name suggests, features an additional hand, conveniently imparting the prevailing hour in a second time zone, proving ideal for those individuals who often work in different timezones.
The talented Baume & Mercier design team, headed by the charismatic Alexandre Peraldi, have been hard at work, creating new designs to capitalise on the growing sales momentum of the Clifton and heightened brand awareness of the historical Genevan company, founded in 1830.
More Clifton models in 2014
This year at SIHH 2014, the company launched the drop-dead gorgeous, Clifton Retrograde Date Ref. 10149. The dial display features hour, minutes, central sweep seconds, day indication, power-reserve indicator and a sublime retrograde date located adjacent the crown, presented on an arcing-scale.
Another handsome horological chap, quietly sitting in the corner at SIHH 2014 was the Clifton Ref. 10140. It perhaps did not grab the headlines so profoundly as its new, attractive sibling, the Clifton Retrograde Date Ref. 10149. However, the relatively quiet introduction of the Clifton Ref. 10140 to the range should not detract from what is an appealing and affordable timepiece.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140 – Dial
To create the Clifton Ref. 10140, Baume & Mercier drew upon a former model from its museum which harks back to the 1950s. However, its models are not replicas, but rather classically styled timepieces, imbued with design cues of the past and distilled for today’s buyer. The result is a broad collection of models with an obvious beauty and absence of the garish or crass. Indeed, such is the profound success of the design team that there are no ugly ducklings in the range, every option is tasteful and refined.
The dial canvas of the Ref. 10140 is silver coloured with a sun satin-finish. At first glance, the Ref. 10099, launched in 2013 is similar. However, where the 10140 is different is the incorporation of gilt applied Roman numerals and deliciously indulgent gilt indexes. The dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands are presented in gilt, reaffirming the sense of luxury.
The resultant vista is a rich, slightly decadent persona. It feels more prosperous and the added vibrancy of the materials used confers more charisma. Moreover, the gilt appears to grant more depth to the dial. Whilst this is evidently an optical illusion, with the volumes of each element the same for both models, the perception remains.
A notable attribute of this watch is its legibility. The clear communication with the wearer is very good, ensuring ease of interpretation.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140 – Case
The case measures 41mm in diameter. I find this particular size to be very wearable, with a broad appeal that suits an array of varying wrist sizes. I personally have no problem wearing larger case diameters of 43mm, 44mm and 45mm, but accept not everyone shares my leviathan proportions.
When it comes to the Clifton Ref. 10140, appearances can be deceptive. Quite simply, the 41mm case diameter does not seem as large in reality. This is because the chevé sapphire crystal exudes a more diminutive appearance when the Clifton is placed upon the arm.
The bezel is 18-carat red gold, cleverly granting a new temperament to the Ref. 10140 not seen elsewhere in the range. The bi-colour bracelet steel and 18-carat red gold, looks resplendent, sits comfortably on the wrist, courtesy of the triple folding clasp, feeling very secure and well made.
An exhibition case back, secured with four screws, accords a view of the movement.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140 – Movement
The “Swiss Made” movement, the Sellita SW260-1, is self-winding with a frequency of 4 Hertz, contains 31 jewels and has a power-reserve of 38 hours.
Baume & Mercier does not pretend to be a manufacture, its skill is in procurement. The company sources components that are of high quality, whilst allowing the brand to offer watches which deliver notable value for money. This particular movement within the Ref. 10140 is a case in point. The oscillating mass features snailed decor, Côtes de Genève motif and incorporates the brand’s Phi logo. Furthermore, the bridges are circular grained. The finishing is pleasing, bearing in mind the modest pricing of the model.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140 – Closing remarks
Baume & Mercier has launched some very handsome timepieces in recent years. The Hampton, Capeland and, most recently, the Clifton have all shown the brand’s talent at producing good-looking high quality watches at very keen prices.
The Clifton Ref. 10140 is a worthy addition to the Clifton collection, delivering a touch of flamboyance that will appeal to those of more extrovert persuasion. I accept that not everyone will succumb to the charms of this particular model, but by releasing this variant, Baume & Mercier has provided more choice to would-be buyers and arguably with such an extensive range, offers something to appeal to all tastes.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140 – Technical Specification
Model: Baume & Mercier Clifton Ref. 10140
- Stainless steel and 18-carat red gold,
- Diameter 41 mm; Height 11.54 mm,
- Water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres),
- Sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Mechanical self-winding movement (Sellita SW260-1),
- Frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz),
- 31 jewels,
- Power reserve 38 hours.
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, and date.
Bracelet: Stainless steel and 18-carat red gold bracelet with triple folding clasp with security push pieces.