Baume & Mercier’s collection of timepieces has been on a discernible upward trajectory for some time now – after years lost in the woods with middling collections and co-brands, the Geneva outfit is quietly making waves. And 2020 looks like it’s going to be another level again, with B&M layering up their sensational Baumatic model with a host of poetic, aesthetically pleasing complications.
In addition, we have a new version of the Art Deco-inspired Hampton collection in a manly rectangular case, with lots of considered details. We’ve had a look at all the new models, and picked the ones we think will be the biggest hits with you, the enthusiasts.
Baume & Mercier Hampton
The Hampton is receiving a big revamp this year, and the keen-eyed among you may recognise the new timepiece is heavily inspired by 1920s Art Deco architecture. As Baume & Mercier explain, “In the image of the great Art Deco trends of the day, the curves of the Hampton watch take precedence over right angles and give beauty to the light gliding on smooth surfaces.” In total, the watchmaker is releasing no less than eight new iterations of the Hampton – five of which are ladies examples, with the other three making up the new men’s collection. All eight of the squared-off timepieces, judging from the photos, look great. But these three models really stood out to us:
Baume & Mercier Hampton Small Quartz Watch Ref.M0A10472
As far as ladies watches go, the formula adopted by this Hampton is hard to argue – all the tropes of a classically styled women’s watch are present and accounted for. The rectangular stainless steel case measures 35 x 22.2mm and 8.1mm thick, which should ensure a great amount of bandwidth with wearers. The versatility is continued with an archetypal silvery opaline dial with contrasting rose gold coloured sword handset, riveted hour indices and Deco-styled Arabic numerals at twelve and six o’clock. The watch is capped with domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal and paired with a light brown calfskin strap with contrasting beige stitching and pin buckle. Owners will also be able to easily change straps thanks to the Hampton being fitted with a quick-release spring bar system. This Hampton looks to be a good all-rounder, and could be an excellent option for a weekend watch. Note the quick release strap system, too. Perfect for matching strap to bag, or outfit in a second. $2200 AUD
Hampton Medium Automatic Ref. M0A10522
For those after an angular men’s dress watch that isn’t a JLC Reverso or Cartier Tank, this new Hampton Medium presents as a persuasive proposition. The stainless steel case measures in at a very reasonable 43 x 27.5mm and just 10mm thick, ensuring it should slide under even the most constraining of cuffs. The dial, which is finished in an opaline silver centre and a granular, textured out edge, features classic Deco styling, which can be witnessed with the grey minute track, black ruthenium Arabic numerals and indices and black ruthenium sword-shaped handset.
This Hampton is also sandwiched with sapphire crystal, ensuring maximum legibility and also giving owners the chance to view the watch’s ticking heart. The ETA 2671 movement offers up self-winding, 21 jewels, an operating frequency of 28,800 vph and 38 hours of power reserve. The movement has also been neatly decorated by B&M, with the oscillating weight featuring the classic “Côtes de Genève” and snailed decors. The whole ensemble is tied together nicely with a black alligator leather band with grey stitching and a tri-fold steel deployant clasp. Just like the ladies iterations, this Hampton Medium also gets the easy-to-use quick-release spring bar system. $3700
Baume & Mercier Hampton Large Dual Time Zone and Day/Night Indicator Automatic Ref. M0A10523
Representing the most complicated new offering from the Hampton range, this Dual Time Zone and Day/Night Indicator example is an arresting, if sizeable, device. The stainless steel case is, as the name would suggest, large, measuring 48 x 31mm and 10.8mm thick, which isn’t that bad, all things considered. The movement, a Soprod TT651, bequeaths the angular timepiece with a great many features that include date complication, second time zone complication, day/night complication, 21 jewels, an operating frequency of 28,800 vph and 42 hours of power reserve.
The dial scores the same treatment as the aforementioned Medium Hampton; however, the addition of complications means that this iteration scores a date window located at 12 o’clock, and a dual time and day/night indicator located at six o’clock. With a reasonable recommended retail price of $6350, this flagship iteration of the new Hampton could prove to be a hit, especially as a cost-effective alternative to some of the rectangular watch’s contemporaries.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic
Easily our favourite collection from the Les Bois watchmaker, the Clifton Baumatic was already a compelling package for the money. For 2020, however, Baume & Mercier have really stepped it up a notch, adding both precious metal and complicated timepieces to the already desirable lineup. The handsome, classically proportioned dress watch now has the minerals to take it directly to its competitors – the new movements, aesthetics and precious metals have elevated the entire range to hitherto unseen heights. For those out there who really appreciate haute horology, B&M have also seen fit to bestow us with a brand new annual calendar variant, which, all things considered, looks to be a real quiet achiever. If you’re after a more traditional timepiece, the Clifton Baumatic is now more than worthy of consideration.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date and Moon-Phase Automatic in steel Ref.M0A10548
We called it our “sleeper hit” of 2020’s Watches & Wonders … and that position hasn’t changed. This is a mega bit of kit for the money, for a number of reasons. For a start, the day-date and moonphase functions of this Clifton Baumatic propel it into a different part of the watch market entirely, but without the added cost normally associated with the higher levels of complications. The dial is an absolute stunner, possessing great symmetry and an overall clarity of design that’s hard to fault. And behind the gorgeous dial we find another big talking point of the watch – its movement. Calibre BAUMATIC BM14 1975 AC2 is a self-winding tour de force of in-house excellence. It’s also the first time that B&M have made an in-house movement with these complications, which is impressive considering how well they’ve done on their first try. The nicely decorated movement, which features Côtes de Genève and snailed decors, serves up a whopping five days of power reserve, silicon hairspring and day-date and moonphase complication. Perhaps the only niggle is its increased size, which now measures 42mm across and 13.2mm thick, up from 40mm and 11.1mm thick in the regular three-handed Clifton Baumatic. Aside from that, though, this timepiece could prove to be one of B&M’s best to date, especially with an RRP of $6900 AUD.
Clifton Baumatic Automatic with Gradient Grey Dial Ref.M0A10584
Let me ask you a question: How many solid 18k pink gold, chronometer certified watches with five days of power reserve can you buy, new, for less than $11,000 AUD? That’s a legit question, because personally, I can’t think of any. Or at least I couldn’t … until now. Baume & Mercier’s rapturous, solid 18k pink gold Clifton Baumatic with gradient grey lacquered dial is a deadset darling of a dress watch. Perfect proportions (39mm x 10.74mm), classic styling that oozes class, and proper watchmaking nous that normally commands a much, much higher price. OK, sure, with an Aussie RRP of $10,900, for most folks out there this is an expensive watch. But for us, the watch tragics of the world, we know that this is an incredible value proposition, especially when you consider what this Clifton Baumatic has to offer. Well done, B&M.
Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar Ref.M0A10583
The Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar is yet another example of B&M’s efforts to democratise fine watchmaking. The case, hewn from solid 18k pink gold is solid and weighty on the wrist, giving a reassuringly luxurious feel. Likewise, the case dimensions (42mm x 12.1mm) of this QP will mean that it’s got real presence, which is arguably the desired effect, given a solid gold watch’s traditional remit. Housed inside the larger precious metal case is Baume & Mercier’s in-house Calibre BM13 1975 AC2. This impressive movement, which comprises a Baumatic base with Dubois-Dépraz 55102 module, offers up self-winding, annual calendar and moonphase complication, five days of power reserve and handsome Côtes de Genève and snailed decors, which can be viewed thanks to a sapphire crystal caseback. At $38,500, this is an awful lot of haute horology for the money.