The Baume & Mercier Riviera 33mm offers compact wrists agency in the integrated-bracelet landscape The Baume & Mercier Riviera 33mm offers compact wrists agency in the integrated-bracelet landscape

The Baume & Mercier Riviera 33mm offers compact wrists agency in the integrated-bracelet landscape

Zach Blass

The Riviera collection and its dodecagonal design dates back to 1973, placing its debut firmly in between the Royal Oak from 1972 and Nautilus from 1976 – signaling the pedigree of an original and distinct design. It also means this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Riviera. To celebrate, a slew of new releases debuted within the collection this year with new Riviera Azur 300m and Riviera 39mm models. Baume & Mercier took the celebrations even further and unveiled three new 33mm offerings to add more size variety and dimension to their popular luxury sports watch.

The downsized, 33mm brushed case at a modest 9.12mm thick shares the same 12-sided design language as its larger siblings and older references. The faceted bezel and its four screws, at a surface level, may give it a Genta porthole sensibility, but it is radially brushed on the surface with polished chamfers, providing an ultimately subtle yet distinguished aura. The crown is also geometric, its push-pull functionality offering 50 metres of water resistance. Though the advertising is directed towards women, the 33mm case size would suit any compact wrist.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Quartz 5

The case flows almost seamlessly into a brushed and polished three-link bracelet that swiftly tapers for an added sense of refinement. It is rather well-finished in line with the price point and feels nice and comfortable on the wrist thanks to its easily centred butterfly clasp. Overall, a solid level of fit and finish to be sure. A clever and easy-to-use interchangeable bracelet system allows you to change up your look without needing tools and there are a variety of rubber strap colour options that can be purchased separately.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Quartz 3

On the new quartz models, the sunburst dials are executed in either a deep blue or striking imperial purple, and each have a texture reminiscent of the waves of the French Riviera. The applied hour markers, Roman indices at 6 and 12, and faceted hands are rhodium-plated and filled with blue-glowing SuperLuminova, while a black-on-white date aperture is located at the conventional 3 o’clock position. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, the dial would be that much more elevated had the brand colour-matched the date discs to the dial. At least the contrast, while purist-irking, is very legible.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Quartz 1

A Ronda quartz movement is housed inside these two references, but without a running second hand, it is not overtly obvious this duo is not mechanically driven. That being said, Baume & Mercier have offered a mechanical configuration alongside these two quartz references as well. Most manufacturers don’t offer their 33mm integrated-bracelet models with automatic movements, so it is great to see Baume & Mercier offer at least one variant with a mechanical calibre.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Automatic 1

The automatic version though, unlike the quartz models, is adorned with four Top Wesselton diamonds in place of the usual bezel screws. With the seemingly feminine targeting of the launch, this feels a little shrink-it-and-pink-it, but there is ultimately nothing wrong with diamond-set watches. Who knows – down the line sans-diamond 33mm automatic models could make their debut. This automatic model utilises a creamy champagne dial not found within the quartz duo, and is furnished with rose gold-coloured hands and indices. Looking at the bezel, the golden hue extends out to the externals with a gilded ring that brings added flair and a sense of luxury. The dial motif and layout, however, remain the same as the quartz models.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Automatic 2

Inside, a 38-hour Sellita movement can be seen through an exhibition case back with the rotor featuring the brand’s phi logo. It is neither technically nor aesthetically the most glamorous movement, but it is tried-and-true, and it does fill a large portion of the caseback which is visually more pleasing. It is also worth noting the transition from a quartz movement to an automatic movement results in just over 0.5mm added to the overall thickness.

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Automatic 4

If you’re in the market for a smaller entry-level luxury integrated-bracelet sports watch, the Riviera 33mm is worth having on your radar thanks to its burgeoning recognisability and hassle-free interchangeable system. In a landscape where smaller watches can fall victim to the shrink, pink, and quartz strategy, the 33mm Riviera gives buyers a bit of agency with the choice of classic automatic or quartz. I do wish the depth rating could have hit 100 metres, although 50 is certainly suitable for surface swimming. And, as usual, I would also urge Baume & Mercier to look into colour-matched date discs.

Baume & Mercier Riviera 33mm pricing and availability

Baume Mercier Riviera 33mm Quartz 4

The Baume & Mercier Riviera 33mm is available now with both automatic and quartz movements. Price: A$3,050 (quartz), A$4,900 (automatic)

Brand Baume & Mercier
Model Riviera 33mm
Reference Number 10727
10728
10730
Case Dimensions 33mm (D) x 9.12mm (T) (quartz)
33mm (D) x 9.57mm (T) (automatic)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 50 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue, purple or champagne
Lug Width Integrated
Strap Steel bracelet with triple folding clasp
Movement Ronda 714 Li, quartz
Sellita SW200, automatic
Power Reserve 10-year battery life (quartz)
38 hours (automatic)
Functions Hours, minutes, date (quartz)
Hours, minutes, seconds, date (automatic)
Availability Now
Price A$3,050, US$1,950 (quartz)
A$4,900, US$3,200 (automatic)