The Riviera 39 is Baume & Mercier’s mid-size champion

The Riviera 39 is Baume & Mercier’s mid-size champion

D.C. Hannay

It seems like everyone in the watch industry has jumped on the integrated luxury sports watch bandwagon in recent years, but for some, it’s a continuation of a long tradition. Baume & Mercier can lay claim to having built the wheels on that original wagon, releasing their classic Riviera model all the way back in 1973. 50 years later, the brand introduced their first 39mm version, the new Baume & Mercier Riviera 39mm. While it’s undoubtedly an elegant timepiece, the Riviera can claim legitimate sporting credentials, having survived the 24 hours of Le Mans fastened to the wheel of a BMW sports car. Clearly, the Riviera keeps the “sports” in “sports luxury”.

The case


Fans of the Riviera will recognise the familiar contours of the broad, 12-sided bezel, secured with four screws. What’s new is this just-right case size, for those looking for more presence than the 36mm version, but less bulk than the bigger, bolder 42 mm model. The satin and polish-finished case is water-resistant to 100 metres, putting it firmly in the do-it-all sporty dress watch category. The darker bezel of the titanium version gives everything a more tool-like look, opting for a sandblasted finish instead of the steel model’s radial brushing. The titanium version also gets a gilt steel ring highlighting the outside edges of the bezel. The case’s low profile also keeps the height to just over 10mm, ensuring the Riviera is equally at home whether dressed up or down.

The dial


The two dials we’re looking at included a smoked grey sapphire that features on the all-steel bracelet model, as well as the titanium bezel model, and a blue sapphire dial on the steel with blue alligator and rubber strap. Those distinctive transparent dials are decorated with a subtle wave pattern, and afford a discreet view of the movement below, as well as the date wheel. The faceted hands and applied indices include Roman numerals at 12 and 6, are rhodium-plated (gilt on the titanium version) and filled with glowing blue Super-LumiNova. A sapphire dial is a pretty uncommon sight, and it suits the sporty look of the Riviera, with the blue version looking especially vibrant.

The movement


All three share the Baumatic BM13-1975A movement, a COSC-certified automatic produced by Richemont sibling Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier. It features 21 jewels, a beat rate of 4Hz, and a frankly stellar 120 hour power reserve. That’s a full five days, for those playing along at home. The movement is nicely decorated, too, with some attractive engine turning and a Geneva-striped rotor.

The strap/bracelet


The integrated three-link bracelet is available on the steel version, but strap exchanges are kept hassle-free with Baume & Mercier’s tool-less system. The slight V-shape suggested by the lugs flows perfectly into the outer links of the bracelet, giving a look that carries just a hint of menace. If you want to go casual, the rubber straps are the way to go, but don’t worry: the alligator insert adds an air of refinement to the steel versions, and the strap secures with a butterfly clasp.

The verdict


If you’re looking for an integrated luxury sports watch with genuine heritage, the Baume & Mercier Riviera is a real contender. The 39mm case size makes it an easy wear for the average wrist, and the 12-sided bezel gives it a confident visual impact. And we’ve all heard of the weekend-proof movement, but is week-proof a thing? Well, it is now. And speaking of the movement, you’ll get an 8-year warranty on all Baumatic-equipped watches, with a recommended service interval of 10 years, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Baume & Mercier Riviera 39 mm pricing and availability

The Baume & Mercier Riviera 39 mm is available now, priced at US$3,750 for the grey-dialled stainless model on the matching bracelet, US$3,750 for the blue-dialled stainless model on the matching blue alligator and rubber strap, or US$4,150 for the titanium version on the canvas-textured grey rubber strap.

Brand Baume & Mercier
Model Riviera 39mm
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 10.21mm (T) (10.31mm for titanium version)
Case Material Stainless steel, stainless with titanium bezel
Water Resistance 100m
Dial Smoked grey or blue sapphire with wave pattern
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Bracelet/Strap Stainless bracelet, blue alligator/rubber, grey rubber
Movement Baumatic BM13-1975A, automatic
Power Reserve 120 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price US$3,750 (steel on bracelet or alligator/rubber)
US$4,150 (titanium on rubber)