Baume & Mercier take the Riviera to the next level with the new Riviera Squelette Baume & Mercier take the Riviera to the next level with the new Riviera Squelette

Baume & Mercier take the Riviera to the next level with the new Riviera Squelette

Tom Austin

Given where Baume & Mercier has been positioned in the market in recent years, and if you’ve not paid much attention, you might think that the Riviera line is fundamentally a response to the recent uptick in the number of watches with multi-faceted cases and integrated bracelets/straps. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Riviera celebrated its 50th anniversary last year; that’s right, the Riviera was originally designed in 1973, a time when the idea of a luxury sports watch was being challenged and designs were being pushed further left field.


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For Baume & Mercier, this particular design went on to be extremely successful, with no fewer than 52 different watches in the Riviera range today. From 33mm diameter ladies’ watches to full-blown, limited edition perpetual calendars, the range is diverse, and to put it simply, there’s something for everyone. And now, in 2024, Baume & Mercier mean business with their latest release, the Riviera Squelette. ‘Squelette’, of course, is French for skeleton, so this is a skeletonised version of the Riviera, elevating it to the next level of style with an openworked dial for the first time.

The case

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette case

Baume & Mercier is no newcomer to watches on the larger side; their range consists of many, and the Squelette fits in at the upper end at 42mm. In stainless steel, sometimes 42mm watches can be cumbersome – however, at a svelte 11.1mm, the Squelette is perfectly acceptable. Yes, it does perhaps suit a slightly larger wrist a little better, but this is a statement piece after all, so it’s never going to go unnoticed, no matter what size it is. That’s not to say it’s distasteful, though; quite the contrary, every line on the case is subtly curved and unfussy with care and attention taken with the finish everywhere you look. Each surface on the case and the bezel is either polished or satin-brushed to a high level of quality and gives the feeling in the hand that this is something premium.

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette on wrist

The case design itself is a simple 3-piece affair; a centre plate sandwiched between two dodecagonal outer bezels, one on the back, the other on the front, all clamped together with 4 screw assemblies. It’s a design we have seen done elsewhere by the likes of Hublot or Audemars Piguet. However, the Riviera’s 4 fixings lead to an all-around cleaner look, remaining symmetrical and helping to bring the watch to a respectable 100m water resistance.

The dial

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette dial

Openworked for the first time, the Squelete’s dial is integral to the movement. It starts with a satin-brushed main plate, with a simple and clear hour and minute track around the circumference. The cavities in this plate aren’t just simply cut out; they have wonderful deep angles in the edges, which give a real sense of depth and quality to the surface of the dial.  The balance wheel is positioned at 6 o’clock, with the balance bridge receiving the same black brushed finish. Finishing off the dial is just a simple pair of open-worked hour and minute hands tipped with blue Super-LumiNova.

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette

The Baume & Mercier branding is printed on the inside of the crystal to give it that floating appearance above the skeletonised dial and movement. The result is contrary to the majority of skeletonised watches because you can actually tell the time with it. Care has clearly been taken with the dial plate, ensuring each cutout corresponds with an hour, so at a glance, you can easily read the time, something seldom seen with skeletonised watches.

The movement

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette caseback

The Squelete is built around the automatic Sellita AMT2500 calibre, a simple Swiss time-only movement, modified with the skeletonised dial face and fitted with a special open-worked black oscillating weight at the back. It’s actually a great job that the movement looks so great from the front because, sadly, this is perhaps not quite the case on the rear of the watch, viewed through the exhibition case back.

Not that the movement is awful to look at, it’s just perhaps not as ornate as one would expect given the design up front; however, I think at this price point, we can probably give the Riviera a pass for this.  Operationally, it’s a fine Sellita movement with a 38-hour power reserve and 27 jewels, and it operates at 4hz. One improvement I would like is to be able to see straight through the movement to give it that fully skeletonised effect. However, as I mentioned, given the price point, I think it’s a fair compromise.

The strap

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette strap

Integrated bracelets and straps are, of course, still the talk of the town these days, and the Riviera has this nailed. The “Fast Strap” quick-release function is uniquely integrated into the case design, allowing for easy strap swaps, for which there are a number of choices from Baume & Mercier. The strap provided with the Squelete is primarily black rubber, inlaid with a canvas decoration on the outer face, which honestly looks great, alongside being hard-wearing. The strap is secured with a stainless steel, triple-folding buckle with simple push-button releases on either side. It’s quick and easy to secure into place and won’t budge without you wanting it to, which is always a good sign of a solid buckle design.

The verdict

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette lifestyle

The Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette ultimately punches above its weight. It consists of most of the features one would ever need from a watch that you want to look fantastic and has elements of watches that are many multiples of its price. Importantly, as a skeletonised dial, to me, one of the biggest wins here is legibility. All too often, you can look at an open-worked watch and have no idea what the time is, even after spending a good 5, 6, 7 seconds staring at it – awkward when you need to know in a hurry. The Squelette’s simplicity means this isn’t an issue and makes for one of those fancy skeleton watches you can actually wear and use every day.

The case size is a little on the large side, but there are other options from B&M if you want something smaller. Overall, the Squelette is a grand effort from Baume & Mercier, with a price point that, compared to most in a similar category, is not something to be overlooked.

Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette pricing & availability

baume and mercier riviera squellette front back

Unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2024, the Baume & Mercier Riviera Squelette is a regular production model and will be available from April 2024, directly from Baume & Mercier online or from selected stockists. Price: A$6,900.

Brand Baume & Mercier
Model Riviera Squelette
Reference M0A10721
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 11.1mm (T)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100m
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and back
Dial Openworked with brushed black highlights
Strap Integrated black rubber
Movement Sellita AMT 2500, automatic, skeletonised
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability From April 2024
Price A$6,900