Baume & Mercier's foray into the world of in-house movements resulted in one of the biggest value propositions of 2018, the Clifton Baumatic. Well, this year the simple steel watch with an impressive five-day power reserve was the subject of a stylish makeover, in the form of a blue dial. But not just any blue. The cadran bleu, as it's called, is a deep, dark graduated blue that veers strongly into black territory at its outer limits. It's not as bold or flashy as some other graduated blue dials, but it's also a lot more mysterious as black. Dial change aside, everything else is business as usual. The case is 40mm, and the watch comes either on leather (my pick) or a five-link bracelet. The movement is also offered in COSC or non-COSC variants. The COSC option features a sector-style crosshair on the dial. Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Cadran Bleu pricing Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Cadran Bleu, from 2400 euro, including tax.
The story in a second: Classic on the outside, contemporary on the inside. Baume & Mercier are onto a winner here. I've always thought Baume & Mercier were at their best when they were playing with the classics. The Clifton, with its classical proportions, vintage inspiration and strong value offering, is a proposition that was hard to beat. But beat it they did, with the deceptively simple Clifton Baumatic, and its powerful movement. The case An elegantly proportioned case is a hallmark of the Clifton family, and this Baumatic version delivers, with neat and tidy dimensions of 40mm across by 10.3mm tall. But even though it's a Clifton, it's not quite the same Clifton as before. The regular — non-Baumatic — Clifton is shade wider at 41mm. It's not just the overall width here that's slimmer, the lug shoulders are more slender too, giving a greater air of timelessness overall. As you'd expect, the crystals are sapphire on the front and the rear, and it's rated to 50 metres of water resistance. The dial The classic aesthetic that's evident on the case continues onto the dial, which could perhaps be best described as simple but stylish. Crisp black printing on… Read More
Anyone who's followed the SIHH 2017 releases will have noticed a few clear trends emerging – more entry level options, more yellow gold, that sort of thing. One trend that wasn't as remarked upon in all the excitement of the fair was the way several brands made significant changes to their marketing and identity. Baume & Mercier is a case in point. Over the past few years they've invested time and effort into building their image as a brand with a long and proud heritage, and their product releases – particularly in the Clifton and Capeland collections – reflected this history. All that changed in Geneva, with the brand announcing a fresh, youthful face and a new name to go with it – the Clifton Club. Meanwhile, the runaway success that is the Shelby Cobra collaboration continues to evolve…
This year's SIHH sees Baume & Mercier release a new, sportier take on the Clifton – the Clifton Club. This collection of robust, three-handed timepieces is made for 'gentle sportsmen' – which, if I'm interpreting the PR video full of people on boards (surf and skate) and bikes (mountain and motorised) means it's a sporty go-anywhere-do-anything watch that would still fit quite neatly into your daily life. Presented in a range of dial and strap options, at its core this collection is a 42mm steel case, with a diver's bezel and legible dial design, applied indices, a bold 'Phi' logo at 12 and contemporary hands. As far as things go, it's a fairly conservative package, which works with a range of colours. It looks summery in sunburst blue, and far more stealthy when realised in black and paired with the matching black ADLC case. The strap options are good too – including a traditional three-link bracelet, a sailcloth textured 'All Road' calfskin number with contrasting orange details, and an unusual vulcanised rubber option with a central grille of vents. With 100m of water resistance across the board, a fairly slender 10.2mm profile, screw-down crown and amply applied Luminova, the Clifton Club plays it by… Read More
We've spent a fair amount of digital ink this week talking about Baume & Mercier's Clifton collection, and how it's such a neat link to the Geneva-based brand's heritage. So we thought it was only appropriate to explore this history, and how they've honoured it, in a little more detail. And who better to explore it with than Alexandre Peraldi, Baume & Mercier's Design and Product Director. Time+Tide: Looking at the watch that inspires today's Clifton collection, the resemblance is immediately obvious. Can you tell us what elements you kept, and what you changed? Alexandre Peraldi: Of course, we tried to retain as many elements from the original, with updates to meet today's quality standards. The double bevel on the bezel and caseband is the aesthetic signature of this model, and it allows the profile to remain slim, despite the relatively thick movement. The bevelled edge continues from the caseband to the tips of the lugs, creating a single line, and providing perfect visual unity from strap to baseband. And the strong graphic appeal of the Arabic numerals is also very important, and clearly speaks to the history of our brand. T+T: And were there any concessions you had to make? AP:… Read More
The story in a second Baume & Mercier's Clifton always had a pretty face. Well, that face just got complicated. It's hardly a secret. We like the Clifton at Time+Tide. It's a well-balanced collection that walks a fine line between dressy and casual, retro and modern, all while being very well priced. Typically, though, these Baume & Mercier watches tend towards the simpler complications – calendar or moonphase or date – that sort of thing. Today we're looking at a Clifton that loads all these complications into one watch. In theory it sounds good – more bang for buck, right? But in reality does all this added functionality detract from the simple allure of the Clifton? There's only one way for us to find out. The dial As is immediately obvious, there's a fair bit going on here, but the Clifton does a good job of conveying a large amount of information with as little fuss as possible. First of all, the blued hands indicate chronograph functions – central seconds, with minutes and hours at 12 and six respectively. The subdial at 12 also has windows displaying day and month, while the date is displayed via the red tip central hand…. Read More
Baume & Mercier are known for their value-focused take on traditional watchmaking. Their Clifton and Capeland collections epitomise this approach, offering versatile style at a price that won't break the bank. Of course, this means some concessions must be made: Cases are usually steel, and complications are of the more down-to-earth variety. But just because this sort of everyday mechanical is Baume & Mercier's bread and butter doesn't mean that they don't have the capacity to hit the horological high gear on occasion. In fact, over the past few years Baume & Mercier has released a series of fairly stunning special edition takes on the Clifton, including a tourbillon, this handsome 8-day power reserve model and the unusual five-minute repeater pocket watch. The latest addition to this series is a full blown perpetual calendar, housed in a slender, solid 18K red gold case. It's an extremely elegant piece, thanks to the traditional dial layout and the faceted, vintage-inspired lugs, slightly recessed crown and glassbox sapphire crystal. At 42mm across it's well sized for a complicated watch, ensuring that there's enough room on the dial for everything to be legible, but not so big as to lose the old-world charm. Looking through the sapphire… Read More
Take a good look at the image below. What do you see? A ladies' dress watch, right? That's a fair point. When you have 44 brilliant-cut diamonds bracketing a mother-of-pearl dial, a teeny 22mm case and a wrap-around bracelet, it's clear we're not operating at the rough-and-ready end of the watch spectrum. But don't be fooled into thinking the Baume & Mercier Petite Promesse is a one-trick pony. This is a versatile little gem. Here are just three ways to work it – though we guarantee there are countless more. Evening wear Let's get the obvious one out of the way first, shall we? This watch performs very well in the presence of lace, clutch bags and Champagne. Meanwhile, thanks to a clever mechanism for setting the time using a tool that inserts into the caseback, there's no crown on the side to disrupt the all-important silhouette, which is especially important after dark. This is elegance to a tee. Biker chic Weren't expecting that, were you? But see, no woman worth her buttery-soft calfskin leather goes all-out butch when she does biker chic. (Exhibit 1: fresh white sneakers. Exhibit 2: lack of obvious guns and/or tyre irons.) A chunky timepiece would be overkill, while a… Read More