The Baume & Mercier Azur 300m is a strong dive remix of a classic shapeZach Blass
Once an if-you-know-you-know gem within Baume & Mercier’s range, the launch of the fifth-generation Riviera in 2021 has led to its status as a widely known premier collection within the current catalogue. Born in 1973, the Riviera celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, and in just two years, the modern line has expanded rapidly with various levels of complication and case sizes. This past Watches & Wonders, Baume & Mercier revitalized a Riviera design from 1981 – the Riviera Azur 300m. These two new references ushered in a new segment of legitimate dive watches into the modern Riviera mix.
Its stainless steel case being 42.1mm in diameter is nothing new, it was one of the diameters the Riviera debuted with in 2021. In exchange for a bit more thickness, however, the new Riviera Azur delivers 300 metres of water-resistance in a case only 1.31mm thicker than the previous 100-metre water-resistant, Baumatic-powered 42mm models. The 11.97mm tall case has also been given a diver’s twist, introducing knurled, anodised aluminium edges to alternating facets of the dodecagonal bezel for better grip. You also have a timing scale, the first fifteen minutes denoted on hashes placed on a blue or black lacquered ring with the remaining indications spread every five minutes on a steel backdrop. Lastly, crown guards have been introduced to further protect the large screw-down crown. Aesthetically speaking, there are clear deviations from the original look, but I applaud the fact the Riviera DNA is not diluted one bit in this diver’s remix.
Both configurations have coloured sapphire dials with a wave decoration, one executed in smoked blue and the other in a dark grey. Interestingly, the blue model is given a fauxtina treatment with aged SuperLuminova seen on the bezel and central hours and minutes hands. The hour indices on the blue dial, however, use crisp white SuperLuminova.
The black/grey configuration, however, uses unaged and crisp white Superluminova throughout the entire dial. I personally would have done it the other way around, pairing the black configuration with the faux-aged elements instead of the blue configuration. I also would have rendered all luminous elements in the same tone of lume, rather than have contrasting coloured hour indices. Luminous hues aside, each also has a date complication that is executed with a white-on-black disc that blends well into each dial. Having said that, with the Azur 300m, the aperture has moved from the 3 o’clock position to the 4:30 position – a switch up some may not favour. While I am usually a dial purist who prefers date windows at 3 or 6 o’clock, this is a 4:30-positioned date complication done well. Considering the fact the entire date wheel is subtly visible at all times, the position is less of a factor for me. I also think the dial looks more balanced with 12 hour indices rather than a truncated one to make space for the date aperture.
The integrated design of the watch may limit your ability to explore aftermarket options, but fortunately, Baume & Mercier has a wide variety of factory interchangeable straps for you to choose from. The blue model can be purchased on a blue rubber strap, or it can be purchased with both the blue rubber strap and bracelet bundled – this bundle is a web-exclusive.
The black model, however, is only listed online with a steel bracelet. However, the black rubber strap, along with interchangeable rubber straps in a variety of colours and textures, and the steel bracelet can be purchased from Baume & Mercier separately – giving you plenty of options that you can swap between easily with just a press of a button. The bracelet may not include a diver’s extension within the clasp, but the butterfly clasp does a great job of keeping the watch centred on your wrist.
Inside, you have the strong Baumatic automatic movement, offering five full days of power reserve, magnetic resistance of up to 1,500 Gauss, and COSC regulation with accuracy within +6/-4 seconds per day. While the decoration of the movement is machined and rather basic – largely perlage with striping on the rotor – it is worth noting just how much of a value add such a calibre is in the context of the Riviera Azur 300m’s price point. After all, effectively the same movement is used within the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40, and that watch is at least more than double the price.
At its price point, the Riviera Azur 300m is a competitive offering that has a power reserve that is more often than not double that of other pieces in its competitive set. Also, while adding in dive watch hallmarks, this is done in a manner that retains the Riviera’s distinct look and appeal. If you are thinking about purchasing the blue dial, I would encourage splurging for the bundle – as you will save a bit of money if you get both upfront, rather than purchasing the other strap later.
Baume & Mercier Riviera Azur 300m pricing and availability
The Baume & Mercier Riviera Azur 300m is available now.
Price: A$6,200, US$4,150 (rubber strap); A$6,500, US$4,350 (bracelet); A$6,800, US$4,500 (bracelet and rubber strap bundle – blue dial only).
Additional rubber straps can be purchased for A$280, US$220.
|Brand||Baume & Mercier|
|Model||Riviera Azur 300m|
|Case Dimensions||42.1mm (D) x 11.97mm (T)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||300 metres, screw-down crown|
|Dial||Smoked blue or grey sapphire|
|Strap||Steel bracelet or rubber strap, quick-release|
|Movement||Baumatic BM13-1975A, automatic|
|Power Reserve||120 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Price||A$6,200, US$4,150 (rubber strap)
A$6,500, US$4,350 (bracelet)
A$6,800, US$4,500 (bracelet and rubber strap bundle – blue dial only)