The Baume & Mercier Hampton embodies Art Deco sophisticationBorna Bošnjak
Often you’ll hear of a watch that stands out from the crowd, does something novel or makes a splash in its category. The Baume & Mercier Hampton takes a different approach, however. By virtue of its Art Deco-inspired, architectural cases, they look to be the perfect everyday watch, without evoking excess excitement or attention. Backed by nearly two centuries of watchmaking know-how, the Hampton has an old-soul feel, powered by modern components. The two models we’re looking at today are the Dual Time and Classique, representing two sides of the Hampton coin – one time-only, the other with two complications.
Elongated indices extend from the railway track minute markings to the rectangular centre portion of the dial, almost suspending it like steel beams above the textured outer section. The rough portion of the dial works well in contrast with the highly polished steel indices and the Arabic numerals at 12. The Dual Time adds two additional displays, with a big date below the Baume & Mercier script and a second timezone and day/night indicator at 6 o’clock.
The Classique pares back the dial features, though still retains the applied indices, this time with an additional Arabic at 6 o’clock. The glaive hands are crafted from black ruthenium to match the indices and offer some extra contrast against the bright dial colour.
The case is clearly the most distinct feature of the Hampton. Despite the relatively small dimensions on-paper, rectangular cases generally wear larger once on the wrist. The Dual Time measures in at 31mm across, with 46.1mm lug-to-lug and a thickness of 11.1mm. With its thick, stumpy lugs and mostly flat profile, the Dual Time has ample wrist presence. The thick, padded leather strap sits very close to the case, with one end partially shrouded, and any strap changes will be made easier with the convenient quick-release system.
The Classique, on the other hand, tones down these dimensions to 27.4mm across, 42.8mm lug-to-lug and 10.1mm in height. This size reduction also softens the sculpted case features, yet still retains the look of the middle case being suspended in between the lugs, which go on to curve down like blunt talons. The tight weave of the Milanaise bracelet on the Classique has a reassuring feel, though I have felt it nipping at the very few hairs on my wrist from time to time. On both models, the sapphire crystal follows the arc that begins with the lugs, extending past the flat top of the case.
Baume & Mercier chose two off-the-shelf movements to power these Hampton models. The first is a Soprod TT651, featuring a big date and 12-hour hand alongside the main handset. It’s based on a Soigné-grade ETA 2892. The specs are all pretty standard – 42-hour power reserve and 28,800 vph, with the exception of the operation of the big date. Instead of incrementing the left digit only when necessary, the disc is printed with four zeroes, and duplicate ones, twos and threes. This matches the 10 digits on the right disc, presumably making for less complicated gearing.
The Classique once again goes a simple route, opting for an ETA 2671 with 38 hours of power reserve. Owing to the small horizontal dimensions of the case, a regular ETA 2824 or 2892 were out of the question, as they measure in at 25.6mm. The solution was the 2671 with its teeny-tiny 17.2mm diameter.
Baume & Mercier Hampton pricing and availability:
|Baume & Mercier
|27.4mm x 42.8mm x 10.1mm (10672)
31mm x 46.1mm x 11.1mm (10666)
|Sapphire crystal, front and back
|Silver opaline (10672)
Slate grey (10666)
|Stainless steel Milanaise mesh bracelet (10672)
Black leather strap with faux-croc embossing (10666)
|ETA 2671, time-only (10672)
Soprod TT651, big date and dual timezone indication (10666)
|38 hours (10672)
42 hours (10666)