INTRODUCING: A strong 70s revival sees the reawakening of the Baume & Mercier Riviera INTRODUCING: A strong 70s revival sees the reawakening of the Baume & Mercier Riviera

INTRODUCING: A strong 70s revival sees the reawakening of the Baume & Mercier Riviera

Thor Svaboe

Revisiting a distinct design with roots from 1973, Baume & Mercier has reinvented their Riviera range and we caught just as it was putting its gloves on and jumping into the ring to battle it out. What was it fighting for? I am, of course, talking about the legendary Integrated Bracelet Middleweight Belt and, yes, in the Baume & Mercier Riviera, we have a fit new contender. Secure in their knowledge of having a sharp design on their hands, the brand launches the Riviera on supple, tough looking rubber, steel bracelets, and in three sizes with colourful dials.

I’m feeling torn here, as the raison d’être and inspiration for the Riviera is exactly what you might think, the carefree jet-setting lifestyle of the Côte d’Azur (the French Riviera). Which to me brings both heartfelt worry and a warm, fuzzy feeling in equal measure, as my family is booked on a flight to Nice this summer if the pandemic gods permit us to travel. The azure blue dial and the sports glamour of the Baume & Mercier Riviera would do me very nicely indeed for a summery wrist presence when I have that first Negroni.

Dedacagonal bezel you say? Yes, angular like the ’70s icons we love, but well… edgier, with 12 sides, not eight, and four prominent screws securing it to a classic sports watch case in steel. The perhaps expected octagonal is found on the beefy, centre-slit crown, underlining the angular design of the new Riviera.

The bracelet itself is a tough looking three-link with a different dynamic to most integrated designs. While the soft sweep of the case ends are not unlike a Laureato, the bracelet with its diver-esque design has a tougher look, visibly turning up the sports vibe on the volume control. We have a good mix of polished and brushed sections letting the light do its magic, something which makes the bezel my favourite design element here. Unlike its vertically brushed competitors, the Dedacagonal (promise you’ll remember this word) bezel has sharp, polished bevels, while the top surface is radially brushed, bringing a touch of distinction juxtaposed with the countersunk hex bolts. This is even more prominent in the 36mm ladies reference, with one variant having diamonds instead of bolt heads. This is one of Baume & Mercier’s strongest designs, with a black rubber strap in stark contrast to the understated glimmer.

Baume & Mercier is pulling out all the stops out here with a comprehensive range. There is a ladies 36mm quartz and automatic calibre (SW-200), as well as 42mm diameter configurations with either a SW-200 or 5-day Baumatic movement. We can consider this a fully fledged flagship release from the venerable maison and one that will move them firmly into a tougher territory than the more dressy look we’re used to from B&M.

What transfixes my gaze  is the deep azure blue dial, a delicate pattern symbolizing the eternal convergence of mountains and the sea. The Baumatic model has a deep rich sapphire dial, semi-translucent in its colour, which comes in deep blue and a smoky dark grey. This gives a rich background to the applied, polished indices, while at the same time allowing a tentative peek into the intricate movement within..

The top tier within the Riviera range is the Baumatic-equipped model. This has the benefit of the brilliant five-day power reserve calibre we had plenty of praise for in our article on the Clifton here, and now making its tough sports debut in the Riviera. A chronometer spec movement with a -4sec/+6sec accuracy and a 1500 Gauss magnetic resistance, this is Baume & Mercier’s heavy hitter and makes the brand a definite force to be reckoned with in 2021.

With a choice of the sharp formality in the steel bracelet with a butterfly buckle, or a supple black rubber strap and  black case for the grey sapphire dial, the B&M design department has hit top form here. It’s time to welcome another strong player into the integrated bracelet game, while Baume & Mercier’s choice of supple rubber instead or leather feels just right for this age of luxury sports casual.

The Baume&Mercier Riviera, price and availability:

The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic is $5,500AUD on a steel bracelet and $6,100AUD with a black case on black rubber. The 36mm versions start at $2,900AUD, while the 42mm Riviera Automatic starts at $3,950AUD. For more details, visit Baume&Mercier right here.