One of the upshots of the slowdown in the watch industry was that many product marketing teams familiarized themselves with the words ‘value’ and ‘relevance’. While Baume et Mercier is positioned as an affordable luxury brand within the Richemont group, it came to SIHH 2018 with a really interesting and relevant new movement.
Of course, we refer to the new Clifton Baumatic collection with the BM12-1975A Caliber developed using the combined might of Richemont’s Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier facility, and the group’s research and innovation department.
Baume et Mercier has used silicon hairsprings before, notably in the 1830 Manual released last year. This was the first watch to use Richemont’s proprietary new Twinspir technology. This is a newly developed hairspring with a composite structure combining two layers of silicon, alternatively oriented and bound through an extra layer of silicon dioxide, which also acts as a thermo-compensating element.
Combined with a newly shaped variable-inertia balance wheel, it improves accuracy of the movement at various positions and over the long term, reduces sensitivity to magnetism and offers greater resistance to small impacts and repeated vibrations. Not only does this new movement use a silicon hairspring, the anchor and escape wheel are also made from silicon. This new ‘high-performance’ escapement reduces losses relating to friction and increases energy efficiency and also improves torque transmission between components. In addition to this, the Richemont’s tech boffins also developed dedicated oils to maintain optimal lubrication conditions to ensure that the movement’s service intervals can extend beyond the standard five years.
The net result is that Baume et Mercier now has a modern, in-house movement that’s precise (it has a daily deviation of -4/+6 seconds), anti-magnetic up to 1,500 Gauss (more than 25 times the industry norm), with a power reserve of 120 hours (5 days) and service intervals longer than five years. It’s worth mentioning here that a daily rate of -4/+6 seconds is what COSC requires for chronometric-grade certification.
This new movement makes its debut in the elegant Clifton Baumatic collection. The watch uses a 40 mm stainless steel case that has a mix of brushed and polished surfaces and is topped by a domed sapphire crystal. The white lacquer dial has been sandblasted to give it a porcelain-like finish. The dial uses riveted hour markers and time is indicated by slim lancet hands and a date window is placed at 3 o’ clock. The Baumatic is also available with a black dial.
The watch is fitted with an alligator strap that fastens with a pin buckle. And like a lot of the brands exhibiting this year, the strap is easy to change without the need for a tool. It is also presented with a five-row bracelet in polished/satin-finished steel fastened by means of a triple folding buckle with security push-pieces.
The top-of-the-line model is the limited edition COSC-certified chronometer and is distinguished by a cross-haired pattern on the white dial. There is a refreshing simplicity to the Baumatic. You can tell that the focus was on the development of a high-quality movement. The watch has a Spartan, tool-watch like appeal and with a starting price of $2,465 on the leather strap (the bracelet is at $2,626), this was one of the most talked about watches at SIHH this year. The COSC-certified chronometer will retail at $2,790.