Baume et Mercier debuted the Clifton Baumatic at the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and it immediately made an impression. Featuring a robust new movement developed using the combined might of Richemont’s Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier facility, and the group’s research and innovation department, the brand promised that this new caliber would serve as the base for a whole new collection.
A year later at SIHH 2019, Baume et Mercier has introduced the new Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar. This new timepiece sees the addition of a perpetual calendar module to the base Baumatic movement. Encased in a 42-mm-wide satin-finished red gold case, this perpetual calendar watch is just 12.1 mm thick and features short curved lugs and is fitted with a domed anti-glare sapphire crystal.
The warm white lacquer dial has been sandblasted to give it a porcelain-like finish. Facetted riveted hour markers and gold-tone hour, minute and seconds hands indicate time. Three counters on the dial work for the perpetual calendar: the first at 9 o’clock for the day of the week, the second at 12 indicates month and leap year cycle, and the third at 3 for the date. The blued hands accentuate the calendar functions, and the moon phase indication anchors the dial at 6 o’clock.
An exhibition caseback reveals the refined finishes of the movement such as the circular-grained bridges and the sand-blasted and snailed baseplate. The new Caliber BM13-1975AC-1 has an open-worked, gold-plated rotor with Côtes de Genève decoration and snailing on the periphery. A variable-inertia balance wheel 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.
Unlike the first Baumatic movement ( Caliber BM12-1975A) which used a silicon hairspring, the updated Baumatic Caliber BM13-1975AC-1 uses a conventional hairspring. However, the anchor and escape wheel are still made from silicon. The movement is further enclosed in an anti-magnetic Chrome Core ring to protect the movement. This new ‘high-performance’ escapement reduces losses relating to friction and increases energy efficiency and also improves torque transmission between components. In addition to a five-day power reserve, the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar resists to the main magnetic fields of daily life. This model only requires maintenance service once every seven years rather than three to five years recommended for a traditional watch.
The watch is presented with a quick-release black alligator strap with an 18K red gold buckle. Despite its entry-level position in the Richemont stable, Baume & Mercier has produced watch complications every now and then. Notable among them are the Clifton 1830 Manual (2013), the Clifton 1892 Tourbillon Volant (2014), the Clifton Réserve de Marche 8 jours “185 years” (2015) and the Clifton Pocket Watch 5 Minutes Repeater “185 years” (2015). The watch is priced at $24,500.