Baume & Mercier’s Clifton Baumatic Goes In-House for The First Time at SIHH
The first Swiss watch I ever purchased for myself when I knew I finally had enough money to do so was a Baume et Mercier. At the time – back in 2002 – I had just started a new, long-distance relationship and wanted to celebrate the joy I was feeling with a timepiece.
Yet while I still couldn’t afford one of the more recognizable Swiss brands, Baume et Mercier watches were within my reach, and I’m thrilled to know that all these years later, they still strive to be (and succeed at being) the Richemont brand that just about anyone can afford, which is why the recent unveiling of the Clifton Baumatic™ brought such a smile to my face.
A lot of time and money can go into making an in-house movement for any watch brand, but for a brand that is trying to stay within a specific price point, “in-house” could very well translate to, “this is gonna cost ya”, which takes the risk of alienating fans of the brand and potentially turning away the very people who were loyal to the label in the first place. But the folks at Baume et Mercier and their friends over at Richemont Research & Innovation, as well as the Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier did no such thing when it came to creating the BM12-1975A movement, which is the movement in the new Clifton Baumatic.
As a company that is new to the “in-house” world, one might think that Baume et Mercier would take the easy way out by creating a movement that was simple and – for lack of a better term – not at all complicated. On the contrary, the brand and their partners developed the movement using a silicon balance-spring and a high-performance escapement.
The introduction of the Baumatic movement represents the group’s first combined introduction of a silicon balance-spring and a high-performance escapement. Silicon, for those not familiar, is antimagnetic, three times lighter than the ordinary alloys used for hairsprings, and not as sensitive to light impacts and repeated vibrations. This is important, particularly on this watch, because it shows that the years of development that Baume et Mercier and their partners put into the process wasn’t wasted time. According to the brand, for a watch to be considered anti-magnetic, it has to be able to withstand a magnetic field of 60 Gauss (4,800 A/m) while maintaining a precision of +/- 30 seconds per day. But the movement in the Clifton Baumatic™ is resistant to at least 1500 Gauss without residual effect... not bad for a brand that’s new to the In-House game.
A whopping 120-hour power reserve
Another impressive feature is the watch’s power reserve. While an average power reserve might fall into the 48-hour range, (give or take a half day) thanks to a combination of the optimized barrel size, silicon anchor and escape wheel, and silicon hair spring, the Baumatic™ is offering a whopping 120-hour power reserve, which is a pretty extraordinary when you think about the affordable price of the watch (starting at $2,590.00 USD, available in September of this year.)
The case of the Clifton Baumatic is stainless steel, 40mm in diameter and 10.3mm in thickness. The dial is white with a lovely porcelain finish and contains elongated trapezoid-shaped indexes and a date window at 3 o’clock. The domed sapphire front crystal is supplemented by a sapphire case back , allowing the movement to be seen. The strap is squared Black alligator with gray stitching and the Baumatic also comes with a two-year warranty, as if all of what is written above wasn’t enough to make you interested in the release.
The Clifton Baumatic was definitely a timepiece to get excited about at this year’s SIHH for all the reasons listed and more. For one, it shows that Baume et Mercier considers themselves to be more than just “the Richemont brand that just about anyone can afford” as I previously wrote, by also showing that they can be a player when it comes to innovation and advances in the watchmaking world. They make so many watches that we recognize as being a great value, but this particular watch is more than that. It’s a great value with great craftsmanship, a clean, classic look, and a warranty. Honestly, do we really need much more than that at the end of the day?