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Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic

Angus Davies looks at the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic collection, launched at SIHH 2018.

This detailed overview of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic collection includes live images, specification and pricing.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10398 - silicon escapement

MOA 10398

One of the highlights of this year’s SIHH was the new range of models from Baume & Mercier, the Clifton Baumatic collection. 

This collection of models was the product of Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier, the Richemont Research & Innovation team and Baume & Mercier, collaborating. The resultant watches harness state of the art know-how, employing silicon technology.

The Baumatic movement combines a silicon balance-spring with a ‘high-performance escapement’. The silicon components include the hairspring, the anchor and the escape wheel. Each of these components, formed in silicon, a glass-like material, set aside conventional design. Indeed, the anchor even eschews conventional pallet jewels.

This range of timepieces redefines the notion of a luxury watch with its impressive resistance to magnetic fields, prodigious autonomy, noteworthy precision and longer service intervals.

Anti-magnetic

Watches are regularly subject to magnetic fields from everyday items such as mobile phones, laptop computers and even ladies’ handbags. These magnetic fields may well prove harmful to a watch’s movement and therefore the benefit of anti-magnetism with a timepiece is clear.

A watch with antimagnetic properties is defined as being ‘able to withstand a magnetic field of 60 Gauss while maintaining a precision of  +/- 30 seconds per day’ (2002-ISO 764). The Baumatic watch is resistant to at least 1500 Gauss ‘without residual effect’. This represents 25 times the current norm.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10436 - COSC certified chronometer with silicon escapement

MOA 10436

The Baumatic watch achieves this level of anti-magnetism courtesy of ‘silicon and non-ferromagnetic’ components.

Autonomy

The Baumatic is endowed with a 120-hour power reserve from one sole barrel. Baume & Mercier state this impressive autonomy is the result of optimising the size of the barrel and the material used for the mainspring. Other reasons for the impressive power reserve include the fitment of a silicon anchor and escape wheel, with its ‘optimised geometry’, and the use of silicon for the hairspring.

Accuracy

The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic movement bestows a magnificent degree of accuracy. The self-winding movement ‘is adjusted in a range corresponding to -4/+6 seconds per day.’ This is sufficient to meet the criteria of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

One of the references in the Baumatic collection, the MOA 10436, features COSC certification. While all other Baumatic models share the same accuracy as the MOA 10436, they forgo the certification and the resultant savings are reflected in the final selling price of the non-COSC models.

Service intervals

Baume & Mercier has expended much effort in trying to lengthen the period between each service. Typically a watch should be serviced every 5 years, but the new Baumatic models require servicing less often.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10436 - COSC certified chronometer with silicon escapement

MOA 10436

The explanation for the extended service intervals relates to the lubricants employed. Richemont Research and Innovation teams have looked at the composition of lubricants and optimised the formulation to ensure the Baumatic is capable of sustaining ‘more than 10 years of intensive use’ between services.

The dial

Each model in the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic collection features a sublime white porcelain-finish dial. The hours are denoted with faceted and applied batons. Lancette hands proclaim the hours and minutes, while a slender central sweep seconds hand circumscribes the dial with its lithesome form.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10436 - COSC certified chronometer with silicon escapement

MOA 10436

A large date aperture resides at 3 o’clock. Peerless legibility is granted courtesy of its scale and clean typeface.

The MOA 10436 has been subject to COSC certification hence it states ‘Swiss-Chronometer’ on the dial and features an anthracite dial-train.

Despite the modernity of the Baumatic’s inner workings, all dials exude a traditional, classical appearance which should find favour with a broad cross-section of potential purchasers.

The case

A notable strength of Baume & Mercier relates to its aggressive pricing strategy, however, this does not come at the expense of quality. The 40mm stainless steel case of the Baumatic is beautifully detailed.

The bezel features highly polished treatment. The lugs and case-band feature both highly polished and satin-brushed treatment in close proximity while the case-back is solely highly polished. This mixture of surface treatments is delightful, with each element synergistically contributing to a harmonious whole.

The case depth of 10.3mm confers a neat fit beneath the shirt cuff. The diameter of the watch proffers universal appeal, suiting most physiques with its neutral sizing. This model grants an impressive degree of wearer comfort courtesy of its arcing lugs.

One useful feature of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic watch collection is that the strap facilitates simple removal without tools, allowing wearers to frequently change the appearance of their cherished timepiece.

The movement

Much has already been said about the movement components. Appraising the movement via the exhibition case-back one can see that it is also beautifully appointed. The oscillating mass is open-worked and features Côtes de Genève motif, the main-plate is snailed and the bridges are adorned with a sea of petit perlage.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10398 - silicon escapement

MOA 10398

Indeed, despite the accessible pricing of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic, there is no evidence of penny-pinching when it comes to the finishing of the movement.

With regards to COSC certification, this necessitates independent testing of the movement which incurs additional cost. Baume & Mercier provide the wearer with a choice of whether they wish to meet this additional cost in order to receive the certification. Irrespective of which decision they make, all Baumatic watches contain the BM12.1975A movement and will therefore confer the same degree of accuracy.

Closing remarks

Baume & Mercier was founded in 1830 and is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in Switzerland. However, despite its age, it has embraced modernity by employing silicon for various movement components. In so doing, the brand has delivered notable advancements in terms of anti-magnetism, precision, autonomy and servicing needs.

Indeed, the Baumatic movement is highly impressive, however, it does not set aside traditional finishing and is blessed with sumptuous petit perlage and Côtes de Genève motif.

Beyond its technical virtues, the Baumatic collection proffers clear, highly readable dials. The cases are beautifully executed and optimally sized for a large cross-section of would-be buyers.

Ultimately, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic colection delivers much, including an in-house movement for a comparatively modest sum. Prices start from as low as £2150 (RRP 21.1.2018 – MOA 10398). As a result, the Genevan brand has redefined our expectations of in-house movements at this price point.

Further information

http://www.baume-et-mercier.com/

 

Technical specification (MOA 10398)

• Model: Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10398

Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40mm; height 10.3mm; sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).

• Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date

• Movement: BAUMATIC BM12.1975A; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 5 days.

• Strap: Blue leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle

• Price: £2,150 (RRP as at 21.1.2018)

 

Technical specification (MOA 10436)

• Model: Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic MOA 10436 – COSC certified movement

Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40mm; height 10.3mm; sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).

• Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date

• Movement: BAUMATIC BM12.1975A; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 5 days.

• Strap: Black leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle

• Price: £2290 (RRP as at 21.1.2018)

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