Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute celebrates the remarkable achievements of Bill Munro. In 1967, the New Zealander traversed the Bonneville Salt Flats at 184 mph, setting a new record in the category of ‘streamlined motorcycles under 1,000cc’. This colourful, Swiss chronograph incorporates several aesthetic details that reference Munro’s legendary Indian motorcycle.
This detailed review of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute includes live images, specification details and pricing.
There comes a point when many middle-aged men decide to rebel, avoiding being pigeonholed purely because of a date on their birth certificate. They buck the trend and engage in activities they shouldn’t, simply because they can.
Sometimes, this phase is described as a ‘midlife crisis’. A young girlfriend, an open roof sports car or, alternatively, a fire breathing motorcycle are all examples of fiftysomething abandon. Time and fiscal means, two resources lacking in youth, suddenly become plentiful, imploring many men to wholeheartedly embrace life, seek adventure and set aside danger.
A man who did not quit when he was supposedly too old was Bill Munro. The New Zealander set numerous world records for riding motorcycles at speed. In 1967, Munro rode his streamlined Indian motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The aerodynamic fuselage of his motorcycle, with its wind-cheating profile, reached 184.087 mph. Munro was 68 years of age when he hurtled across the Salt Flats and set his record. He remains an inspiration not to just men of a ‘certain age’, but all men.
Last year, Baume & Mercier announced its partnership with Indian, ‘America’s First Motorcycle Company’. The Genevan watch brand has unveiled a triumvirate of Indian branded chronographs. One of these models, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute celebrates the life and achievements of Bill Munro. It incorporates many design elements inspired by his iconic Indian motorcycle and the place where he achieved his impressive feats.
The dial of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute is presented in silver with a sandblasted finish. Baume & Mercier state this is ‘meant to mimic the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats’. Certainly, the colour and texture of the dial epidermis prove very agreeable.
The hour and minute hands are silver-toned, partly openworked and lined with Superluminova. Each hand has a plump torso, heightening readability. The central chronograph seconds hand is presented in an ebullient shade of red, termed ‘Indian Red’, and features a red ‘I’ counterweight, a truncated form of Indian Motorcycle’s logo.
A few years ago, I visited Baume & Mercier’s design facility on the outskirts of Geneva and spent several hours in the company of Alexandre Peraldi, the brand’s Design Director. Witnessing his creative flair proved fascinating. His obsession for the minutiae means he is able to deliver quality timepieces, incorporating fine materials, while still ensuring the models remain affordable.
Looking at the dial of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute, it is clear that Peraldi has lost none of his design prowess. The registers are recessed, heightening their allure. A snailed 30-minute chronograph register is positioned below noon. Between ’25’ and ’30’ is a red arcing scale, reminiscent of a rev counter. The 12-hour chronograph register, positioned below, shares the same design language, but incorporates a date aperture.
A yellow roundel, featuring the number ’35’, appeared on the bodywork of Munro’s 1967 motorcycle. Baume & Mercier has incorporated this motif on the dial, using it as the background for the small seconds display positioned at 9 o’clock.
‘Black rhodium-plated riveted indexes’, featuring luminescent treatment, indicate the hours. The indexes nestle between corresponding apertures on a silver-toned flange. The leading edge of the riveted flange is presented in ‘Indian Red’.
There is a plethora of textures, colours and differing depths employed on the dial of this watch, but the overall result proves harmonious.
The 44mm stainless steel case is polished to a brilliant gleam. The lugs are faceted and, along with the caseband, employ curving lines to glorious effect. The rectangular pushpieces feature rounded corners and generous proportions. Stout protectors project from the caseband, safeguarding the crown from minor bumps.
A fixed black bezel frames the dial. It is constructed of steel-ADLC and includes an engraved tachymeter scale. Adjacent 4 o’clock, the bezel is marked ‘184’, a reference to the world speed record set by Burt Munro.
The watch is supplied with a sumptuous ‘Indian Red’ calfskin strap which is embossed Baume & Mercier logo and features black stitching. It exhibits a casual aesthetic and complements jeans wonderfully.
Today’s watch buyers have grown accustomed to timepieces equipped with exhibition casebacks. It is therefore surprising that the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute is fitted with a solid caseback. Personally, I prefer to see a movement through a pane of sapphire crystal, albeit not everyone will share this opinion. The caseback is engraved with Indian Motorcycle’s logo and the text, ‘Limited Edition, one out of 1967’.
Despite being modestly priced, the case of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute encompasses a myriad of details which differentiate it from some of its competitors.
Baume & Mercier has endowed the Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute with the venerable Valjoux 7750. This movement, made by movement specialist ETA, is renowned for its reliability and robustness. Owing to the solid caseback it was not possible to appraise the degree of movement finishing.
The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. The maximum power reserve is 48 hours.
The dial of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute is enriched with a myriad of details. By skilfully working with different colours, depths and textures, Alexandre Peraldi has imbued the dial with much character. Furthermore, the overall aesthetic successfully references Burt Munro’s record-breaking Indian motorcycle.
Personally, I like the boldness of the styling, appreciating the playful use of red, silver and yellow hues. However, ‘boldness’ can polarise opinion. Baume & Mercier has been very astute, producing two further Indian branded chronographs which are relatively conservative by comparison. In particular, the Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief could never cause offence with its black dial, sparing use of colour and 3-rows stainless steel bracelet.
The case is beautifully executed and the Valjoux 7750 promises years of reliable service.
The affordability of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute has relevance to all men, young or old. While most men lack Burt Munro’s motorcycle skills, his story illustrates that we are never too old to enjoy life and embrace everything it has to offer.
- Model: Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Munro Tribute
- Reference: 10404
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid case-back; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
- Movement: Valjoux 7750; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve = 48 hours
- Strap: ‘Indian Red’ calfskin strap with black stitching. Additional black calfskin strap supplied.
- Price: £3,250 (RRP as at 9.10.2018)