Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964
A detailed review of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964
Angus Davies gets ‘hands-on’ with the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964 ref 10342, a limited edition timepiece restricted to 1964 examples. This detailed review includes live pictures, specification and price.
Several car marques have aligned themselves with luxurious watch brands over the years. Ferrari joined forces with Hublot a few years back, Bentley became conjoined with Bretiling some time ago and IWC is partnered with Mercedes-AMG. In recent years, Baume & Mercier’s has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Shelby.
Shelby modifies existing vehicles from Ford and turns them into fire-breathing performance beasts. However, Shelby’s most iconic model is the Cobra, a car which elicits words of undying love from every alpha-male with a passion for performance. In this instance, the inspiration for the Clifton Club Shelby Cobra is the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, a vehicle brimming with testosterone.
Baume & Mercier unveiled Capeland Shelby Cobra branded timepieces a few years ago, but has now launched Clifton models, sporting the venom-spitting reptile on the central chronograph seconds hand.
Despite suffering ophidiophobia, I recently chose to take antivenin and get hands-on with this latest chronograph from Geneva.
The first aspect of the dialscape which distinguishes the Baume & Mercier as special is the striped motif spanning the display. The stripes could easily adorn the bonnet of a Shelby Cobra road car but seem equally at home gracing the horological vista of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964.
The hour and minute hands have a unique appearance, featuring truncated tips, luminescent fill and open-worked sections near the fulcrum of the dial. The central chronograph seconds hand is a cheery shade of red and equipped with a Cobra shaped counterweight.
Baume & Mercier has suffused the dial with a becoming dose of contrast, courtesy of the blue subdials arranged line astern on a north-south axis. The use of blue tone differentiates the chronograph registers from the small seconds display at 9 o’clock. A 12-hour chronograph register is located at 6 o’clock, while minutes are recorded on the 30-minute chronograph register below noon. The Genevan brand has thoughtfully labelled each subdial with the letters “m” and “H”.
It seems only fitting that a timepiece which references a performance car should be equipped with a tachymeter scale and in this regard Baume & Mercier doesn’t disappoint. The tachymeter scale sits on a higher plane than the main dial surface. Moreover, a slither of red encircles the inner edge of the tachymeter scale conferring a tasteful soupçon of excitement without cluttering the dial canvas with annoying fussiness.
The day and date are displayed via two apertures at 3 o’clock.
The dial of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964 is easy on the eye, uncluttered and simple to read.
The shape of the Clifton case is more rounded than the body of the Capeland. The Clifton also looks more contemporary than its older sibling. I have always liked the Capeland but believe the Clifton is just a tad more handsome.
Measuring 44mm in diameter, the rounded case features a polished bezel and short lugs, while the case height is a significant 14.9mm. This watch has a tendency to sit high upon the wrist which may not suit some would-be buyers.
The crown nestles between two crown protectors, which in turn sit between two lozenge shaped push-pieces. Despite the Clifton being modestly priced, the wearer is not shortchanged when it comes to detail. The chronograph push-pieces feature a straight-lined motif on their vertical flanks which proves eye-catching and proffers an agreeable tactility.
The strap is delightful, featuring a carbon-weave pattern similar to the lightweight steel-substitute favoured by race teams and performance car specialists.
Baume & Mercier has turned to ETA and procured the tried and trusted Valjoux 7750 for the Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964. This movement needs little introduction, being utilised within a myriad of chronographs.
The beauty of the Valjoux 7750 is that it is simple to service, robust and affordable. Baume & Mercier has embellished this movement nicely. The bridges are adorned with perlage and the oscillating mass is designed to resemble a car wheel. While the latter detail does exude a dose of style, I am left frustrated that I am unable to see more of the movement within.
Baume & Mercier has produced a lovely timepiece offered at a modest price of £3,600 (RRP as at 7.8.2017).
The dial is an exemplar of readability and the smooth rounded contours of the case prove easy on the eye and comfortable on the wrist.
By selecting the Valjoux 7750, Baume & Mercier has chosen a tried and trusted movement which has legions of adopters and, most pertinently, a plethora of fans.
Ultimately, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964 delivers an impressive performance without costing too much at the pumps. Perhaps the only question it will raise for some would-be buyers relates to potential Capeland ownership or Clifton acquisition. On this occasion my vote goes to the Clifton.
• Model: Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra 1964
• Case: Steel; diameter 44mm; height 14.9mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres).
• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; date; chronograph, tachymeter
• Movement: Valjoux 7750; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
• Strap: Black ‘all roads’ calf skin strap with folding clasp
• Price: £3,600 (RRP as at 7.8.2017)