Its been a very cold week here in the Polar Vortex where I live, Well and in most of the US as well. I have been yearning for something to keep me busy, While trapped inside my Igloo. My good friends at Baume et Mercier were Happy to deliver. I have been dreaming of all of the watches being introduced at the SIHH show, and what I want to see first, when I got a package containing the New Baume Mercier Clifton Chronograph. Their newest Clifton model is mine to wear for a week, how swell.
I am familiar with the Clifton line already, and I do like the classic simplicity of it. I wrote about a previous model here and the complete calendar here, so I was excited to try out the new chronograph. I really enjoy a watch that offers more interaction than just displaying time. It has been said a chronograph is less than practical given all of the modern appliances with timers, but I will tell you it comes in very handy when administering a time out to my 3 year old.
Joking aside, the Clifton Chronograph is a very well executed watch. The watch is based on the well proven Valjoux caliber 7750. A movement that is very hard to beat for a tough automatic chronograph. This model also displays the day and date on the dial, which I appreciate, I always look to my watch for the date. This is housed it a classically designed 43 mm round case contrasted with brushing on the softly curved lugs and a high polish below the bezel. The pushers have a firm feel with a nice confirming click when pressed, and then the chronograph springs to life.
The dial is a traditional tri-compax layout with the day and date windows at 3 o’clock opposite the sub seconds dial at 9. The 3 subdials are ever so slightly stepped down with a simple crisp line and baton hands. The dial itself is clean and easy to read, showing the even numbers 2,4,8 and 10 for hours is a brightly polished pleasing font all beneath a sapphire crystal.
The obverse features an exhibition back, which I love. When you put a nice mechanical movement into a watch I really like to see it run. The large sapphire window shows the 7750 in all its glory finished nicely by Baume Mercier with a simple engine-turned Perlage on most of the surfaces and Geneva stripes on the rotor. The case-back is engraved with the model, water resistance to 50m and the serial number of the watch.
The model I got to see was the stainless steel version with blued hands on leather (10123). The other two models; Clifton 10129 and 10130 use gold-colored hands and arabic numerals on a sunburst dial. Of those two, one sports a brown alligator strap, and the other, a steel bracelet. A word on the strap, it is the most supple comfortable strap I have worn in a long time, slightly muted in color and with a handsome push button deployant buckle. Honestly this is one watch they may not get back from me.
Baume et Mercier has done it again as far as I am concerned. I may sound like I am fawning, and maybe it is deserved, because they are on a roll. Baume Mercier keeps introducing watch after watch that are; classic, attractive, well made and very well priced. In the world of finer timepieces you will be hard pressed to find much of substance under $6,000, unless you are looking at a Baume Mercier. They pack a lot into their pieces as far as quality and design, and are at an approachable price for someone who wants a watch to wear for a lifetime. For$3,800 (39 with a bracelet) the Clifton is a fantastic choice from Baume et Mercier for an automatic chronograph. I continue to say it, they are one of my absolute favorite watch brands, because they absolutely know how to be swell.
Related articles: Hands on– Hodinkee.com, 3 New Chronographs– Watchtime.com
A beautiful watch from Baume Mercier. The Clifton and newer Capeland models are classically elegant with a vintage touch.
You’re absolutely right. They really are a great blend of classic design and modern watchmaking. You get a high quality watch at a much better value than what else is out there.
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