Baume & Mercier launched its redesigned Capeland watch at the SIHH exhibition in Geneva in 2011. In this watch test feature from our archives, WatchTime gives this luxury-sport chronograph the once-over, with original photos by OK-Photography.
The watch has a harmonious design featuring a brown sunburst finish on the dial, a stainless-steel case and a brown leather strap. We found the dial especially attractive, with its color scheme of brown, red, black and white and its subdials in a symmetrical tri-compax arrangement. We also liked the narrow hands and the different levels on the dial. Thanks to tachymeter and telemeter tracks, it’s possible to calculate speed and distance. However, the size and position of the displays tend to make the watch hard to read. The reflective chronograph hands, the overly long minutes hand and the modest amount of luminous material on the hour and minutes hands and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock also decrease the overall legibility of the watch. A narrow bezel and dramatically curving lugs direct your eyes to the dial. We liked the convex crown, which fits snugly against the case and is adorned with the brand’s logo. The crown’s shape and fluting make it easy to grasp and hold. The generously sized chrono pushers are also easy to use.
The case has simple yet careful finishing. Even in the extended position the crown remains securely seated. However, the lugs have some sharp edges. The caseback is secured with six screws. It is curved, which makes the watch comfortable to wear. The supple leather strap and flat, stainless-steel, double-folding clasp are also comfortable. The strap is padded and accented with a white seam, and the clasp has an outer bar and prong that keep the watch securely in place. The execution of the clasp is clean but has some slight flaws. For instance, when you look closely you can see minor marks from the polishing process. The cut leather strap is attached securely to the case and does not shift out of place. Unfortunately, the clasp is not equipped with deployant buttons, so you need to use a bit of force to open the clasp. Visually, the strap and clasp are a good match for the case and dial.
The Capeland is powered by an ETA 7753 movement, which allows for the balanced, tri-compax arrangement of the dial. The only disadvantage of this proven standard movement is that the quick date adjustment requires the use of a correction button located on the case at 10 o’clock, and a sharp object is needed to operate the button. However, the brand has improved this aspect of the watch in its larger 44-mm model, introduced this year. The new model is powered by an ETA 7750 movement, which enables quick date adjustment using the crown. The 7750 has been reconfigured by La Joux-Perret to allow for a tri-compax dial arrangement. The 42-mm model will continue to use the ETA 7753. Our test watch did well on the timing machine, achieving rate results that earned it a score of eight out of 10 possible points. When the chronograph was off, the greatest deviation was 6 seconds between the various positions with a gain of about 4 seconds per day. With the chrono on, the movement gained only about 1 second on average and the greatest deviation of rate was only 9 seconds. The Capeland’s beautiful design, clean finishes, high level of wearing comfort and good rate results are all impressive. But its price of $4,350 seems relatively high when compared with other nicely designed chronographs with standard movements. Since our test, Baume & Mercier has made further improvements to this model, giving it a transparent caseback, an alligator strap and a clasp with deployant buttons. The price of $4,350 remains unchanged.
+ Beautiful design
+ Excellent wearing comfort
+ Good rate results
– Difficult quick date adjustment
– High price
Manufacturer: Baume & Mercier, Chemin de la Chênaie 50, CH-1293 Bellevue, Switzerland
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counter; date and hack mechanism
Movement: Automatic ETA 7753 elaboré; 28,000 vph; 27 jewels; Etachron regulator; Incabloc shock absorber; 44-hour power reserve; diameter = 30 mm, height = 7.9 mm
Case: Stainless steel, curved sapphire crystal, screw-down stainless-steel caseback; water-resistant to 50 meters
Strap and clasp: Leather strap with stainless-steel double-folding clasp
Rate results (Deviations in seconds per 24 hours, with chronograph switched off/on):
Dial up +6 / +4
Dial down +7 / +5
Crown up +2 / -1
Crown down +5 / +1
Crown left +1 / -4
Crown right +5 / +3
Greatest deviation of rate 6 / 9
Average deviation +4.3 / +1.3
Flat positions 285° / 261°
Hanging positions 254° / 230°
Dimensions: Diameter = 42 mm, height = 15.1 mm; weight = 107 g
Variations: Various dial colors and straps
Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): Generally simple but well made. The prong on the outer buckle of the clasp ensures a secure closure. 7
Operation (5): The chronograph pushers and the crown are easy to use but the clasp is hard to open with no deployant buttons. A sharp object is needed to use the recessed button for the quick date adjustment. 4
Case (10): Careful, simple execution, but the lugs have some sharp edges. The pushers are well designed and easy to use. 7
Design (15): Harmonious and balanced design all around 14
Legibility (5): Small and extremely detailed displays reduce legibility. Hard to read in the dark due to limited use of luminous material. 3
Wearing comfort (10): Comfortable to wear thanks to the supple strap and curved caseback 9
Movement (20): Reliable standard movement. Decorations are limited to the rotor. 11
Rate results (10): The average daily gain on the timing machine and on the wrist is good, and even better when the chronograph is on. The greatest deviation between positions is acceptable (6 sec.). 8
Value (15): Although the price is high, we like the beautiful design, superb wearing comfort and good rate results. 11
TOTAL: 74 POINTS
This article was originally published in 2013; prices are subject to change.