SIHH 2014: Baume & Mercier Joins the Tourbillon Club

Baume & Mercier Clifton Flying TourbllonOn Day One of the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, the WatchTime team saw some watches up close and personal that we’d already seen as previews — and then, there were a few surprises. One of those was from “affordable luxury” watch brand Baume & Mercier, which broke with tradition with the introduction of its first tourbillon watch, the Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon.

In introducing the tourbillon watch, which commemorates one full year since the introduction of the Clifton collection at last year’s SIHH, Baume & Mercier CEO Alain Zimmerman referred to it as akin to a “concept car” — something to “push the boundaries” of Baume & Mercier’s watchmaking cred while still allowing the brand to retain its status as the watch brand with the lowest across-the-board retail prices at the luxury-laden SIHH.

The watch’s inspiration, Zimmerman said, was a tourbillon pocketwatch created by Baume & Mercier in 1892 (hence the name; Baume & Mercier has been making watches since 1830) that won an observatory prize for its historic precision.

The tourbillon movement — which incorporates features including a detent escapement and a blued steel balance spring — was made by Valfleurier; the cage of the flying tourbillon is placed at the 9 o’clock position. In homage to that of its pocketwatch predecessor, the movement in the Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon is built for timekeeping precision, with a frequency of 28,800 vph.

Baume & Mercier Tourbillon - front

The new Baume & Mercier tourbillon comes in a rose-gold case with a diameter of 45.5 mm. And this “concept car” watch is most definitely not a “concept,” per se, meaning that it will be available at retail, albeit in a limited edition of only 30 pieces (an homage to the founding year of 1830, I assume). The price will be a relatively modest (for a tourbillon) $59,000 — definitely in the realm of “affordable luxury” for some.

Baume Mercier Tourbillon - back

Click here for our pre-SIHH report on another new SIHH model from Baume & Mercier, the Clifton Chronograph.


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