It’s been an interesting year for Baume & Mercier. Not only did we see the introduction of its most exciting timepiece in years with the focus of this article, the Baumatic, but we’ve also seen the birth of a new sustainability-focused Richemont entity that borrows the “Baume” name, and the introduction of a new CEO, Geoffroy Lefebvre.
However, despite all the excitement, 2018 has been squarely focused on the Baumatic, a new watch that reestablishes the Baume & Mercier identity as the dominant force in entry-level watches among the premier Swiss marques.
In honor of the achievement that the Baumatic represents for Baume & Mercier, Richemont, and watch enthusiasts everywhere, we recently brought in three of the new models for some extended time on the wrist. In fact, we enjoyed our time with the Baumatic so much that we included it on the cover of this month’s print issue of WatchTime (more details to come) which hits stores today. And, if you like what you see here, good news: the Baumatic is officially available to purchase as of this month.
Here are five of our first impressions on the Baume & Mercier Baumatic.
1.) Simplicity works in the watch’s favor.
The Baumatic has a clean and sensible look with a streamlined design palate and zero pretenses. The three different color options offer slight variations without detracting from the overall aesthetic. The black model, for example, is elegant, urbane, and positively achromatic. There’s no PVD-coated nonsense on the case; rather, the richness of the black dial has a dominating presence. The two-tone option, normally a combination I’m not a fan of, succeeds due to its restrained color application. The plated rose gold tone, too often an overwhelming presence on a watch, forms the bezel only, leaving the stainless steel case as the majority, and providing a nice color balance that effectively complements the alligator leather strap. Finally, the white dial, available with a crosshair that denotes COSC-certification, appears to be almost chalky in its porcelain-like texture but is demonstrative of the refined design at work. Other details, such as the lancet hands, color matching date wheel, and dotted minute track, only serve to enhance the watch’s stately appeal.
2.) It’s thin, really thin.
At first glance, the Baumatic’s size is attractive but might not be its most noteworthy detail. I’m here to tell that yes, its 40 mm by 10.3 mm size might not be breaking records, but it feels supremely thin on the wrist. Thanks to its compact nature, the watch’s user-friendliness is only increased. It can slip under a dress shirt for the office or on a date, pass off as casual during a night out with friends, and, thanks to its overall comfort, can even be worn around the house without being a distraction. Other highly sought-after dress watches, even subdued models similar to the Baumatic, are limited in their wearability due to their dimensions, materials, and design. The round case also features a nice mixture of finishing such as brushed sides and a polished top, complemented by curved lugs and a domed sapphire crystal.
3.) The movement is a feat of contemporary watchmaking.
Boasting a five-day power reserve, the Baumatic quickly claims the title as the most technically-advanced timepiece in the brand’s current stable while maintaining Baume & Mercier’s reputation as Richemont’s most accessible manufacture. This isn’t the first time that Baume & Mercier has been used as a breeding ground for new technology within Richemont, after all, last year it was the first brand within the conglomerate to offer a timepiece that utilized a silicon balance spring with the Clifton Manual 1830. However, this time around, the Baumatic has a newly developed, self-winding, in-house movement that ups the ante with a silicon anchor and escape wheel while the balance spring uses the same Twinspir construction that was found in the Clifton Manual 1830. The Twinspir technology combines two separate cores of silicon that are bound by a silicon dioxide layer and set at a 45-degree angle which aids in ensuring thermocompensation. All of these combined developments have resulted in a 120 hour (five-day) power reserve with accuracy in the range of -4/+6 seconds per day.
4.) The Baumatic has as broad of a horological appeal as you’ll see these days.
There’s no doubt this watch won’t be for everyone, but this is the kind of timepiece that could not only be purchased at the entry level but also for the seasoned collector who needs something appropriate for daily wear and demands something with a better-than-average wrist presence. Something that not only shows you (or your family member) knows what they’re talking about horologically, and something that doesn’t break the bank to do it. There are dozens of watches that might fit the bill, but, in my opinion, don’t come in the same ideal proportions or from as impressive of a Swiss manufacturer. And, if they do, it’s likely they’re priced a good chunk of coin more. The one limitation I found during my time with the Baumatic is the absence of lume. No, it’s not necessary given the model’s dress watch status, plus the thought of the five-day power reserve means you can set the watch down on a Friday (or a Wednesday or Thursday, for that matter) and when you pick it back up it’ll still be running a perfect rate, but a slight lume application would help the watch reach full all-day, ubiquity status.
5.) The future applications of the movement and line are exciting.
While we’ve had no hints toward future complications within the Baumatic range, it’s hard not to fantasize about the possibilities. Imagine a chronograph featuring the same refined design palate? What about a travel-time edition for frequent flyers? It made perfect sense to start out with a time-and-date series and a COSC-certified option, but there’s so much room to grow and if the Baumatic succeeds in the marketplace, we could be looking at a new iconic range for Baume & Mercier that stands the test of time.