America’s largest luxury watch show, WatchTime New York, returns to Manhattan’s Gotham Hall on October 26-27 (click here for event details and to purchase tickets). As we count down to the big event, we continue to spotlight many of the new timepieces that guests will discover there. Today we turn our attention to a timepiece that has become one of the most discussed watches of 2018, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic COSC.
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 brand. This isn’t the first time that Baume & Mercier has been used as a breeding ground for new technology within Richemont, after all, it was the first brand within the conglomerate to offer a timepiece that utilized a silicon balance spring with last year’s Clifton Manual 1830.
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.
The Baumatic has a clean and sensible look with a streamlined design palate and zero pretenses. It’s obvious that the Baume & Mercier team was more focused on technical development rather than building out a new design code. There’s a color-matching date window at 3 o’clock and a nicely-done crosshair in the center of the dial that represents its COSC certification (non-COSC-certified models have no crosshair). The lancet hands, small Arabic numerals at the end of the indices, and dotted minute track all add to the sober appeal. 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. You can tell this is a watch focused entirely on precision timekeeping and utility above anything else and I think it’s all the better for it.
It’s easy to imagine this being a watch worn during the workweek, sat down on Friday evening, and then picked back up Monday morning without missing a beat. Baume & Mercier has described the Clifton lineup as being designed with “urban professionals” in mind and I think they’ve hit that demographic squarely on the head with the Baumatic. When the watch hit stores earlier this month, there were five different models available. Each of them comes with the customary two-year warranty plus the option to extend the warranty an additional 12 months if the watch is registered on the Baume & Mercier website.
- Baumatic Ref. 10436 has a porcelain-like white dial with a crosshair and comes on a black alligator strap for $2,990. This is the only model that is COSC certified.
- Baumatic Ref. 10401 has a two-tone case and comes on a brown alligator strap for $3,500. I recently wrote that although two-tone is normally a combination I’m not a fan of, this version of the Baumatic 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 strap.
- Baumatic Ref. 10400 has a white dial and comes on a stainless steel bracelet for $2,950.
- Baumatic Ref. 10398 has a white dial and comes on a blue alligator strap for $2,750.
- Baumatic Ref. 10399 has a black dial and comes on a matching alligator strap for $2,750. Of the non-COSC-certified models, this is my favorite. It’s elegant, urbane, and positively achromatic. Thankfully, there’s no PVD-coated nonsense on the stainless steel case; rather, the richness of the black dial has a dominating presence.
In my opinion, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic has as broad appeal as any watch released in 2018. Of course, the 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 a watch with a better-than-average wrist presence. There are other watches that fit the bill but, in my opinion, don’t come in the same ideal proportions or from as impressive of a Swiss brand. And, if they do, it’s likely they are priced a good chunk of coin more.
It’s also worth noting that future applications of the Baumatic BM12.1975A are quite exciting. 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.
Interested in seeing the Baume & Mercier Baumatic collection in person? You can do so at WatchTime New York this October at Gotham Hall in New York City. Tickets are going fast; order yours here.