The term icon is probably one of the most overrated words in watchmaking that is used the most. These days, it is even used in press releases of entirely new models by relatively new brands, making icons an honor you can bestow on yourself at a whim instead of being earned by merit and concurred by the masses. In a touch of irony, watches that could rightfully claim this title, not always get it, and in my opinion one that should is the Baume & Mercier Riviera.
When I first entered the world of watches in the late 1990s, this was the model to have, together with the Baume & Mercier Capeland. Even then, the Riviera was already a classic, as it was introduced in 1973. While these older Riviera’s might look rather elegant, make no mistake, Baume & Mercier developed them to be a sports watch. They even tied it to the rim of a race car back in the day to prove its robust nature and retrieved it after the race in perfect working condition— although I am not too sure that it didn’t get a scratch or two in the process. Today, the Riviera beautifully balances elegance and sportiveness, and this comes exceptionally well to life in reference 10720. This Riviera is 39mm and combines its characteristic stainless steel case with a bezel made of titanium. This subtle color difference retains the elegance while adding a sportive touch.
The bezel is secured with screws, but thanks to its distinct appearance, the Riviera is no look-alike of other models with such a construction. The beauty of a Riviera is that it can only be mistaken for a Riviera. The well-proportioned watch comes with a smoked grey sapphire dial. This adds a layer of depth to the design, and a dash of mystery. The gilded chapter ring matches with the hands, giving this Baume & Mercier a luxury feel. The reference 10720 also offers performance fitting for a sports watch. It is water resistant up to 10 ATM/100 meters. It is fitted with a grey rubber strap, so you can dive straight into the water.
Baume & Mercier is also not cutting any corners regarding the movement, as the Baumatic caliber features automatic winding and runs at 4Hz/28,800 VpH. The movement can be admired through the sapphire insert in the caseback, but you mainly see a large central bridge. The engine-turned decorations make it enticing enough, but you are probably also more forgiving of any additional decorations when you learn that the movement has a generous power reserve of 5 days. This is above the standard of what to expect for $4,150, making the Riviera reference 10720 the perfect watch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic Baume & Mercier model with.
For more info, visit Baume & Mercier, here