THE ESSENTIAL DAILY WEARER
Baume & Mercier’s new Baumatic not only promises to be a versatile, modern mechanical watch at an extremely attractive price – it also combines a classic look with a state-of-the-art proprietary movement.
| Baume & Mercier’s new Baumatic not only promises to be a versatile, modern mechanical watch at an extremely attractive price – it also combines a classic look with a state-of-the-art proprietary movement.
— In 2017, Baume & Mercier was the brand that launched the most affordable mechanical wristwatch of all the maisons exhibiting at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. is year, Richemont’s most accessible brand went a step further and unveiled a surprising new caliber in a new timepiece at a similarly democratic price point. e Baumatic BM12-1975A Caliber will be available exclusively in the Clifton Baumatic beginning in September 2018, with prices starting at $2,750. What makes this release so remarkable is the fact that Baume & Mercier addresses several problems of mechanical watches, namely autonomy (power reserve), magnetism, accuracy and precision as well as durability, and, at the same time, offers a classic but versatile design. Alain Zimmermann, Baume & Mercier’s former CEO and now Head of E-commerce at Richemont, described the Baumatic simply as “the watch for tomorrow” during SIHH.
But back to more present matters: for a watch collector, finding an answer to the question, “What if you could only wear one watch?” usually is about as difficult (and frustrating) as it is challenging for a watch manufacturer to come up with a new design that’s versatile enough to be worn with swim trunks or with a dinner jacket. Baume & Mercier’s team decided to equip the Clifton Baumatic with a classic, 40-mm round case (with brushed sides and a polished top), curved lugs and a domed sapphire crystal, and to offer a choice of five dials with a porcelain-like finish (one with a crosshair in the center of the dial). e case is water resistant to 50 meters; the caseback is held in position with four screws and offers a second sapphire crystal. And last but not least, the version with the crosshair on the dial not only comes with a two-year warranty, but also with a COSC certification.
Three different alligator straps (in black, brown or navy blue) and a stainless-steel bracelet are available, all of them equipped with a quickchange strap system that lets the wearer conveniently change straps without having to use a special tool (or visit a watchmaker) each time.
The overall design is clearly inspired by watches from the 1950s and ’60s (when the name “Baumatic” was first introduced for self-winding Baume & Mercier watches), but it’s also undoubtedly modern, with clean black or white dials and matching (and slightly bigger-than-usual) date disks. The well- proportioned and sufficiently long lancet hands, the small Arabic numerals at the end of the applied indexes and the dotted minutes track all add to the rather minimalistic appeal. The only thing potentially missing is an option with luminous material on the hands and dial. The large size and type font chosen for the word “Baumatic” on the dial hint at how strategically important the new Baumatic is for the brand.
In short, the Clifton Baumatic combines a timeless design with one of the most technically advanced, mass-produced base calibers currently available, making it both an interesting, “hassle-free,” versatile option for beginning collectors and an attractively priced alternative for experienced ones. And that certainly comes as close to the very idea of a daily wearer as possible.
Baume & Mercier aims to offer nothing else than a reliable and ultra-efficient mechanical caliber at an extremely competitive price.
A New Movement
The BM12-1975A Caliber is a proprietary, but not in-house-produced, movement. Richemont’s new innovation hub (Richemont Research & Innovation), located within Neuchâtel’s Microcity, Baume & Mercier and the group’s movement manufacturing company, Manufacture Horlogère Valfleurier, joined forces to develop the new base caliber.
The team spent more than four years working on the new automatic movement, which also features the first Richemont silicon balance spring, anchor and escapement wheel called the “Powerscape escapement.” (The Clifton Manual 1830 from 2017 was already fitted with a new silicon balance spring but not with a silicon escape wheel and lever.) this balance spring combines a variable-inertia balance and uses two layers of silicon that are set at 45° and bound together by a silicon dioxide film (which the group calls “Twinspir”). The construction aims to compensate for temperature variations and helps improve accuracy, which is measured at an impressive -4/+6 seconds per day throughout the entire power reserve of 120 hours. Additionally, thanks to the use of silicon and non-ferromagnetic materials, the BM12-1975A is resistant to magnetic fields up to 1,500 gauss (25 times more than the 4,800 A/m required to meet the ISO 764 standard specifying the minimum requirements and test methods for magnetic-resistant watches) and does not require a closed caseback or additional soft iron inner cage. In other words, thankfully, the new caliber is still visible through the sapphire crystal on the caseback of the Clifton Baumatic.
To summarize, the new movement promises to deliver better results in four key areas:
• Increased autonomy (120 hours or five days)
• Chronometer precision (-4s/+6s per day over the entire 120-hour power reserve) • Sensitivity to magnetic fields (resists magnetic fields up to 1,500 gauss)
• Durability (less frequent service intervals).
Zimmermann is convinced that the Clifton Baumatic is “a product at a fantastic price, a great design, typically Baume & Mercier, bringing basically four solutions to four major topics we believe to be relevant and meaningful for the clients of today and tomorrow.”
Speaking of tomorrow, because the caliber is oiled with newly formulated lubricants, Baume & Mercier is suggesting five years between servicing. (Richemont’s R&I team even tested the movement and its oils under extreme stress conditions that would be consistent with more than 10 years of use.)
It really seems that Baume & Mercier has built a versatile, hasslefree watch that can be set down on a Friday and picked up on a Monday without fear of losing time or needing to wind the watch. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine an owner who’d choose not to wear the Baumatic for five long days.
Check out Watchtime’s upcoming issue for a comprehensive test of the Clifton Baumatic and its new movement.