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.

WatchTime - - Table Of Contents - By Roger Rueg­ger

| 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.

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