Following on from our previous article where we looked at the new Royal Oak chronographs from Audemars Piguet (click here to give it a read) we now venture further into the revelations from SIHH and take a look at the beautiful, robust and all new “Clifton Club” collection from the historical watchmaker Baume & Mercier.
Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier have crafted watches since 1830, originally under the name of Frères Baume. The original company was founded by two brothers, Louis Victor and Celestin Baume. In the year 1918 the company director called William Baume decided to declare a partnership with Paul Mercier ( the two men above). The company now know as Baume & Mercier was created. Baume & Mercier in 1988 became a subsidiary of the Richemont group. They find themselves in good company alongside the likes of Cartier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Panerai to name a few.
The Clifton Club
Baume already produce plenty of traditional style pieces from collections such as the Classima and the normal Clifton range. However the Clifton Club is currently their answer to the ever growing trend that is the “sports watch” and it answers it perfectly. The collection offers 5 new pieces under the model numbers MOA10337, MOA10338, MOA10339, MOA10378 and finally MOA10340.
The new collection prides itself on 4 key features:
Firstly, they say the watch is “Athletic“. Baume & Mercier have prevailed by giving the new Clifton Club watches two vital sports watch features, one being it has a screw down crown giving it water resistance to 100m which means its perfect for the vast majority of offshore and land based sports, everything really excluding deep sea diving. The second feature is an Antiglare scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass, sapphire crystal glass is a basic of modern watches however. Another feature is that the movement is tested to 550g shocks to insure it is as sturdy as possible.
Secondly, they say the watch is “Polyvalent” meaning the watch is versatile to any situation. This is due to the fact that all 5 watches have a well balanced diameter of 42mm and a depth of 10.33mm. The watches are also offered with contemporary white, black or blue dial giving them a modern, sleek and professional feel.
Thirdly, the brand is proud of the watch collections “Horological” craftsmanship. Each case has alternating polished and satin finishing, a Clifton collection signature. Also, all the watches in this collection sport automatic movements. The base movements in these watches are Sellita SW200 movements which is a copy cat movement of the ETA2824. The SW200 is used by the likes of TAG Heuer and Oris who have had to find a solid replacement of the ETA movement since SWATCH groups decision to stop distribution of ETA movements. This means that the craftsmanship in this collection is similar to that of watch brands that ask for over £2000 for a similar finished watch. This is a strong focus point for Baume & Mercier.
Mentioning price points bring me to their final focus point, the watch is “Affordable“. The official price of these watches is yet to be revealed, however the watches are believed to be priced at under £2000. The price point of this watch makes it highly competitive in the sports watch segment, launching itself into competition with the likes of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5, which uses the same base movement as these new Clifton Clubs. This allows the consumer to have more choice at the under £2000 price point.
- MOA10337 and MOA10338:
These 2 new Clifton Clubs are offered as the strap options for the Clifton Club range, they come on what Baume & Mercier call a black “All Road” calfskin strap. The strap has a sail cloth like pattern with an orange rubberized calfskin lining. This strap fits perfectly with the watches 100m water resistance due to the fact it is rubberized making it more acceptable to wear in and near water. The watch is secured with a clasp with security buttons. These straps give the watch a casual and robust look. These watches show the Clifton Clubs strong, sporting yet casual side, offering a light weight yet durable strap option perfect for a rugged sports situation which could easily transform into a casual watch you could wear at the most laid back of occasions.
The white dial comes with a sandblasted Stainless steel, unidirectional, black ADLC bezel (ADLC is a coating). The black dial comes with the same bezel just minus the coating. The bezel is perfect for timing due to its engraved 0-60 numbers, an iconic feature of historical sports watches.
- MOA10340 and MOA10378
These 2 new Clifton Clubs are the steel bracelet options, The links are traditional style polished and satin finished 3 row links made from 316L Stainless steel, once again secured by a push button security clasp. The watches themselves are similar to the previous 2 we have looked at, they have the same movements,the same cases and the same 100m water resistance, however these 2 different models offer a black dial and a black ADLC coated bezel (which wasn’t offered on the strap option) and a very fresh and trendy blue dial with a blue aluminium bezel, once again both of these bezels sport the classic “sports watch” feature of an engraved 0-60 bezel. Similar to all the pieces throughout this collection, these wear rather eye catching orange accents. These accents contrast well with all the dials giving it a understated yet sporty feel, I personally feel the best contrast is with the blue dial making perfect for a watch that’s made for in the office and on the beach.
The final Clifton club piece from SIHH was the MOA10339 “full black” version. This particular piece is the sportiest of them all offering a polished and satin finished steel case with all black ADLC finishing. Similar to previous models it also it comes with the engraved ADLC bezel and the rather exuberant orange accents which contrast very well with the all black case. One of the most notable differences is the option of a rubber strap, an option that is not offered with the other models in the collection. This makes this particular model the sportiest of them all. It is ideal for the more water based activities compared to the rubberized leather strap and is a lot more casual compared to the steel strap option. The rubber strap option and full black case is a beautiful model which tops of the Clifton Club collection.
I personally feel that the Clifton Club collection will introduce a whole new audience to the Baume & Mercier drawing in a younger and more sporty generation who are looking to invest in their first Swiss made Automatic watch that fits into their varied lifestyle, from behind the desk in an office to on the field with their friends. This new collection really is what Baume & Mercier needed and I believe it will be a phenomenal success.
You can keep an eye for the new Clifton Club here on our Baume & Mercier page to see when it is launched and also to buy straight from our Owen & Robinson website after the launch date!
*Photo credits to Hodinkee