Well, the day has finally come—Baume and Mercier have released a watch that we have to cover. Sure, they have released various watches in the last several years that technically were in Worn & Wound’s price bracket, but they never felt like a good fit for the site. Not a comment on quality, of course; they are, after all, the entry into Richemont’s impressive portfolio of luxury brands (JLC, IWC, Panerai, Montblanc, A. Lange & Sohne and more), but the value just wasn’t there.
Take their Clifton diver for example. It’s just around $2,000, a respectable price for a Swiss-made dive watch from a luxury brand at retail. But, it’s a modern diver with only 100 meters of water resistance (something Oris got flack for on their decidedly vintage 65 line), it’s bland looking at best (in my humble opinion) and it’s heavily branded. For about half the money, Mido offers the Ocean Star, another broad-appeal modern diver, but with 200 meters of water resistance and an 80-hour power reserve. And Farer has their Swiss-made, 300-meter-rated Aqua Compressors, which are wholly unique in the market and built to a very high level of fit and finish. And that’s not to mention the huge amount of sub-$1,000 divers from the micro-brands we all know and love.
But today, Baume and Mercier changed the equation with the new Clifton Baumatic. The watch itself is nothing special in appearance, though it’s not unappealing either. Featuring a 40mm steel case with a thinnish 10.3mm height, it’s clearly designed to be an everyday watch that can survive in both casual and formal occasions. It’s good to see them come down from 42mm, which seemed to be the standard for the Clifton line, always putting them a touch into the big-for-big’s-sake category.