Monochrome Watches
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Baume & Mercier introduce the Clifton Chronograph

| By Frank Geelen | 3 min read |
Baume et Mercier Clifton Chronograph

Although it’s still a few months until the 2014 edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), where Baume & Mercier (among others) usuaully introduce their new models, they have just introduced a new chronograph in the Clifton collection. A very nice, elegant yet manly, balanced, contemporary chronograph. Judging on the looks and specs, I believe that it has everything to become a very popular model, that is, if the price is right.

The looks are coherent with the other Clifton models, which we showed you here and here, while the Clifton 1830 is the more “deluxe edition” with a slightly more refined case design. Yet still all very much aligned, design-wise. Or as Baume & Mercier state in their press release: “An absolute concentration of power and urban chic“, a catchy line that resonates for a long time and it seems to match very well with the new Clifton Chronograph.

Baume et Mercier Clifton Chronograph

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The new Clifton Chronograph comes in three flavors, or actually two when you count the dial variations. Inside ticks a generic movement, a Valjoux 7750, which is regarded as one of the best chronograph movements ever created, because it is such a “tractor” that will keep running and is not too ‘sensitive’ to shocks. The use of third-party movements isn’t new, because back in the day most watch companies used movements made by other companies, who were specialized in manufacturing movements.

Just have a look at the three vintage models below, which are equipped with Landeron calibers and a Valjoux 88 (center model with with calendar functions). In the 1940’s and 1950’s the Baume & Mercier chronographs were very well-known, highly regarded and their name was synonym with quality. You can still find many vintage Baume & Mercier chronographs on the market and these (usually) make a good and solid investment. Just be aware of re-painted dials and other tricks some dealers use to make an old watch look like new again.

Baume et Mercier vintage chronographs
Column-wheel chronograph, 1940 – Complete calendar chronograph, 1950 – Chronograph with tachymeter and telemeter functions, 1950 – Baume & Mercier museum collection

The Clifton Chronograph comes in a stainless steel case that measures 43 mm in diameter and 14.95 mm in height. Personally I wouldn’t mind if they had chosen for a 40/41 mm case that was also a bit thinner, but I’m sure these dimensions will please many. The case is polished and satin-finished, has an antiglare scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a sapphire case back that is secured with 4 screws. I cannot help seeing a resemblance with the lugs of the Universal Polerouter, one of Gerald Genta’s first designs. These features the same “shaved” and angled shapes. On the website (check here), you can find pretty much everything about the Polerouter. I’m saying this because I’ve always found the lugs of the Polerouter (and later Omega Seamaster Professional models, which featured similar lugs) to be visually very pleasing.

All together the new Clifton Chronograph looks really good, has a size that will please many, and hopefully a price that will be just right. At the time of writing this, there was no price know. We’ll update as soon as Baume & Mercier makes that known.

Baume et Mercier Clifton Chronograph

Some specifications:

  • Movement: mechanical chronograph, caliber ETA/Valjoux 7750, automatic winding, decorated winding rotor, bridges with circular-grained finish and rhodium-plated screws, 25 jewels, 48 hours of power reserve, 28,800 vph
  • Functions: Chronograph / Day / Date
  • Case: stainless steel round case, diameter: 43mm / thickness: 14.95 mm, polished & satin-finished steel, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal, sapphire case back
  • Dial: sun satin-finished silver-colored dial with applied arabic numerals and indexes, blued steel or gilt hands
  • Bracelet: Alligator leather with square scales black and a triple folding clasp with security push-pieces OR polished & satin-finished steel bracelet

For more information and salespoints, you can visit the Baume & Mercier website.

3 responses

  1. Frank,

    I don’t understand why you’re going so easy on them for using a run-of-the-mill 7750 in such an expensive watch. For these prices you can get an IWC with a chronometre-grade 7750 that has been totally disassembled and reassembled according to the manufacturer’s specs. Maybe it’s apples and oranges, in terms of design, but I think this is rather lazy of B&M, which is otherwise doing really interesting things these days and recuperating the brand.

  2. Hi Mike,
    I didn’t get the price confirmed yet, but I believe it’s between $4k and $5k, which is in my opinion not a bargain, however justifiable.

    You’re right that IWC does more work on the movements and have to pay for the COSC testing. However they are at least $1k higher in price. Compare that for instance with Romain Jerome, who uses a modified 7750 movement, and they charge you $15k. It’s not just the movement that determines the price in my opinion.


  3. Very good looking chronos. I hope the price point is right so that they can be successful. The Baume et Mercier name sounds so elegant – one of the better ones out there.

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