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.
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.
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 Polerouter.de 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.
- 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.