Newly announced at last month's SIHH fair in Geneva, Baume & Mercier has expanded their Clifton Baumatic line with new dials, new case materials, and the option of COSC certification (though this last bit was available in last year's model too). These new models grow the Baumatic collection in the hopes of translating the classic design and tech-forward philosophy to a wider audience.*
The updates are straightforward enough, with the 40mm stainless steel Clifton Baumatic now available with a blue gradient dial that transitions from a rich blue in the center to a deep inky blue-black at the dial's edge (B&M calls this option simply Cadran Bleu, or "blue dial" in French). Likewise, the handsome white dial Baumatic is now available in 18k red gold too. This new model, ref. 10469, has a slightly smaller 39mm case with the dial text and the seconds hand finished in a dark anthracite color to add some contrast.*
Alongside the gold and blue additions, Baume & Mercier is also offering the time-and-date model in both standard and COSC-certified versions, though all are powered by the BM13 Baumatic movement (regulated to different degrees). The so-called Baumatic COSC models have a crosshair design running through the center of the dials (as seen above), while non-COSC versions do not, letting you easily tell them apart at a glance.*The caliber BM13 has a prominent date display at three o'clock and is a modern, tech-forward movement that harmonizes nicely with the otherwise classically minded Clifton format.*
Those in tune with all things Baumatic will recognize that the BM13 is not the same movement that originally launched inside the Clifton Baumatic collection in 2018. That movement was the caliber BM12, the current movement's predecessor. As it turns out, Baume & Mercier's application of silicon technology for the balance spring in the BM12 is the subject of a patent lawsuit for being too similar to that described in a patent held by CSEM (which was granted in 2005). As such, new Baumatics do not have a silicon balance spring. That being said, the BM13 does have a silicon escapement, revised sizing for the single mainspring barrel, and the use of a new lubricant to ensure the five-day power reserve. Furthermore, the movement is surrounded in the case by a chrome core ring that helps to protect it from magnetism.*Baume & Mercier says that the resulting performance of the BM13 is as good as, if not better than, that of the BM12.
With 120 hours power reserve, an anti-magnetic design, and a service window of seven years (the norm being more like three to five years), the execution of the Baumatic is one that we have covered before (albeit with the original silicon balance spring). With COSC certification, the Baumatic will keep time to the established -4/+6 seconds per day and it offers a simple but balanced design that is subtle in both size and wrist presence.*
On wrist, both the 39mm and 40mm versions of the Baumatic wear nicely, offer excellent legibility, and the rose gold version manages to retain the versatility and simplicity that made the original models an appealing option for those wanting something more dressy than sporty. This is likely due to the enamel-like effect of the white dial finishing and the well-established grandpa-charm of a reserved gold watch on a leather strap.*
The pricing has been adjusted for these new BM13-powered models, with the blue dial Baumatics starting at $2,550 for non-COSC, $2,990 for COSC on leather, and $3,190 for COSC on the optional five-link steel bracelet. Being solid rose gold, the ref. 10469 comes in a little higher at $7,200. While I'd be eyeing the standard steel with a white dial and a COSC certification for my wrist, the gradient blue dial has an entirely distinct appeal and the rose gold model helps to bridge the three-hand Baumatic with the newly announced perpetual calendar.*
For more information, visit Baume & Mercier online.


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