The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Gold 10469 watch hands-on
We had a quick hands-on with the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10469 in red gold during the SIHH 2019, where the brand launched what I consider phase two of its most remarkable project released in recent years. The 2019 Clifton Baumatic has been consistently updated aesthetically in comparison to the original collection, whose touchpoints and the communication strategy were all geared towards highlighting the collection's cutting-edge features. Not only did the specs sheet certify the brand's new vision, they nonetheless set a new standard for the segment to which the Clifton Baumatic currently belongs.
A Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic is priced slightly above the so-called "accessible luxury" (the steel version is priced, on average, around 3,000 euros) and below the "premium luxury" that includes brands and models that share with a Clifton Baumatic the base architecture, i.e. a mechanical timepiece showcasing an uncommon resistance to magnetic fields, like an Omega Master Chronometer, for example.
Five days of maximum power reserve, maintenance service intervals extended to seven years, superior resistance to magnetic fields, and a COSC certification are a hard-to-find combination of performances anywhere else on the market. Also, this package is paired with a sleek and understated design.
During the glory days of last SIHH, I was overwhelmed by the Baumatic's new color variation with a smoky blue dial whereas the new Baumatic Gold 10469 did not instantly grow on me, the main reason being my reference point is the outgoing Clifton Gold collection that I regard as one of the most successful product collections ever conceived by Baume & Mercier: I have a soft spot for the trio made up of the hand-wound Clifton, the perpetual calendar and the tourbillon.
How did Baume & Mercier manage to combine performance and quality-driven design to a quintessentially classic style? It is what I tried to figure out, in January, and keep doing after wearing the Baumatic Gold for more than a week now. In summary, my attitude towards the product has changed in the last ten months or so, and I indeed believe the 10469 is a great watch, overall, although I feel some details are a let down if you're strictly looking for a classic three-hand timepiece in gold.
Let's start with analyzing the Baumatic's product concept once again: I think it sports a thoroughly-thought design, particularly with the Chronometer certified variation, where two straight lines cross each-other and cut the dial into four equal parts. A Baumatic Chronometer has a different feel to it than any other Baumatic; it sports a more personal look. Also, it is one of those rare cases where I do not wince when looking at a date window: the font is right in size and style, and seamlessly pairs with the porcelain-looking white dial. Well done, Baume & Mercier.
The case is a little thicker than you'd expect, at 10,74mm, yet the watch looks thinner than it truly is, on paper; congratulations to the brand's designers on avoiding to adopt a folding clasp and opting for a tang buckle instead: in brief, a Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10469 in rose gold easily slides under even the narrowest cuff.
Last but not least, the crown is not recessed as on previous Clifton watches, but is comfortable enough. All in all, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10469 is a great product: it guarantees robust and best-in-class performance, has the right size (38,8mm, across), and the automatic movement is the result of an innovative project, inside and outside the group either. A beautiful skeletonized gold rotor replaces the standard one on the nobler versions. It is classic but showcases a mass-production foothold, although it is technically far more refined, precise, and reliable in the long term than any sibling sporting a manual winding movement. The latter is its weakest point, in my opinion, or, possibly, the result of a new take on the classic three-hand gold watch.
Lacking any sort of vintage touch and feel, that you usually expect on a classic gold wristwatch crafted by such a historical brand, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10469 in red gold opens a new chapter for the brand and paves the way for a whole new product category: it is geared towards those who equally value technology and classic, yet no vintage looking, "solo tempo" style, who are middle managers in a New Tech company, rather than Senior Executives tasting their whiskey at the Club, for instance. About the price, a Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10469 in red gold has a € 6,700 sticker price. The price is reasonable, and much bang for the bucks if you belong to the first group, or too much if you're an old-school geek, after all. Yours is the final choice.
(Photo credit: Peter Tung and Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®