The Baume & Mercier Indian Motorcyles watches hands-on
If you have not yet seen the movie "The World's Fastest Indian", I suggest doing so as soon as possible. Whether you are a fan of motorbikes or not, that film tells, through Anthony Hopkins’s masterful interpretation, one of the most beautiful tales of motorcycling and is one of the most beautiful stories of the American pioneering spirit that inspire the whole world, reminding us that everything is possible in life if you use your passion and dedication. If you are a motorcyclist, you will certainly know that the Indian Motorcycles brand is a pillar of the United States of America, of its history as a manufacturing country, as are the "Big three" based in Detroit or the Coca-Cola brand.
It is by far the first motorcycle brand founded in America (1901) and this also the message that the revived Indian Motorcycles with its European headquarters in Switzerland continues to repeat both as a message of marketing and product. It also reminds us of the deeds of Burt Munro, the "crazy" New Zealander who gave Indian glory - a legacy on which the American brand invests as much as Baume & Mercier does since in mid-2017 decided to get together with the American brand.
About partnerships between brands coming from similar sectors.
There is no doubt that we live in an era of intersection between consumer sectors that are driven by the habits and passions of the public. It is not a mystery that those who love motorcycles or motorcyclists too would definitely go for items like a nice jacket, a nice pair of shoes and a nice mechanical watch.
Those who choose an Indian do not choose any motorcycle, but rather make a precise choice, and the same can be said when they buy a watch. The step is short - those who love mechanics, also love fine mechanics and those who choose an Indian or an uncommon brand can be described as someone, who a) has a not negligible knowledge of the world of two wheels and b) knows thoroughly what is buying.
It is on this basis that a part of the partnership between Indian Motorcycles and Baume et Mercier was signed: culture. In addition, Baume & Mercier chose, as it did with the Cobra brand (Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra CSX 2299 Limited Edition), a historical brand that has deep roots in the historic American tradition, rather than a generalist brand for mass consumers.
Baume & Mercier built three watches on this specific partnership - the first and most evocative was presented at the end of summer and largely anticipated with a dinner-event at Ceresio 7 in Milan, two others were launched in January at the 2018 SIHH. It's not over yet, because this article opens the way to the celebrations of the Indian Motorcycles and Baume & Mercier world, which will open on the Vairano racing circuit on May 21st, where we will be present with our cameras. Lovers of two wheels and mechanical chronographs - you should note down this date because we will be live on Instagram from the racing circuit.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition is the chronograph that opened the series of chronographs dedicated to Indian Motorcycles. It is the celebratory watch, the one that tells of the myth of Burt Munro and is therefore the one of the three timepieces with the strongest meaning - the red of the soft calfskin strap with the Baume & Mercier logo stamped on it, the lucky number of Burt (a black 35 on a yellow background) stamped on the dial that makes it look like a chrono with two vertical counters. All these are elements that are strongly evocative of the spirit that the designer of the Swiss brand has been able to enhance the most.
With the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition a slightly different case and yet another interpretation of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club case makes its debut. The Clifton Club, with its unmistakable case side that tapers towards the lugs, has been exclusively edited in the only time version so far. A "full dial" watch, as I like to define it because the bezel made of black ceramic is so thin that the dial looks wider than usual and close to the 44mm size of the steel case. A rigorous geometry, on which the Italic "I" for Indian stands out and acts as a balance wheel at the end of the central chrono seconds hand.
I'm not a fan of commemorative watches in general, but I have to admit that the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition is not a crowdy chrono, but rather a highly evocative chronograph, where, in my opinion, only the size of the logo on the case-back is slightly too excessive. It will be released in 1967 copies to celebrate the year Burt Munro achieved the speed record in Bonneville Salt Flats. The reason why the timepiece premiered in 2017 is to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of that memorable achievement. Two other editions of the Clifton Club were added at the beginning of the year.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout Limited Edition and the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief Limited Edition.
If you are familiar with the Indian brand, you know that the Scout and the Chief are two historical motorcycle ranges of this American brand. In the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Scout Limited Edition it is not only the colours and hues that change. The hours and minutes counters are coloured in the same matte black of the Scout (it's the same Pantone) and the dial is slightly skeletonized in the middle.
The date has been moved to 9 o’clock, within the continuous seconds counter and it shows the figure 1901 rather than the figure 19 near the 19th day of the month - a tribute to the foundation year of Indian Motorcycles.
Moreover, the chrono buttons and the steel crown have undergone an ADLC-treatment (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon) to increase their protection in case of accidental impacts. Another reference to the American tradition - the brown leather strap is made by Horween, the historic brand from Chicago that was founded only four years after the creation of Indian.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Indian Legend Tribute Chief Limited Edition is the most "neutral" or reassuring version of the collection, the only one to have a reverse panda dial on a steel bracelet with a deployant clasp, although I believe that such a watch should go together with one of the two leather straps available. All of these timepieces are equipped with the reliable Valjoux 7750 calibre with 48 hours of power reserve.
See you in Vairano.
On May 21st, as anticipated, we will be on the racing circuit to celebrate the first big Italian event that will mark the union between the two brands. In our company, there will be two ambassadors of Baume & Mercier and two great Italian sportsmen: Luca Dotto and Massimiliano Rosolino. We already met Luca Dotto, during the Italian stage of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, held last October at Franciacorta.
As a journalist, I am extremely curious to find out what Baume & Mercier Italy has in store for the guests, many of the details are still top-secret even for those who will cover this event. It's better this way though, because, sometimes, it's nice to find out what's new once you are on the track. I expect a few Indian Motorcycles competing along the racing circuit and, I hope, I will also be able to ride one: once again, I could be a motorcyclist for a day!
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®