Baume & Mercier Hampton 2020 - Watches and Wonders 2020
Baume & Mercier has never phased out the Hampton. Still, it has this year decided to dramatically enrich the collection by adding exciting new mechanical timepieces to the current product portfolio. Over the years, the Hampton has often been re-issued, like the somehow odd-looking Hampton City or the squared XL sports variant on a rubber strap, the latter representing an age where Baume & Mercier used to explore the pure sports watch segment extensively. In contrast, those models are now all collected under the Clifton Club line up of products.
Last February, we were able to get our hands on the new Hampton watches during a beautiful press preview held in Milan before the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. On that day, we had plenty of time to wear them, touch them, and read the full specs sheet. Back then, we got the medium and large size new Hampton watches are the hot pieces of the 2020 new offering. Their style is rooted in the Art Decò style, as proved by the rectangular-shaped case, whose ratio between long and short sides is between 1,5 and 1,7.
Additionally, there is something specific that sets the new Hampton apart from their predecessors: they are bolder, exquisite, and refined, and the dials are very sophisticated. They are a perfect match to such a case, whose flat middle part sharply tapers towards the lugs. What has remained 100% Hampton from one generation to another (except for the Square XL) is the curved glass that protrudes from the case. Whether you like it or not, this case shape makes the watch wrap around your wrist easily. Conversely, the full polished case is prone to scratches and dents.
The three watches on here have a size of 43mm by 27,5mm (medium) or 48mm by 31mm (large). The medium-sized Hampton, the reference 10522, is an only time watch with no date, and is perhaps most men's or women's cup of tea, connoisseurs included. The sticker price is super competitive, at 2,400 Euros. The large model comes in two variants: one offers running small seconds and date, both placed at six, while the top line is fairly more interesting. The Baume & Mercier Hampton reference 10523 is, in fact, a Dual Time timepiece with day and night indication, and, last but not least, a Big Date complication. I guess Baume & Mercier is with this timepiece starting to explore the Hampton's potential in housing even more complicated mechanisms, following the likes of the well-established Clifton Baumatic, whose top-end model is a perpetual calendar.
A significant step forward comes from the dial's design. Sporting riveted indexes, Arabic numerals, and gray finish, it has an opaline tone, on which flat and grained finishes alternate. This contrast, along with the dark indexes and hands, makes for the watch premium feel. After all, these three variants share standard base specifications, with simpler versions powered by automatic ETA sourced calibers. In contrast, a Soprod mechanism is powering the top of the range model, whose price is 3,950 Euros, with the mid-product stopping at 2,550 Euros, a price which is, to my surprise, too close to the medium-sized Hampton.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Baume & Mercier)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®