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With its new Clifton watch, Baume & Mercier, has created a real surprise piece, resulting in their successful repositioning in the marketplace.

Baume & Mercier Clifton, luxury at a reasonable price

by Hervé Borne

It was last January that we first came across the Clifton, the new Baume & Mercier collection. A traditional, masculine piece inspired by the timekeepers of the 1950s. Of the different versions available, the simple rose gold piece, with three central hour, minute and second hands and date aperture at 3 o'clock, stands out as truly remarkable. This rose gold Clifton watch is available with an anthracite dial or silvered dial. It is powered by a self-winding mechanical caliber and has an alligator strap.

Since last year, a key moment in terms of its market repositioning, Baume & Mercier has drawn on its rich heritage, dating back some 180 years, to create more stylish and elegant models, similar to the timepieces favored by gentlemen during the "golden fifties," which are excellent value for money. The result is really quite convincing; Clifton is a beautiful, reasonably priced, vintage watch... Unfortunately, in watch-making, there are two things that don't often go together: luxury and a sensible price. However, in producing this timepiece Baume & Mercier has responded to a great challenge - the challenge of offering a gold watch with all the usual attributes commonly associated with fine watch-making at an attractive price.

Today, the price of an equivalent piece on the market is around €8,000 while the Clifton is on sale for €5,500 which makes it the cheapest watch of its kind. "It's true, it's a very reasonable price for a classic watch and a lovely surprise when the whole world is worried about the volatility of gold. We wanted to offer customers a piece that was elegant and urban, something which our younger clientele could afford as a treat and which would serve as an introduction to the rarified world of fine watch-making," explains Alain Zimmerman, CEO of Baume & Mercier.

The Clifton dial, which is presented in a 39 mm diameter, 9.4 mm deep case, with alternating polished and satin-finished surfaces, is available in anthracite or silver with an engine-turned sunray satin finish. The sunray finish is peculiar to traditional watch-making, creating a sunbeam effect and wonderful play of light on the dial. It is a meticulous piece of craftsmanship, enhanced by the addition of Arabic numerals and gold index markers not to mention the date aperture situated at 3 o'clock.

When you turn over the Clifton case, a gesture characteristic of the well-informed collector, we discover another lovely surprise: the self-winding mechanical caliber visible through the engraved screwed sapphire back. It would have been a real shame to have hidden this movement... The entire oscillating mass is, in fact, decorated with the traditional Côtes de Genève motif.

In sum, this is a beautiful piece, and a lovely, extravagant indulgence, available in France from 100 Baume & Mercier sales outlets and from April 2013 will be available worldwide through its distribution network.

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Place : Bâtiment des forces motrices, Genève
Date : January 20th 2013

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