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April 16, 2024

Clifton Baumatic moon phase and date: elegance by Baume & Mercier

That Baume & Mercier is one of the most glorious brands in Swiss Made watchmaking is beyond doubt. It is a brand capable of continuous growth and innovation, even without considering its own history of success. Especially in recent years, the brand’s perception has grown, in fact, mainly because, with some of its identity collections, it has been able to keep up with the times thanks to the introduction of new designs and new technologies. The Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date, the star of our exclusive photo shoot, is an excellent illustration of this approach.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The first great plus of this watch is the fact that it bears the word Baumatic in its name. Which, in the case of Baume & Mercier, began by designating a family of calibres which would then almost immediately get to designate a collection. And it is not just any calibre, but the first in-house movement created by the brand. A market debut that dates back to SIHH 2018, with the first time-only piece animated by a mechanism that, in terms of research, development and characteristics, has few equals in the price range in which the brand positions itself.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date can in fact rely on the Baumatic technology developed by Baume & Mercier engineers together with the Richemont Group’s Research and Innovation department. A decisive contribution was brought by Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier, which also belongs to Richemont and produces movements and components for all the Swiss group’s brands. 

THE BAUMATIC CALIBRE

The Baumatic movement has several assets, which relate to the four pillars on which it was founded: resistance to magnetic fields, precision, autonomy and reliability.

A timepiece equipped with the Baumatic calibre BM13-1975A is resistant to at least 1,500 gauss, far more than the 60 gauss required by the NIHS 90-10 standard. This is thanks to the use of non-ferromagnetic elements for the two particularly sensitive components of the movement, the regulating organ (including the balance spring) and the escapement system. The watch is virtually unaffected by the magnetic fields we come across in everyday life.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

As far as precision is concerned, the Baume & Mercier calibre guarantees high performance throughout the entire duration of the power reserve. The movement has a power reserve of 120 hours, which is three times that of a standard watch. This is also thanks to the barrel size optimised with a spring made of ‘NIVAFLEX+’, combined with the new high-performance escapement system with Powerscape technology. The fully optimised design improves torque transmission, reduces friction-related energy loss, and guarantees a longer power reserve than a standard calibre.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date
Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

In terms of reliability, the breakthrough was made possible by the use of new lubricants, specially developed to optimise the long-life lubrication of all key functions. Tests carried out in the Richemont laboratories covered each key function with new procedures and new test benches. The tests showed that a interval longer than the usual recommended 5 years can elapse between maintenance, thanks to new lubricant formulations adapted to fulfil their long-life mission even under severe stress. Tests have successfully simulated 10 years of operation.

THE FINELY CRAFTED AESTHETICS OF BAUME & MERCIER

This is the technical pillar on which the Baumatic family was born, so as the Clifton collection consisting of several references. One of the most fascinating is the one captured by the lenses of Watch Insanity, the Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date. A watch in which Baume & Mercier has combined the Baumatic BM14 calibre with the day-date and moon-phase complications. Not a trivial operation, because the dial has been redesigned to make the information legible and clear, without sacrificing aesthetic balance.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The beauty of the lacquered dial also lies in the choice of the colours, in this case a faded blue that turns black from the centre to the edges. It also comes in green and grey versions, but in our opinion the blue one is the most striking. As mentioned, the colour gets darker towards the outside, a degradé that draws the beholder’s eye to the minute circle and the applied rhodium-plated hour markers. Their elongated shape makes the reading of time even clearer.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The most substantial part of the dial is developed along a double axis, vertically and horizontally symmetric. The horizontal one brings balance the Baume & Mercier logo at 9 o’clock with the ‘Baumatic 5 Days’ inscription at 3 o’clock. It is therefore an axis reserved for the signatures that characterise the timepiece. Axis 12-6, on the other hand, is the most important, as it is dedicated to the indications that makes this watch special: the date and moon phase.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

For the date, Baume & Mercier has chosen to separate the information. The large, easy-to-read counter at 12 o’clock is dedicated to the week days, indicated by a baton hand. It is identical to the one at 6 o’clock that indicates the day of the month on a ring crowning the moon phase window. The latter has the same diameter as the counter at 6 o’clock, further balancing the dial’s proportions.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date
Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The moon phase display was conceived in a special way by Baume & Mercier. Within the Clifton Baumatic collection, there is in fact a reference with moon phases and a crown date display, without the week day indication. On it, the moon phases are displayed through the classic bilobed window showing the motion of the moon disc against the starry sky. On the Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date, in addition to the starry sky in the background, the moon phases in the round window are embellished with a smoky grey sapphire crystal that discreetly blurs the new moon without hiding it. A solution that creates a beautiful aesthetic effect and which, in our opinion, raises the perceived quality of the watch considerably.

FINEST FINISH AND ATTRACTIVE PRICE

Baume & Mercier was able to make all this fit inside a case ofclassic dimensions for this type of watch, 42 mm in diameter by just over 13 mm thick. A size perhaps not for all wrists but which, for a moon phase and date watch, is the minimum diameter to maintain legibility without overcrowding the dial. As for the star of our photo shoot, its case is made of polished steel – but a version of the Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date is also available with an 18-carat rose gold case combined with a smoky grey dial.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

The strap is made of black alligator leather, while another version of the watch also comes with an elegant five-row steel bracelet. Both the strap and the bracelet have a folding clasp and a quick release system that allow for interchangeability without the need of using tools or the intervention of a watchmaker. Naturally, the price of the timepiece changes depending on the different versions: 5,150 euros with the bracelet, 4,990 with the strap.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date
Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

This last price is not an insignificant detail. Staying under 5,000 euros for a day-date watch with moon phases is not trivial at all. What’s more, considering that it is equipped with a fine movement, which Baume & Mercier defines as ‘manufacture’ because it was created by its own designers and manufactured exclusively to its own specifications.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Automatic, Moon Phase, Date

As we wrote in the introduction: the brand’s desire to evolve its timepieces into the present and the future has led it to carve out a solid position within its market segment. Watches such as the Clifton Baumatic Moon Phase and Date are the full expression of this strategic vision.

By Davide Passoni