Clifton is Baume & Mercier’s “expertise” range, with watches based on more complex movements. It has a busy dial, and a steel case 43 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick, with areas of high polish contrasting with brushed steel. It is enhanced by the alligator strap, with curved springbars that enhance the shape of the case. The strap is slightly bolstered in the sections closest to the watch, gradually thinning towards the folding buckle. It can be pulled down vertically and therefore it’s comfortable on smaller wrists. The case has a water resistance of 50 metres.
At the outer extremity of the dial is the banker’s date, with a sequence of numbers and a silvered hand with red arrow. Just inside is the chronograph seconds scale, with quarter-second intervals. It looks confusing to me, the date numbers rather distract me from the seconds. Taking time readings using this watch takes a bit more effort than on most chronographs. The hour numerals are very modern, in the form of rhodium-plated appliqués. On the top subdial, there are the indications for day and month, with chronograph minutes. Chronograph hours are on the bottom subdial along with moon phase. The other subdial at 9 o’clock has a longer hand for continuous seconds, and a short hand indicating the time on a 24-hour scale. Overall the dial is nicely balanced.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar can be compared to other watches using the same Valjoux 7751 movement, such as the Longines Master Collection L2.6220.127.116.11, shown below on the left. The Baume & Mercier has a more elegant and attractive dial.
Another watch with the Valjoux 7751 is the Pharos made by German brand Limes. In this piece the same functions are given a sort of Breguet look, with the guilloché dial, Breguet hands and fluted caseband.
Valjoux 7751 movement
The Valjoux 7751 made by ETA is a classic cam-operated chronograph movement, self-winding, providing 48 hours of power reserve. It runs at 4 Hertz, 28,800 vibrations per hour. All adjustments are made using the crown, winding in closed position, date adjustment and moon phase in first position, time in second position. There is a recessed pusher on the left-hand caseband for adjusting the day of the week. As this is a “Complete Calendar” watch (as opposed to annual and perpetual calendars), the date has to be adjusted for every month with less than 31 days.
Prices and references
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar is made in three variants, 10278 (steel, black alligator strap), 4,300 Swiss francs, €4,800, US$4,300; 10279 (steel, steel bracelet), 4,400 Swiss francs, €4,950, US$ 4,400; and 10280 (steel with gold bezel and gilded hour indices), 4,750 Swiss francs, €5,400, US$ 5,450. The watches are already on sale in boutiques.
By way of comparison, the Longines L2.618.104.22.168 costs €2,470, and the Limes Pharos €2,460.