The Clifton Club by Baume & Mercier is one of a relatively new breed, sports watches with the connotations of a diver’s watch, but intended for everyday use (click here for the Top Ten Sports Watches). Baume & Mercier have recently shown a great deal of attention to sociological aspects, with watches designed specifically as gifts for special occasions. With the Clifton Club they have gone even further, identifying a new category of young men, “gentlesportsmen,” (I think that they themselves coined the term) and designing a watch for them. The concept is that of people who play sports as part of their lifestyle, to keep fit, and to enjoy the elegance of the gesture and the moments of socialization afterwards.
A watch for all-round use
The Clifton Club is slim and attractive, in a 42 mm case that is 10.3 mm thick and so slips under a shirt cuff. The lugs form a continuous curve with the caseband and on the right-hand side, they flow smoothly to form the crown protector. The crown is screw-down, the watch has a unidirectional rotating bezel and a screw-down caseback, and the second hand has a touch of SuperLuminova so you can see that the watch is still operating even in low light conditions. These are all diving watch features, and the Clifton Club has a water resistance of 100 metres. But it is not intended as a diving watch, but more of an all-round watch that you can take anywhere and that survives splashes. The 120-click unidirectional bezel enables it to be used to time events approximately, but the designers have provided minute markings for only the first 15 minutes. From this point of view, a watch like the Helm Vanuato is more practical, with minute markings all the way around.
But it’s in the design that the Clifton Club stands out, supervised by Alexandre Peraldi and his team. The touches of orange on the bezel, the seconds hand and the inner edge of the chapter ring are a distinctive feature. I love the numerals font, and the way that the hands mirror the shape of the applied indices. The date window is nicely incorporated into the dial. The solid caseback has a coat of arms engraving to suggest sports clubs. It features the brands Phi logo that also appears at the top of the dial, with SuperLuminova.
The watch is powered by the Sellita SW200 movement, running at 4 Hertz and providing 48 hours’ power reserve. This has the stop-seconds feature for precision time-setting, and rapid date adjustment from the crown.
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club is available in five versions, differing in dial colour (white, black, blue), case (steel or ADLC black coating) and strap (calfskin, bracelet, rubber).
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club M0A10337
Case in polished and satin-finished steel, bezel in steel with a black ADLC coating, white dial, black calfskin strap with orange rubberized calfskin lining, triple folding clasp with security pushpieces. Price 1,740 Swiss francs.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club M0A10338
Case in polished and satin-finished steel, bezel in stainless steel, opaline black dial, black calfskin strap with orange rubberized calfskin lining, triple folding clasp with security pushers. Price 1,740 Swiss francs.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club M0A10339
Case in sandblasted stainless steel with black ADLC coating, bezel in steel with a black ADLC coating, opaline black dial, black vulcanized rubber strap, pin buckle. Price 2,000 Swiss francs.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club M0A10340
Case in polished and satin-finished steel, bezel in steel with a black ADLC coating, opaline black dial, bracelet in polished and satin-finished steel with triple folding clasp and security pushers. Price 1,880 Swiss francs.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club M0A10378
Case in polished and satin-finished steel, bezel in steel with a blue aluminium insert, sunburst blue dial, bracelet in polished and satin-finished steel with triple folding clasp and security pushers. Price 1,880 Swiss francs.