Like most blues songs that use the omnipresent 12-bar chord progression can be either extremely boring or delightfully original, so can be watches that feature the classic combo of complete calendar and moon phase display. Although the new Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar & Moonphase automatic watch that was presented back in January at the last SIHH 2013 event features the excruciatingly tiresome layout that we have already seen thousands of times, it somehow manages to be a real treat for the eye of an enthusiast.
The Secret, perhaps, is in the way they mixed and stirred the ingredients that form this elegant timepiece.
The applied Arabic numerals use well-chosen, nicely balanced font family (it is the same font that they used for another member of the family: the beautiful Baume & Mercier Clifton 1830 hand-wound watch), while at the same time being accompanied by cone-shaped hour markers of just the right size and finish. The hands, too, look like the brand’s designer took his or her time making them as proportionate to other elements of the dial (including the chapter ring with date display) as possible.
Even the moonphase display, the usual culprit when it comes to ruining an otherwise brilliant design, looks extremely refined: even after a close inspection you will not be able to tell that this is a part of a mass produced mechanism, which is manufactured by a third-party brand.
Of course, the watch doesn’t look as daring as the gorgeous skeletonized Louis Erard 1931 Moon Phase that uses the same ETA 2824-2 blank movement equipped with the same Dubois Depraz 9000 add-on module, but, being offered as a relatively inexpensive dress watch, it does its job perfectly.
Well, almost perfectly, since, presented in a 43 mm body, it is a tad too large for a “real” dress watch, which is supposed to be smaller than 40 millimeters in diameter. Still, it is one of the most elegant “affordable” watches that I have seen this year.
Photos: Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar & Moonphase watch specification
Movement: Automatic, ETA 2824-2 with Dubois Depraz 9000 add-on module, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Brand rotor, circular-grained (perlaged) bridges, black and rhodium-plated screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week, month, moonphase
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 12.25 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silver / Blue
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with steel triple folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire