At the upcoming SIHH 2010 trade show that will start in just about three weeks, the Swiss watch brand Baume et Mercier will present its new Baume & Mercier Classima Executives XL Chronograph and Complete Calendar (ref. 8870) self-winding timepiece. Not offering anything terribly new when it comes to styling, the watch still features a good and robust movement that would probably make this timepiece a good value proposition if the price is right.
Equipped with what Baume et Mercier calls a “complete calendar,” (a complication that, while capable of displaying current time, date, day of week and month, still can’t take into account leap years and needs to be adjusted every two years) the watch doesn’t differ too much from similar offerings from Longines (over 9000 of them,) Mido, barely-known brands like SWI and Bernex and a great number of other watches powered by the ETA Valjoux 7751 chronograph movement with the same complications.
Not that it’s bad, since there is a lot of other timekeepers that, featuring more or less the same dial layout, are powered by simple three-hand movements with third-party add-on complication modules that, while draining on the base movement’s energy supply and significantly increasing its thickness, don’t bring too much in terms of reliability and accuracy.
However, we would like to see more luxury timekeepers that are powered by unique, manufacture-made calibers, not by mass-produced ebauches!
Most of these timepieces feature pretty much the same dial layout with day and month windows with a 30-min sub-dial at 12 o’clock, moonphase indicator with a 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock, and a 24-hour timezone at 9 o’clock. So does the new Classima.
The only difference from the rest of the pack is that the central date hand is made of 18 carat red gold, which is a nice touch, but doesn’t add much neither to the watch’s legibility nor its style.
Although definitely not a collector’s item, this watch may be a good sell if Baume et Mercier manages to keep its price below the €2000 mark*.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Here is a short video review of the watch (in French):
* UPDATE ON PRICING: OMG! They ask almost $5000 for the piece! While I can understand reasoning behind their pricing model (after all, it is the same ballpark for most “luxury” timekeepers equipped with this iteration of ETA 7750 + “full calendar” add-on module,) I would still recon that shops dealing with Baume et Mercier watches would have to put a good discount on this model to move it quickly. After all, a similarly styled Longines Master Chronograph with the same full calendar module would set you back at just $3300 USD and, for many customers, this brand has a lot more appeal than a lot less-advertised B&M that is still often regarded as an ambitious upstart that still lacks an easy to recognize design language of its own.
Photos: Baume et Mercier
Baume et Mercier Classima Executives XL Chronograph and Complete Calendar (ref. 8870) automatic watch specification
Price range: $4900 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber ETA Valjoux 7751, automatic, rotor decorated with Cotes de Geneve, blued steel screws, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, complete calendar (day of week, date, month, moonphase,) 24-hour second timezone (GMT)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.10 mm
Dial: Silver-colored, guilloche patterns
Hands: Stainless steel, dark-gray, day of month indicator in 18-carat red gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator strap, Adjustable triple folding buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective