The entry-level brand has recently updated its Hampton collection of rectangular timepieces. Among the new set of models is the hand-wound Baume & Mercier Hampton Small Seconds (ref. MOA10033 aka 10033). It is presented in a slim rose gold body that measures less than eleven millimeters from nicely curved top to flat bottom.
Inspired by the legendary Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso series (and probably slightly influenced by the beautiful Hermes Cape Cod collection of luxury timepieces,) the refreshed Baume & Mercier Hampton series is presented in all possible variations, including all sorts of chronographs.
While most models in the series are powered by standard automatic ETA calibers, the gorgeous Baume & Mercier Hampton Small Seconds in rose gold is animated by a slim La Joux-Perret caliber 736-3 hand-wound movement.
Based on the well-known ETA/Unitas 6498 ebauche, the movement is adapted to fit into rectangular and tonneau-shaped cases and is nicely decorated with finely executed Geneva stripes, as well as a number of screws with blued heads.
The timekeeper’s rose gold body looks smart and sophisticated, but not overloaded with unnecessary details. Its surfaces are finely polished while its profile makes the watch look even thinner than it actually is.
According to official specifications, the body is only 10.65 millimeters thick, which makes it, um, thin for a timekeeper, which is 30 mm wide and 45 mm long.
Although stepping just for a second into their shoes, I would equip the timekeeper with a silver or a white gold dial (or perhaps would even employ a milky Grand Feu enamel,) the guys from Baume & Mercier decided to use the same rose gold alloy as was used to craft the Hampton Small Seconds’ body and hands.
As a result, the watch looks even more expensive, but its legibility certainly takes a plunge since the hands do not look particularly contrast on the same-colored background of the dial.
Judging by the press photos, the small seconds hand that is located at 6 hours is not visible at all. Or, at least, you will have to strain your eyes to get its reading.
Well, a great number of people regard the small seconds display as a purely decorative element, but I actually use the indicator on a daily basis (especially in my sports watches,) so a good contrast here is always a must.
While the dial features five Roman numerals at 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 o’clock, there are also six more hour markers that look like tiny knobs. Although the indexes don’t ruin the design, to my taste, they are not particularly relevant to the composition (the watch is all about rectangles, why place the round things on the dial?)
Well, if these minor nuisances do not bother you, you may consider getting yourself this beautiful watch: it is dressy, it is elegant, and it is hand-wound: not a common combination in this niche.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
See also: Hermes Cape Cod Grandes Heures Automatic
Photos: Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier Hampton Small Seconds specification
Price: $15,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, La Joux-Perret caliber 736-3, based on ETA/Unitas 6498 ebauche, 21 jewels, 21,600 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, blued screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Rose gold
Dimensions: 30.00 mm x 45.00 mm
Case height: 10.65 mm
Dial: Gold, sunburst finish
Hour markers: Six applied rose gold dots and black painted strokes on the chapter ring
Hands: Swords-shaped, rose gold, polished
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap with rose gold pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, curved, antireflective