Like most blues songs that use the omnipresent 12-bar chord progression can be either extremely boring or delightfully original, so can be thousands of wristwatches that feature the classic combo of the complete calendar and moon phase displays. Although the new Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar & Moonphase (refs. MOA10055 & MOA10316) that was presented back in January at the 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 adding some nice styling for the flavor.
The applied Arabic numerals, for example, use well-chosen, nicely balanced typeface (I think, it is the same font that they used for another member of the family: the beautiful hand-wound Clifton 1830 (ref. MOA10060 aka 10060)), 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 moon-phase display, the usual culprit when it comes to ruining an otherwise brilliant design, looks extremely refined: even after closer 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 -mainly due to lack of particularly elaborated finish that one can rightfully expect from a timepiece that costs around $4000 USD-, but, being offered as a relatively inexpensive dress watch that also happens to possess a set of complications that often comes at a lot higher cost, 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 in order to be as discreet as possible. Still, given the current fad for oversized watches and taking into account its great exterior styling, I would still say that this new member of the Clifton collection is one of the most elegant “affordable” watches that I have seen this year.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar & Moonphase specification
Price: $3700 – $4800
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 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 the week, month, moon-phase
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 12.25 mm
Dial: Silver / Blue
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with steel triple folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective