Revisiting the Golden FiftiesSIHH 2013: Baume & Mercier Clifton - urban times
Blending tradition with modernity, Baume & Mercier presents Clifton, a new line of men’s watches inspired by the models that had their heyday in the “Golden Fifties”. This decade is considered the golden age for wristwatches and is marked by the creation of elegantly designed timepieces.
A legacy of this era, the Clifton line is both urban and classic, from its clean lines right down to its finishes. Powered by Swiss-made, mechanical movements of acclaimed quality, this new collection embodies Baume & Mercier’s 182 years of watchmaking expertise. It was created specifically for a male clientele wishing to purchase a timepiece to accompany them through every moment of their lives, transcending both personal and professional spheres.
Clifton: making every day a part of history
The Clifton collection, the Maison’s newest addition, represents a milestone in Baume & Mercier history. It showcases the very quest for excellence that shaped the destiny of this company, founded back in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin Baume in the heart of the Swiss Jura Mountains. This new line embodies the visionary spirit of its founders whose motto has always been, “accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality.”
Yet the Clifton collection also displays the dynamism brought by Paul Mercier in 1918. This shrewd businessman and esthete laid the foundations for a business philosophy that was open to the world. He also contributed to bringing Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship to a wider audience. These values, in line with the expectations of the public, have given life to the Clifton watches, timepieces whose forms take inspiration from successful Baume & Mercier models from the 1950s. Their position in the watchmaking world renders these pieces true icons of accessible luxury; these watches have the added advantage of being available at more moderate prices, placing them within the reach of a wider clientele. Appealing to those who wish to combine the art of living with elegance, the design of this new collection was purposefully inspired by models from the Baume & Mercier Museum's collection and revisited to fulfill contemporary directions, both in terms of size as well as functionality.
Clifton: striking the perfect balance between classicism and modernity
Baume & Mercier sought inspiration for its notion of balance and harmony from ancient times. This concept evoked by the Greek symbol “phi” (the Golden Ratio), which has adorned every creation for decades, is found in every detail of the Clifton models; from the case through to the dial, right down to the lines of the hands. On the strength of its past and its 183-year history, Baume & Mercier has made quality a core value which presents itself in all aspect of daily life. This is why the Maison has chosen to equip all Clifton watches with high-quality, Swiss-made mechanical movements that are hand-wound by qualified watchmakers in the Manufacture in Les Brenets.
Urban and timeless style
Baume & Mercier has benefitted from its Swiss culture, as well as all of the other countries it has come to work with since 19th century, such as London, Sydney and Philadelphia, and turned it into a powerful asset. The Maison has given life to a fluid style that expertly blends elegance with timelessness. This strength, so integral to the Clifton collection and evocative of 1950’s New York, can be seen in the clean lines of the cases crafted in gold or steel, as well as in the unique and bold approach to time displays.
The unique becomes accessible
Baume & Mercier gave life to the Clifton line, whose ambition is to manifest all the force of an era and the dynamics of major international cities. Thus, at the heart of this collection is the idea that a fine watch should have a movement that perfectly corresponds to its esthetics.
These Clifton timepieces, whose charisma and overall balance find their ideal expression in urban landscapes, display the hour, minutes and seconds thanks to a small seconds hand and a date display in an aperture. Adorned with a steel case measuring 41 mm in diameter, these watches are proposed on an alligator strap or metal bracelet.
The 18K red gold versions are, in turn, offered with a 39 mm diameter. They, too, are driven by an automatic mechanical caliber and their dials feature a date aperture and a seconds display using a central second hand. These timepieces are mounted upon an alligator strap, bringing sophistication and refinement to the wrist.
As a member of this new family with such a bright future, which so expertly meets the needs of urban living at the beginning of this third millennium, fine watchmaking enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the 43 mm steel version driven by an automatic caliber and endowed with a Complete Calendar complication (day, date, month and moon phase).
Clifton 1830: the luxury of pure design
Indeed, purists will be particularly drawn to the Clifton 1830 model, which could be considered the cornerstone of the collection. This watch in 18K red gold, measuring 42 mm in diameter, and traditionally worn upon an alligator strap, houses a caliber of La Joux-Perret manufacture which is manually-wound and is said to be the most accurate interpretation of the historical model from the Baume & Mercier Museum. This museum piece, as the archetypical urban timepiece, served as a go-to reference for this new watchmaking collection.