Unlike many of its fellow exhibitors inside the Palexpo, Baume & Mercier makes no claims to be a manufacture. Given the brand’s price point, it would be a folly to suggest this or aspire to this. Nevertheless, Baume & Mercier now has its own movement, the Baumatic, which has been developed by Richemont’s ValFleurier movement production facility in accordance with the brand’s specifications. And what a set of specifications: silicon hairspring, magnetic resistance to 1500 Gauss, chronometer-level performance and a power reserve of 120 hours. All for a price of 2,450 Swiss francs that would take some beating at Baselworld, never mind the rarefied atmosphere inside the halls of Palexpo. Oliver Müller brings you the full story tomorrow.
The tachymeter is stainless steel with number engravings on a fixed bezel with one of the number engravings being “184,” the rate where Burt Munro broke the land speed record. Moving inwards, the dial is sandblasted in a silverish-white color to mimic the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and also the amount indices are black rhodium plated. The feel of the pre-production piece was solid, from its own buckle, straps, instance, and finish. I really liked the theme of this watch and the best thing about it was that it looked classic. Adding to this aesthetic warmth and depth to the overall appearance, Indian Motorcycle’s famous vermilion red is splashed and tanned on the chronograph hand, sub-dial palms, and USA-sourced leather strap with a pin buckle. The subtle “Phi” stamping of the base strap, near the lugs, is really a nice touch without yelling “It’s a Baume et Mercier watch.” Another great touch is the chronograph hand counterweight, that is the Indian Motorcycle’s “I.” Finally, the caseback, although nonetheless not an exhibition caseback, is inscribed with the Indian Motorcycle’s headdress emblem with all the limited edition number engraving, one from 1967.
Clifton Baumatic © Baume & Mercier
Fourteen years after the Double Split, A. Lange & Söhne spoils us with the Triple Split. The former was the world’s first split-seconds chronograph that could record comparative measurements with an aggregate duration of 30 minutes; the latter, quite logically, pushes the boundary further and is the only split-seconds chronograph in the world that can measure additive and comparative times for elapsed times of up to 12 hours. Find out more about this technical marvel in my article on Wednesday.
Triple Split © A. Lange & Söhne
Since the Ferdinand Berthoud brand was launched barely two years ago under the leadership of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele its development has been staggering. Its FB1 chronometer, which is now in its fourth iteration in less than two years, scooped the most coveted prize in watchmaking at the GPHG in 2016. The new FB 1R.6-1 will certainly be among the contenders for this year’s awards, too. Its name might not trip off the tongue, but like its predecessor this new regulator version houses the same highly-complicated fusée and chain constant-force mechanism and conical power reserve function. The aesthetics may not be to everyone’s taste (but there is a mini trend for excessively uncluttered dials among the upper echelons of the industry, with Greubel Forsey’s Nano Foudroyante going down a similar route) but with only 20 models available demand will undoubtedly exceed supply. Oliver Müller brings us all the details on Friday.
FB1R.6-1 © Ferdinand Berthoud
This is, of course, just a bite-sized appetiser ahead of a veritable feast of watchmaking this week. As usual, we will be updating the site regularly throughout the day during the SIHH and posting wristshots and behind-the-scenes coverage on our social media accounts. If you don’t want to miss the news make sure you sign up for our newsletter, which will summarise all our new articles every evening.