A Classic... 40 Years On
By Baume and Mercier
Back in a time when pretty much 'anything goes' was the norm, Baume and Mercier put their head over the proverbial parapet and decided to liven things up. In a world of round watch cases, save a few, Baume and Mercier created a twelve sided watch case that well and truly stood out from the crowd. The dodecagonal inspired Riviera was born.
Taking it's name from one of the wealthiest stretches of land on Earth, known for it's laid back devil may care attitude to lifestyle, luxury and spending the Riviera was embraced by societies' elite.
Aiming to be different, the Riviera would blur the lines between smart, casual, sport and dress. Equally at home on a super yacht or sail boat, a street cafe or cocktail bar, the beach or the golf course - the Riviera didn't mind, it would adapt and seamlessly suit any occasion.
The 5th generation 2021 Riviera range brings back the brave concept of an angular case and a twelve sided bezel - hinting at one side per hour. The bezel is a satin brushed steel highlighted at the outer edge with a polished corner held in place by four screws. The case itself is brushed, the angles are slightly softened which accentuates a more modern and sporting feel. A subtle and gentle radius blends into the down turned lugs - which enables a more comfortable presence on the wrist and allows a smoother transition into the bracelet.
The core range are powered by a solid workhorse in the form of the Swiss Made Sellita SW200 decorated automatic movement, while the two flagship models are running the in-house Baumatic BM13-1975A which boasts a 5 day power reserve and even more perlage and snailing detail visible through the sapphire display case back. The women's range are available with the above mentioned Sellita or a Ronda quartz option.
The new Riviera comes in a respectable 42mm case for the men's core range and 36mm for women, with the Baumatic models gaining extra heft at 43mm.
The dial for the new Riviera is a wonderful concept which offers an interlocking chevron style relief - representing the waves of the ocean meeting with the mountains - set over a sunburst satin colour: black, blue or silver (with a rumoured green to follow) for men, with a stunning turquoise replacing the blue for the women.
All models feature a date aperture at 3 o'clock with luminova filled indices applied throughout except at 12 & 6 o'clock where Baume and Mercier have used Roman numerals which brings in a classic feel to the watch that suits all occasions.
Looking towards the Baumatic models, we are treated to a innovative take on the skeleton dial, the chevron relief still features, but the dial is somewhat transparent, thus allowing the wearer to see the inner workings of the great movement within. This option is available in a deep blue with steel case or smokey grey set within an ADLC black case featuring a black rubber strap.
The angular theme is taken across to the signed winding crown which is now octagonal featuring a recess around it's circumference, which on the Baumatic models has the dial colour accented inside.
All the models feature easily interchangeable - no tools required - bracelets or super comfortable rubber strap options in a variety of colours. However, it is the bracelet that really seems to benefit the Riviera. Every brand has tried to create their own style of bracelet, some successfully, some not so much, but Baume and Mercier have managed to design something here that is near perfection. With it's integrated three piece link system, brushed, tapering and subtly angled, the Riviera is lifted higher than other brands to offer the complete package.
Although a collection of chronographs are set to follow suit later in the year, Baume and Mercier have opted to relaunch the Riviera with the classic time and date models first.