When Alain Zimmermann arrived as CEO at Baume & Mercier in 2009, his objective was to convey “true balance in all things”, with reference to the Greek letter “Phi” – the logo of the House that symbolizes the golden ratio for artistic harmony and proportion. He also aimed to pursue “unfailing attachment to make luxury watchmaking accessible”.
Six years later, both promises are fulfilled as the Swiss luxury watchmaker introduces its latest and final limited series timepiece in celebration of the company’s 185th anniversary: the Baume & Mercier Clifton 1830 Five-minute Repeater Pocket Watch. Presented at Watches & Wonders 2015, this elegant pocket watch is a reinterpretation of historic timepieces created by the company founded in 1830. Quite the opposite to the Time Instrumet from Roger Dubuis, presented that same week.
So how does it feel? Its 50 mm 18K red gold polished satin-finish round case with crown at 12 o’clock fits smoothly into the palm of your hand. Visually, the object is simply beautiful: the case surrounds an opaline silver-colored dome-shaped dial with clean Arabic numerals characteristic of the Clifton collection, stylized hour and minute hands and riveted markers in 18K red gold. A black lambskin leather strap at the top adorned with an 18K red gold button and ring completes the modern look of this exceptional timepiece.
It is the back of the case that reveals the influence of 19th century pocket watches with a stunning skeleton manufacture movement designed by Baume & Mercier. Customized bridges and plates, unique end finishes, circular graining on the plate, bridges with circular “Côtes de Genève” décor and blue steel screws are all visible though the sapphire-crystal case-back. The hand-wound movement, with a five-minute repeater module developed exclusively for Baume & Mercier by Dubois Dépras, runs at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz) and has a power reserve of 46 hours.
A pleasure for our eyes and hands, this watch is also meant to be heard, and this is where the trigger with safety mechanism comes into action. When the trigger between 4 and 5 o’clock is activated, a resonant chime sounds a low note on the hour, followed by a pair of low and high tones for each elapsed period of five minutes. More than just a chime on demand, the Clifton 1830 Five-minute Repeater Pocket Watch rings out a distinctive melody with the passing of time.
The timepiece comes with a small leather pouch for protection, and as a final treat, customers are offered an ultra-light JMC Lutherie resonance tray for even further listening enjoyment. This elegant and timeless 18K red gold Baume & Mercier Clifton 1830 Five Minute Repeater Pocket Watch, in a limited series of 30 numbered timepieces, has a retail price of CHF 45,000 Swiss francs.