Monday, April 27, 2020

Best in Show at Watches & Wonders -

Goes to Baume & Mercier's Hampton Automatic Big Date / Dual Time -
Courtesy of Baume & Mercier
Watches & Wonders often rapidly devolves into a popularity contest.  Sure Panerai, Vacheron and Jeager are cool and exciting, but for me the real star of this year's presentations was a new take on the Hampton from Baume & Mercier.

Baume & Mercier had been in the wilderness for awhile.  But with the previously released Baumatic, and now the new self-winding Hamptons, I think there is a real opportunity for Baume & Mercier to step out of the shadows of it's more popular, flashy brothers and sisters and to finally be appreciated for what it is.  
Courtesy of Baume & Mercie
I love the shape, I love the size, and as I am now in the beginning chapters of my second half century I love the realistic legibility of the dial and its various functions.  Yes, I do love little details like GMTs and dates, but they inevitably are writ small on most dials or require a certain amount of patience that I, frankly don't always posses.  And as my optometrist will tell you, my vision is not exactly 20/20.  The big date is extremely welcome, and the day/night indicator on the dual time register is a wonderful piece of whimsy that will also ensure you don't inadvertently jack-up the date changing mechanism should you need to re-set the watch after not wearing it for awhile.

And while I was once in my 30s, and I weighed less, and was not quite so grey on the sides, I hold no fantasies about getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, diving for sunken treasure, or punching out a Nazi on Omaha Beach.  I want a watch that speaks to me, not to some goofy vision of what the marketing department tells me I am.  

And ultimately, what we like and don't like should be, somehow, personal, right?  If I were invited to Geneva for the big show, and given a blank check?  This is the one I'd put my marker on.

Here are the pertinents -

 M0A10523
  Automatic (Soprod TT651)
  Bridge with circular-grained decor
  Sandblasted plate with snailed decor
  Oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes de      
          Genève” and snailed decors
  Power reserve: 42 hours
  Jewels: 21
  Frequency: 4Hz (28’800 vph)
  Thickness: 5.25 mm
  H/M/S, grande date, second fuseau,  
          indicateur jour-nuit
  Rectangular
  Size: 48 x 31 mm
  Thickness: 10.8 mm
  Polished stainless steel
  Scratch-resistant curved sapphire crystal 
  Open case back secured with 4 screws*
  Opaline and grained silver-colored
  Riveted black ruthenium Arabic numerals   
          and indexes 
  Black ruthenium sword-shaped hands
  Black and grey minute-track
  Interchangeable black all square scales  
          alligator with grey stitching
  System of bars with very reliable lug that   
          allows to change the strap without tools
  Triple folding clasp with security push- 
  5 ATM (approx. 50m)

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