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Baume & Mercier - A closer look at the technology behind the Baumatic

Baume & Mercier A closer look at the technology behind the Baumatic

We take a detailed look at the technology behind the Baumatic movement.

It was one of the highlights from the SIHH earlier this year. The Baumatic movement presented by Baume & Mercier sets new standards for mechanical movements in the accessible luxury price segment with five-days of power reserve, chronometer-level accuracy and prices below 3,000 Swiss francs. 

But how did they do it? The logic behind it is quite straightforward, as is the development process. ValFleurier, Richemont’s movement division, was tasked with the movement conception and the Richemont group’s in-house research and development team were responsible for developing new materials and processes. The most difficult part arguably fell to Baume & Mercier, which had to design this new collection to cost. 

In doing so Baume & Mercier took a customer-centric approach. That may sound self-evident, but consider the activities of other brands. For example, Daniel Braillard, the brand’s COO, stressed that the objective was “not to break records”.

25 times greater magnetic resistance 

Baume & Mercier therefore took a practical approach to anti-magnetism. The Baumatic movement can resist magnetic fields of at least 1,500 Gauss, which is 25 times more than the requirements of the ISO 764 standard for anti-magnetism (resistance to a magnetic field of 60 Gauss while keeping a precision of +/- 30 seconds per day). The simple solution was to use non-magnetic components for the key sensitive components, the escapement and regulating organ (including the mainspring). The balance spring specifically is made using a new technology called TWINSPIRTM, which involves superimposing two silicon cores at an angle of 45 degrees to each other and binding them by a layer of silicon dioxide, which offers greater magnetic resistance. How? Because the configuration of the two crystal lattices reduces the impact of a phenomenon called anisotropic elasticity compared with single-crystal silicon. 

A closer look at the technology behind the Baumatic

© Baume & Mercier

Five days power reserve

One of the main benchmarks for measuring power reserve seems to be the ability to take your watch off on a Friday night after leaving work and put it on again the following Monday morning without needing to wind it up or adjust the time. I don’t know many people who change their watch just for the weekend, rather than, say, every day, but if it’s encouraging people in the industry to innovate them I’m not complaining. In Baume & Mercier’s case, a series of incremental improvements have led to a huge increase in power reserve. Using a new type of barrel coupled with a Nivaflex Plus mainspring increased the power reserve by an extra 30 hours over a standard baseline of 42 hours to reach 72 hours. The new TWINSPIRTM balance spring adds another 25 hours of autonomy and the new POWERSCAPETMescapement in silicon adds a further 33 hours. If you’ve been totting that up as you read, you will have noticed that the total is 130 hours, ten hours more than the 120 hours (five days) advertised by Baume & Mercier but a figure that the brand has achieved in numerous practical tests. More importantly, the brand has observed that the movement’s precision over the entire duration of this five-day power reserve is much better than that suggested by the theoretical calculations.

A closer look at the technology behind the Baumatic

© Baume & Mercier

Chronometer-grade precision

Thanks to the TWINSPIRTM technology and a new balance wheel with variable inertia, the Baumatic calibre is able to offer chronometer-level precision in different positions (measured in three positions for the standard calibre and five for the COSC-certified version). This guarantees a precision of between -4 and +6 seconds per day for all Baumatic movements, which is the level required for COSC chronometer certification. Furthermore, The use of two new lubricants in the movement also helps to improve precision and keep servicing intervals high. Baume & Mercier recommend a service interval of 5-7 years for the Baumatic calibre but their longer-term objective is to extend it up to 10 years. 

All this technological innovation comes at a price that defies the competition: The stainless-steel models with leather strap cost 2,650 Swiss francs, with the stainless-steel bracelet this goes up to 2,800 Swiss francs. The COSC certified model is available for a premium of just 200 Swiss francs and the two-tone steel and gold model costs 3,350 Swiss francs. 

A closer look at the technology behind the Baumatic

© Baume & Mercier

The brand

The Baume & Mercier watchmaking Maison has always had powerful emotional and celebratory connotations, while expressing watchmaking excellence in all its creations. Since 1830, it has embodied a family history in which a passion for detail and a quest for excellence convey a firm commitment: to perpetuate its heritage while being an essential partner of memorable moments. For Baume & Mercier, time is far more than just a sequence of seconds,...

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