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Baume & Mercier - Riviera Baumatic: Two New Moon Phases

Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic: Two New Moon Phases

The Riviera collection, which was born 50 years ago but rose to stardom in the 80s, staged a comeback two years ago, and is gradually expanding into complications. Today, we look at a moon phase and a date hand

Next year the Baume & Mercier Riviera turns 50! Launched in 1973, the Riviera, like many watches of its time, rode the sport-chic wave triggered by Gérald Genta the previous year, 1972, when the Royal Oak was launched. That’s no disrespect to the Riviera – back then, the entire watch industry was scrambling onto the bandwagon. And it still is today. When Jean-Claude Biver relaunched Hublot with what was to become the Big Bang, he didn’t for a moment try to deny the inspiration of Audemars Piguet.

A forgotten master

What is a little surprising is that while the Riviera is back on the radar, its designer isn’t. The fact that the model dominated the last 20 years of the 20th century was down to the genius of one man: Jean-Claude Gueit. Less well-known than Gérald Genta and happier out of the limelight, he nevertheless worked for Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Concord, Corum, Girard-Perregaux, Omega, Vacheron Constantin, Harry Winston and Hermès. His son, Emmanuel Gueit, designed the Royal Oak Offshore as well as the new Cellini for Rolex.

Riviera Baumatic : nouveaux modèles à phases de Lune

Riviera Baumatic © Baume & Mercier

All this just goes to make the point that the Riviera is an authentic designer creation that nevertheless does borrow some features from its muse. The most obvious are the angular bezel with its exposed screws, and the integrated bracelet. In other words – the exterior. But the rest – dial and movement – are all Baume & Mercier, and form an integral part of the approach that has driven the brand since the Riviera reappeared in the current collection, in 2020. 

A Prestigious movement

Let us begin with the movement, for once. Why? Because it’s the famous Baumatic movement, produced exclusively for Baume & Mercier, and originally launched by Alain Zimmermann.

It’s probably one of the best-performing calibres currently available in its price range. It operates at the high-beat frequency of 4 Hz, provides a power reserve of five days, and is resistant to most magnetic fields up to 1500 Gauss. What’s more, the Baumatic guarantees a precision of -4 to +6 seconds per day, which places it within the range of COSC certification. Indeed, the first few iterations were chronometer certified. At this price range and with this kind of performance, the Baumatic movement is unequalled on the market.

Riviera Baumatic : nouveaux modèles à phases de Lune

Riviera Baumatic © Baume & Mercier

A generous diameter

Today, it’s thanks to this movement that the Riviera collection is able to incorporate some new complications: a date hand and a moon phase, displayed together in a single dedicated register at 6 o’clock. These complications have never been seen in the range before. Among the many references that exist – 28 to date – almost all are three hands with date, plus one discreet chronograph.

Up to now the Riviera has been available in four sizes: 33, 35, 42 mm and the not so very different 43 mm. For the new date and moon phase references, it’s this last diameter, 43 mm, that has been selected. The choice points to an assumption that the clients for the new model will be almost exclusively men. This might be disappointing to some, but it’s true that the 43 mm diameter opens up the dial beautifully, offering plenty of space to appreciate the moon phase display.

Riviera Baumatic : nouveaux modèles à phases de Lune

Riviera Baumatic © Baume & Mercier

A minimalist approach

Baume & Mercier has taken a very understated approach to showcase the elegance of the watch: sunbrushed dial, three luminescent applied markers and a slender date hand. The brand has chosen not to use the wave-textured dial present on almost every other model, which is a good thing. Here, less is most definitely more. The understated dial merely adds to the charm and elegance of the watch.

One version is available in modern, urbane monochromatic grey, while the second has a livelier blue dial. The fact that the integral steel bracelet is interchangeable is a welcome feature, because the watch is also available with a textured rubber strap. It would have been nice for the watch to ship with both, but the strap can still be bought separately.


Lecture 1 Comment(s)

15 December 2022
Gibbs Bernard
Wonderful looking watch.

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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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