Here we have the Baume & Mercier Clifton Retrograde Date, new for 2014. The watch shares the characteristic elegance of the Clifton collection, including its well proportioned dial and graceful case lines. This watch is distinguished by its retrograde date function, as well as a day of week subdial and power reserve. I think one of these indicators, however, is wholly unnecessary. Read on below for more analysis.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Retrograde Date
43mm steel case (12.05mm thick), automatic mechanical Soprod 9094 caliber
Those of you unfamiliar with the term “retrograde” should not be intimidated — it simply refers to any function that instantly jumps back to its starting position once it runs its course (rather than running 360° continuously). In this case you can see the arcing date scale on the right side of the dial — the blue hand will advance one day at a time until it reaches the end of the month, advancing almost 180° whereupon it will quickly snap back to the beginning so as to start the new month.
Now, I would be remiss in not pointing out up front that his watch has already been done before by Baume & Mercier, several years ago, it was called the Classima Executive. In fact it has been by many other brand as well (Cimier, Louis Erard, Ebel) — this is merely a function of caliber choice, the Soprod 9094. Certainly this design looks as good as ever as a “Clifton”, though all of these automatic watches have one feature which I disapprove of: a a power reserve indicator.
I really see no reason whatsoever for the power reserve indicator. This is a general design principle that I apply to an assessment of any watch, and indeed I’ve made similar comments about other watches in the past. For a watch with an automatic movement, I think a power reserve indicator is superfluous. And to add insult to injury the word ‘AUTOMATIC’ sits distinctly above the power reserve meter. It seems pointless to me, and I think any watch with an automatic movement would look better without it such and indicator on the dial.
As is standard for the Clifton range, the movement is visible through a sapphire display back, with a modest level of finish.
These things said, part of me still sees that the new Retrograde Date is a respectable addition to the Baume & Mercier Clifton. Price is $5,700, making it the most complicated and pricey piece in the collection (aside from the limited edition tourbillon).