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INTRODUCING: Baume & Mercier’s Special Editions for the Riviera’s 50th anniversary

The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar limited edition.

Two limited-edition models channel the sports-chic style of the iconic Riviera family, combining its 50-year heritage with a modern approach to design.

Although the 1970s were quite a challenging time for watchmaking, this era brought forth the creation of a most well-loved category in the history of timekeeping devices: the luxury sports watch. Gérald Genta kickstarted this trend when he put pen to paper (reportedly over the course of just a day before BaselWorld) to create Audemars Piguet’s legendary Royal Oak in 1972. This opened the creative floodgates with other watchmakers coming up with their own versions of the luxury sports watch in the following years. 

Jean-Claude Gueit, designer of Baume & Mercier's Riviera watch in 1973.
Jean-Claude Gueit, designer of Baume & Mercier's Riviera watch in 1973.

It was one of Genta’s contemporaries, Jean-Claude Gueit, who waved the magic wand of watchmaking over Baume & Mercier to create the Riviera in 1973. Featuring an unexpected yet immediately well-loved dodecagonal shape, the Maison’s luxury steel sports watch was named after the evocative nature of the French Riviera, channelling its elegant, quiet luxury.

Early models of the Baume & Mercier Riviera from 1975 to 1993, including a complete calendar.
Early models of the Baume & Mercier Riviera from 1975 to 1993, including a complete calendar.

In the last two years, several new versions have appeared (three-handed, diving, chronograph, moonphases, GMT), available in several sizes (33mm to 43mm in diameter) to adapt to every style without ever losing its own identity. To fete the 50th anniversary of the Riviera this year, Baume & Mercier is celebrating this iconic sports-chic family with two stunning models.

The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.

The Baumatic Riviera Perpetual Calendar

A major addition to the Riviera collection, the Baumatic Riviera Perpetual Calendar echoes a historical model from 1985 that featured a complete calendar indicating the dates, days, months, and moon phases. Its gold hue with a vertical satin finish and the diamond-ground line surrounding each counter emphasise the dial’s functions, while vintage accents make an immediate connection between the past and present. 

The front and caseback of the Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.
The front and caseback of the Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.

In a steel case with a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of just 11.8mm, this watch is equipped with a Baumatic manufacture movement with a Dubois-Dépraz module featuring a five-day power reserve. The Calibre BM13-1975 AC2 boasts the most exemplary watchmaking finishes. There are circular-grained bridges, a sand-blasted and snailed baseplate, and a gold-plated oscillating weight that perfectly coordinates with the colour of the dial, adorned with Côtes de Genève, snailed decorations, and the brand’s engraving.

The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic Perpetual Calendar.

Atop a gilded sun-brushed dial, open-worked rhodium-plated hour and minute hands and a blued steel seconds hand with a Phi logo on the counterweight glide over rhodium-plated indexes. Accompanying the three sub-dials is an arresting moonphase display at 6 o’clock, with a bright blue disc indicating the waxing and waning of the moon. The watch is completed by an integrated triple-link steel bracelet and is limited to just 50 numbered editions worldwide.  

The Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The Riviera 50th Anniversary Special Edition 

In a larger run of 273 pieces but with a less complicated movement is the Riviera 50th Anniversary Special Edition. What it lacks in a fancy calibre is more than made up for in aesthetics – the detail on the dial, for example, and the finishing on the Baumatic BM13-1975A automatic movement. Carrying all the iconic elements of the Riviera, this special edition also comes with discreet elements such as the (not so) secret 1973 signature on the smoked blue sapphire dial, the Maison’s emblematic Phi logo on the counterweight of the seconds hand – similar to the perpetual calendar model - and a blue ring in the case middle

The Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The distinctive dial with its transparent wave-themed motif is complemented perfectly by rhodium hands that point to Super-LumiNova-bathed indexes, which stand out beautifully against the dark blue backdrop. The combination of Roman numerals and hour markers is simultaneously modern and retro, and the position of the enlarged date aperture at 3 o’clock makes for a legible, clean layout.  

The engraving on the caseback of the Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The engraving on the caseback of the Baume & Mercier Riviera 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The automatic movement that powers the Riviera 10749 operates at a frequency of 4Hz (28,800vph) while giving out an impressive power reserve of approximately five days, or 120 hours. While the open case back shows the movement, much of it cannot be seen – unfortunate, considering how beautifully decorated everything is. The dial and movement snugly fit within a 42.1mm sized version of the Riviera’s signature dodecagonal steel case and is finished off with the same link bracelet used in the perpetual calendar model. It is water-resistant to 10ATM (about 100m), which makes it ideal for leisurely weekend sporting activities. A great candidate as your new daily-wear watch, we’d say.  

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