Lake Geneva might be a little chillier than the French Riviera, but Baume & Mercier’s new Rivieras are pretty hot.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera is the very definition of a sleeper hit. First introduced in 1973 (predating the IWC Schaffhausen Ingenieur and Patek Philippe Nautilus), the Riviera is that very precious of things: an integrated bracelet luxury sports watch that a normal human being actually stands a chance of being able to own.
Its modern design is particularly handsome. Boasting a dodecagonal bezel with four exposed screws; a finely-finished, angular case; and a bevy of delightful dial patterns including sunbursts, wave patterns and even smoked sapphire numbers, it’s a handsome watch… And it’s just got better than ever.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Baume & Mercier has introduced two exciting new variants of the Riviera at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023 with two fan-favourite complications which expand the appeal of the already very appealing Riviera.
First of all, we’ve got the Riviera Azur 300, a dive watch take on the already fairly sporty watch. In place of the Riviera’s normal screwed-down bezel, the Azur features a unidirectional diving bezel with chunky knurled inserts. It’s also got larger dive-style hands and now has 300m of water resistance, compared to the standard Riviera’s 100m.
Despite this, it still utilises Baume’s great Baumatic manufacture calibre, which features a 5-day (120-hour) power reserve and beautiful finishing. As part of the Richemont group, Baume shares this movement with other brands including Panerai and IWC – but it’s a Baume movement, and it’s a cracker.
Available in blue or black, it comes with a matching rubber strap (although, of course, you can throw it on an integrated steel bracelet easily thanks to Baume’s quick change system) and smoky tinted sapphire dials which give you a glimpse of the movement that powers the Azur. In blue, it’s particularly handsome.
Also new in 2023 is the Riviera GMT which, as you may have guessed, is a GMT watch take on the Riviera. Again, not to compare the Riviera to the competition, but few luxury sports watches with integrated bracelets on the market feature dedicated GMT models.
Unlike the Azur, the Riviera GMT uses an ETA-based GMT movement, the 2893-2. This is by no means a bad thing, as that movement is a tried-and-tested workhorse that’s easy to service and a joy to use.
There’s a lot to love about the Riviera: an angular luxury sports watch with an integrated bracelet that boasts refinement way beyond its surprisingly modest price point, it ticks all the boxes for watch lovers. Adding GMT and dive watch variants to the range only serves to tick even more boxes.
Whilst at Watches & Wonders, the DMARGE team visited the Geneva boutique of a well-known purveyor of integrated bracelet sports watches (we won’t say who) and they told us that the wait list for one of their models was 18 years. That’s just silly. Why wait that long when you can get a Baume & Mercier Riviera right now – for a fraction of the price?
Screw the competition. The Riviera is good enough to be enjoyed on its own merits… Especially thanks to the new Riviera Azur 300 and Riviera GMT.
Find out more about the Baume & Mercier Riviera collection at their online boutique here.