Baume & Mercier is something of a black horse brand to most collectors, often hitting well above its weight in the quality and design. Just as frequently, however, some of those impressive offerings fly beneath the radar. That has unfortunately been the case in the past couple of years using the newest staple Hampton apparel watch series, but as a portion of its Watches and Watches 2020 release collection, Baume & Mercier has contributed this classic set a breath of fresh air with a new compact case layout in two distinct sizes, along with a surprising array of available complications. The consequent Baume & Mercier Hampton Automatic, Baume & Mercier Hampton Small Seconds, and Baume & Mercier Hampton Big Date feel a lot more modern than their forebears for a variety of reasons.
The largest change for all these new Baume & Mercier versions is that the revised stainless steel case design. Throughout its history, the Hampton series was defined by its rectangular Art Deco-style layouts, together with previous interpretations which range from minimal to baroque. This 2020 refresh sees the watch shoot on a thinner, cleaner profile, with highly polished case sides and lugs that incline dramatically away from the dial. The lugs themselves are now sharply beveled in their hints, taking away some of their vertical squareness of the total contour in favor of a more milder and more modern silhouette. An added modern touch is the circular screen window on the caseback, showcasing the decorated motions within. It’s an approach that now feels firmly rooted in the present, as well as the early 20th century. This new case design is introduced in two distinct dimensions, a 43mm by 27.5mm size for your Hampton Automatic, while the complicated Hampton Small Seconds and Hampton Big Date are sized at 48mm by 31mm.
The dials of the new Hampton models still offer you a look heavily influenced by the Art Deco styles of yesteryear, revealing inspiration from other legendary rectangular dial layouts. At first glance, the design is dominated by the mix of large applied numerals and stick indices, the outer railroad minutes trail, along with the textured outer dial surface. From here, each version takes the formulation in a new way, together with the Hampton Automatic focused on preserving the simple balanced beauty of the dial design. The Hampton Small Seconds, on the other hand, adds some helpful functionality in the kind of a 6 o’clock date in addition to the classical bit of the small seconds. Last, the flagship Hampton Big Date goes for broke with a surprisingly diverse mixture of complications, including a big date at 12 o’clock, a 6 o’clock dual-time subdial, along with a day/night index. Impressively, nevertheless, these additions in addition to the basic three-hand arrangement do little to disturb the visual weight distribution of the dial for a balanced and refined presentation.
Each of the three new Baume & Mercier Hampton models uses a distinct automatic movement. For the 3 hand Hampton Automatic, the newest employs the somewhat uncommon ETA 2671 automatic movement, probably because of the smaller overall diameter which the more ubiquitous 2892 series. In addition to circular graining on the bridges and a customized rotor adorned with Côtes de Genève, this movement offers 38 hours of power reserve. The Hampton Small Seconds does use an ETA 2892 derivative, namely the ETA 2895, using comparable decoration during and a 42 hour book. For the more complicated Hampton Big Date, Baume & Mercier eschews an ETA base in favor of the Soprod TT651 automatic movement. Besides its rather distinctive complement of complications, this movement also offers a 42-hour power reserve.
Each of 3 new versions of the Baume & Mercier Hampton are paired with a black alligator leather strap for a timeless and fine combination. Interestingly, however, these straps are fitted with tool-free quick release spring bars, allowing for simple strap experimentation for owners.
Together with the new redesigned Hampton models, Baume & Mercier has produced a lineup that feels equal components elegant and modern with a level of completing that feels appropriately impressive. To learn more, please see the brand’s website.