The integrated bracelet sports watch category has been one of the hottest market segments in watchmaking for the past several years, and 2021 has seen the trend accelerate its spread into more affordable sectors of the market. Although its current revival is the latest example of this expanding segment, the Baume & Mercier Riviera is a line with a deep heritage at the brand, dating back originally to 1973. The original Riviera, launched just one year after the genre-defining Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, was a trailblazer at the founding of this style, and the brand’s 2021 revival looks to capture some of that early ‘70s spirit in a wide array of dial and movement options. With an on-trend sporting look, diverse customization options, and a solidly competitive price point, the new Baume & Mercier Riviera series stands as a bold new contender in this popular corner of the watch market.
The 42mm stainless steel case of the Baume & Mercier Riviera line takes a slightly softer, more rounded approach to classic integrated sports watch cues, with a smooth transition into the downturned integrated lugs and curving integrated center links. Like the 1973 original, the new Riviera series sports a 12-sided bezel with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, accented here by four hex screws. The crown carries over this angular motif with an eight sided shape, although this stylized form may potentially affect grip. For buyers of the in-house Baumatic movement equipped variants, the Riviera can also be had with a black DLC finish for an aggressive modern look. In keeping with the sporting theme, the Riviera offers a respectable 100 meters of water resistance.
The basic dial formula of the Baume & Mercier Riviera is elementally simple, but the brand iterates on it in a variety of directions. The dauphine hands and applied indices are simple enough to be stylistically versatile, and the brand gives this arrangement a touch of character with the use of clean Roman numerals at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. From here, the standard variants offer a sunburst dial surface in silver, blue, or black, with a raised chevron pattern that gives a stylized aquatic feel to the design in initial images. For the flagship models equipped with the brand’s in-house Baumatic movement, Baume & Mercier instead offers the Riviera with a transparent sapphire dial in deep blue or smoky gray. This ‘70s inspired clear arrangement offers a visually simpler alternative to the more modern skeleton dial, allowing the bridges, date wheel, and gear train within to show through while maintaining the look of a solid dial. These sapphire dials are overlaid with the same repeating chevron pattern as the sunburst models for a subtler effect that still keeps the line’s stylistic DNA intact.
Baume & Mercier offers these Riviera models with the option of either a Sellita SW200 automatic movement or the brand’s in-house Baumatic BM13-1975A automatic movement. The SW200 has been an industry standby for years, and its 38 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate is beginning to show its age. The Baumatic BM13-1975A is undoubtedly the more premium option, with more extensive decoration including perlage on the bridges and Côtes de Genéve across the skeletonized rotor. In terms of performance, the BM13-1975A offers a far more robust 120 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate, along with a claimed accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day.
Like with all integrated bracelet designs, bracelet and strap options are crucial to the overall impact of the Baume & Mercier Riviera line. The integrated bracelet used here is cleaner and more familiar than many comparable designs, with a tapering three link oyster style layout that feels dynamic without overcomplicating the overall profile. Baume & Mercier also offers the Riviera with a flowing and sporty rubber strap in either blue or black.
By packing a wide variety of options into a clean and handsome core design, the Baume & Mercier Riviera series hits the ground running as a fleshed-out contender in its field. The Baume & Mercier Riviera line is available now through authorized dealers, with pricing for SW200-equipped models starting at $2,500, and MSRP for models with in-house Baumatic movements ranging between $3,550 and $3,900. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.