Designed by Jean-Claude Gueit, the Baume & Mercier Riviera debuted with its hallmark dodecagonal bezel in 1973 – shortly after the Royal Oak and years before the Nautilus or the Ingenieur SL. By 2022, the Riviera watch collection has taken on many different sizes and styles and for this year it’s rather unfavorably, or at least unimaginatively, called Riviera 10702 and Riviera 10660 / 10661 models that bring a fresh look to the “coastline” collection.
Sure, watches like the 5711 or the 15202 might lead one to believe that a reference number may be a sexy and cool way to, well, reference a watch – but for flagship models, like the Riviera 10702 customers might find some other phrase relevant to the product more relatable and easier to remember. Enter a store, ask for a Riviera watch and all you can do to identify the flagship model is the reference number – shouldn’t it be called something else beyond that?
Rant over and onto the good stuff: The Baume & Mercier Riviera 10702 appears a likable package. Fitted with the venerable Baumatic movement that combines an impressive five-day power reserve with modern 4 Hertz operating frequency in a merely 4.2mm thick package, a smoked grey sapphire crystal dial even reveals the top plate in between its discreet wave pattern. The 42-millimeter case is just 10.7mm thick (pretty slim, that is) and is rated water-resistant to 10 ATM (equivalent to about 100 meters) which is to say that it is amply protected for the occasional dive off the coast. Maybe it could’ve been called the Offsho… Oh wait, that’s already taken.
The dodecagonal bezel features a sunburst finish atop and a thick polished bevel along the outer edge while the bracelet does away with shiny stuff and comes brushed on just about every side. There is a quick-release system that allows for the tool-free removal of the bracelet – the watch industry at large had been decades overdue with this, but it’s great to see it finally happening. The flat case profile has no sweeping polished edges either, it is as though everything was designed to let the trademark bezel stand out. Four screws hold the sandwich-like layered case together, ending in a sapphire crystal caseback that reveals the Baumatic movement and its machined decoration.
There is a steel-titanium version in 42mm (100m WR) and in 36mm (50m WR) that’s new for 2022. These come equipped with a Sellita SW200 that has a much shorter power reserve of just 38 hours – but are self-winding and also run at 4 Hertz. Too bad that it’s only the sandblasted bezel that’s in titanium; the rest (the case and bracelet) are in heavy and cold steel. Although the dark bezel is a good look for the Riviera and goes well with the 5N golden gilt PVD markers, many might have preferred the lighter, warmer, and more comfortable titanium exterior to be an option. The “sun satin-finished lacquered slate-grey and tone-on-tone wave decor dial” (now that’s a mouthful) looks ace and brings some muted Riviera vibes to the all too familiar integrated steel bracelet aesthetic. Well done on that.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera 10702, priced at 3,150 Swiss Francs, remains a strong value proposition with its properly modern Baumatic movement, slender case, and matured design – many will find it to be a tasteful and robust daily wearer with just enough pizzazz to get attention – but not of the wrong sort. The Riviera 10660 in 42mm is priced at 2,650 Swiss Francs on a rubber strap while the Riviera 10661 in 36mm is priced at 2,800 Swiss Francs on a steel bracelet. You can learn more on the brand’s website.