Photos by Jake Witkin

Among those who are terminally online, there are a handful immutable laws of the Internet. Wadsworth’s Constant says that the first 30% of any video contains no useful information. The Streisand Effect shows that any attempt to censor content inevitably leads to more widespread circulation of said material. The Theory of Internet Relativity holds that the more frequently you click “refresh” on a website, the less frequently new content will appear. Having gone hands-on with Baume & Mercier’s new 39mm titanium-bezel Riviera, I’m going to invoke “Cunningham’s Law” by claiming that the new release from Baume & Mercier might well be one of the best integrated sports watches available today. After all, the best way to get a response on the Internet is to post bold claims.

Before diving into the details, let me defend my argument. When it comes to the intersection of price, specs, and looks, not many watches get as close to the theoretical “enthusiast checklist” ideal as the Riviera. Not only is the translucent smoky-gray dial offbeat and distinctive, but the angular case is in a size that many watch fans have spent the last few years calling for (39mm). It’s not overly chunky at just 10.3mm-thick, making it more svelte than many other 100 meter-rated watches. On top of this, Baume talks the talk specs-wise. The Riviera houses Baume’s in-house COSC-certified Baumatic movement with a well above average 120 hour power reserve, while the toolless less strap-swap system, premium materials, sapphire crystal, and Super-LumiNova-coated hands and markers all check boxes in enthusiast discourse. Those willing to negotiate can likely scoop one up for less than the $4,150 USD sticker-price, adding to the attraction.

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Announced at Watches & Wonders 2023 as part of Baume & Mercier’s 50th anniversary celebrations for the Riviera, the new 10720 version is joined by two all-steel variants also in 39mm — a blue dial on strap, and a black dial on bracelet. While these offer many of the features that make the model a standout in its field, they lack the titanium elements that give this new Riviera its own personality. On the wrist, the gray rubber strap has a canvas texture that’s comfortable, but some might find it a bit too casual when paired with the gold PVD accents of the case and dial markers. That said, it’s interchangeable with other straps in the Riviera line, which should give this model a bit more versatility.

The greatest drawback to the Riviera is the current lack of variety. Availability in one strap style and one dial variant feels a bit limiting. It’s also hard not to wonder if the price might be even more competitive were Baume to forgo the gold accents, which feel a bit flashy given the otherwise understated appearance of the watch. That said, the Riviera has undergone plenty of change before with previous generations representing wide arrays of sizes, styles, and internals, so the next generation might well address these concerns.

The best way to assess the new 39mm titanium Riviera is to ask, “How would this compare if just one aspect were absent or different?” That is, would it be overpriced if it had all its current features minus a COSC rating? What about if it had all that, but was priced at $6,000 instead of $4,150? What if it were 14mm-thick? The fact that Baume & Mercier has combined all this and the kitchen sink makes it a real dark horse contender in this white-hot market segment. The Baume & Mercier Riviera 39MM 10720 is priced at $4,150 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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