Baume & Mercier recently announced a quite interesting perpetual calendar (in a gold case, with a well-proportioned dial) as the latest in a series of watches in its Clifton collection that presents a high complication in a limited series. The opposite pole of the company, however, is its many more accessibly priced watches; though cheap replica Baume & Mercier watches has had a pretty high-profile alliance with Shelby over the last few years, it is still wallet-friendly and gifting-oriented watches that form the core of what Baume & Mercier offers. In keeping with this general direction, Baume & Mercier’s just launched a new family of watches in the Classima collection called My Classima, which aim to be timelessly styled, classically-proportioned, and versatile wristwatches for under $1,000.
The big potential gotcha here is that the My Classima watches are all powered by quartz movements.. However, before you get out the pitchforks, it’s important to understand that the target audience for these watches is less enthusiasts per se (for many of whom at this price a quartz movement will be a dealbreaker) and rather the larger audience looking for a low maintenance watch from a recognizable Swiss name with some history backing it up.
At launch, there are three sizes of My Classima available: 40mm, on a bracelet or black leather strap; 36.5mm, replica Baume & Mercier on a bracelet or blue leather strap; and 31mm, on a bracelet or blue leather. All three bracelets are stainless steel with triple folding clasps secured by push pieces. From what we can tell, it appears that the bracelets have a lot in common with those on Baume & Mercier’s more expensive models and are noticeably above the competition in this price segment.
These are solidly good looking watches. Sure, they’re not going to end up in the Museum of Modern Art, but they don’t need to. They’re actually more than a little reminiscent of IWC’s entry-level mechanical wristwatches, the Portofino Automatic, and I think they’re handsome, if solidly, Swiss-ly conventional, and probably what a pretty decent segment of the watch market at this price point actually wants. For a certain percentage of us, a quartz movement is out of bounds, but it’s easy to forget that’s a somewhat narrow perspective if you’re trying to reach a wider public (god knows, quartz movements haven’t kept Fossil from being a $3 billion a year company, to pick just one of many possible examples).
The pricing on these watches is critical to the collection. All of the models on straps retail for $990 while you’re looking at $1,190 if you’d like the steel bracelet. This is roughly on par with entry level quartz movement watches from a number of other luxury brands playing in the affordable luxury space.
Enthusiasts are going to be aware that there are a ton of options in mechanical watches at these prices, and in quartz, a megaton. Many of the mechanical offerings, however, are offerings from more niche companies or those that a huge segment of the potential customers for these watches, don’t associate with widely unquestioned ideas of what a fine watch actually is. Seiko, for instance, has enough great quartz watches at $1,200 and under that you could probably wear a different one every day until the last proton decays and not have gone through them all. But, for some people “Japanese watch” doesn’t mean as much as “Swiss watch” and however unfair that may be, that’s the way it is; ditto for Seiko’s mechanical offerings (which does, however, mean that those of us who are Grand Seiko owners get to feel insider’s smugness, at least for a little while longer).
People heavy into role-playing games sometimes talk about “fluff” and “crunch” – fluff is the backstory that lets you emotionally identify with a character and a fictional universe, and crunch is the nuts and bolts of gameplay mechanics. The crunch aspect of these watches is styling for wide appeal, as trouble-free a daily experience as possible, and clean, well-executed construction. The fluff aspect, however, is indispensable in luxury at any level, and how much emotional weight exact fake Baume & Mercier watches can associate with these watches (and, after all, the company does have a real history to draw from) is going to have a lot to do with whether or not a lot, or very few of them, end up gift-wrapped in December.