BY ERIK SLAVEN
Baume & Mercier introduced a steel sports watch back in 1973, not long after the iconic Royal Oak. Called the Riviera, it featured a 12-sided bezel (known as a dodecagon) and patterned dial, and the latest versions at Watches & Wonders add to the collection with the Riviera 10702 being the highlight. Of course, these are bolder, more contemporary designs with automatic movements replacing the quartz engine of the original. The flagship piece remains relatively affordable in the high-priced world of integrated Swiss sports watches, while the other two are both well priced and well-executed.
The Riviera 10702 has a 42mm stainless steel case that’s just 10.7mm thick, offering a modern yet manageable size for most wrists. Water-resistance is rated at 100 meters, so “sport” is an honest description beyond the looks. The brushed 12-sided bezel with a polished chamfer features four exposed hex screws in the same vein as many popular sports watches, but it’s clearly a Baume & Mercier design. The 8-sided crown features a groove in the middle, adding a subtle touch of style, while the dodecagonal exhibition case back is secured via four matching hex screws. The integrated steel bracelet is mostly brushed with some polished accents and features a hidden folding clasp and quick release system. There are sapphire crystals front and back with anti-reflective coatings.
The dial is a real standout as it’s a smoked grey sapphire that reveals the skeletonized movement underneath. Applied silver indices and Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock have Super-LumiNova inserts, as do the partially open-worked hour and minute hands. The sapphire dial creates an illusion that these elements are floating. The date disc is clearly visible yet muted from the tinted dial, but the date window at 3 o’clock is clear. The visible movement plates have a cool machined wave pattern.
Powering the watch is the caliber BM12-1975A “Baumatic” automatic, developed specifically for the brand by one of Richemont’s movement manufacturers, ValFleurier. It has 21 jewels, beats at 4Hz with an impressive 120-hour power reserve (a full 5 days). Seen from the exhibition case back, it’s decorated with perlage and Côtes de Genève on the open-worked rotor. Decorations are machined, but everything is well executed.
Not to be left out, the other two models include a 42mm steel piece (Riviera 10660) with a dark grey dodecagonal titanium bezel and four exposed hex screws, and a smaller 36mm variant (Riviera 10661).
The larger case has a 100-meter water resistance rating and comes fitted with a black rubber strap, while the smaller one drops to 50 meters, but sports an integrated steel bracelet. The lacquered dials have a satin finish in slate grey with a wave pattern, which match the darker bezel. The indices and hands are gold this time with Super-LumiNova inserts, and a black date window with white print sits at 3 o’clock.
Powering both models is a Sellita SW200 automatic with 26 jewels, a beat rate of 4Hz and a 38-hour power reserve. Although a bit overshadowed by the Riviera 10702, both models look great and will fit a wide variety of wrists. The new Baume & Mercier Riviera 10702 retails for CHF 3,150, which is a solid, accessible price for a mature luxury sports watch from a major Swiss brand. The 42mm Riviera 10660 retails for CHF 2,650 and the 36mm Riviera 10661 retails for CHF 2,800. Although the Riviera 10702 is the showstopper, all are welcomed additions to the Riviera collection. Visit Baume & Mercier here.