Riviera. It’s just one of those words. At once evocative and alluring, conjuring up an image of casual elegance and life lived at a more relaxed pace, Baume & Mercier’s Riviera collection perfectly captures the joie de vivre associated with the iconic French coastline.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera was first released in 1973, and has always been a dynamic, sporty design with a strong shape and with dynamic lines. With every new evolution of the collection (we’re currently at the fifth generation of the Riviera), the size proportions and ergonomics are subtly tweaked and improved, while keeping true to the spirit of the 50-year-old design. As a side note, it must be said that the Riviera is looking good for its age.
This year we get a version of the watch that’s such a natural fit for the laidback, sporty style of the Riviera, we wonder why we haven’t seen it before: the Riviera GMT. Travel is one of life’s greatest luxuries, so it’s a perfect addition to the collection. The implementation of the GMT complication is beautifully done, too. The red GMT hand has the same modernist dauphine shape as the other hands and is semi-skeletonized with a luminous tip. You might also note the lack of a 24-hour bezel or inner scale, as Baume & Mercier have preserved the clean lines of the Riviera by integrating a 24-hour display into the main hour registers, with separate hour markers printed onto the dial between the 12 applied hour makers, allowing for an understated GMT display.
Let’s stick with the dials for a while because they’re worth a closer inspection. This GMT model is offered in blue or silver, both pretty iconic choices, and made even more intriguing thanks to the wave motif, which is super stylized and chic — even more so when you notice that this design is picked up on the back of the rubber strap. This dynamic dial is matched by the case, which comes in at 42mm across and 10.96mm tall. The dodecagonal bezel is also exceptionally pleasing, with its radial brushing and prominent screws providing visual interest and hinting at the capability of this sporty watch. The octagonal crown stands out, thanks to the red line — perhaps picking up on the red GMT hand — and the case is rated to 100 meters, which is just right for this sort of casual sports watch.
Behind the scenes (or at least behind the sapphire display back) beats an ETA 2893, which is exactly the sort of proven performer you want at this price point. It’s fairly slim at 4.2mm and offers a solid 42 hours of power reserve. There’s another feature on the caseback worth noting too, and that’s the Fast Strap system, which allows for quick and easy strap switching, without the need for tools.
The Baume & Mercier Riviera has always been a bold, self-confident design that perfectly lives up to its name. The addition of a GMT complication only adds to the appeal of this sophisticated and chic sports watch.
Baume & Mercier Riviera GMT M0A10659 and M0A10658
Movement: Self-winding ETA caliber 2893; 42-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds; date; 24-hour GMT
Case: 42mm x 10.96mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 100m
Strap: Interchangeable, integrated grained and satin-finished rubber strap (M0A10659), or integrated 3-row polished and satin-finished steel bracelet (M0A10658)
Price: AUD 4,700 (M0A10659); AUD 4,900 (M0A10658)