Baume Mercier Hampton Classic Men's and Ladies' Automatic/Quartz Watches Review
The elegant, firm aesthetic of Baume&Mercier Hampton classic collection fully expresses the brand's vision of a contemporary and globally aware watchmaking company.
There's clearly something cosmopolitan about this line: its clean, direct architecture projects a universal appeal that complements the overall traditional frame. Some even might view this quality of openness as giving Baume&Mercier an advantage over such Swiss high-end names as Vacheron Constantin and Blancpain, for instance.
Hampton is the brand's largest collection: it includes additional Milleis and Square divisions, and offers watches for both men and women. The variety of assortment, in materials as well as in movements (automatic, quartz, chronograph) lends it market resilience that will prove very effective in this extremely busy industry.
A solid stainless steel case with naturally extending lugs constitutes the basis for all Hampton watches; the angular cut at the end of each lug sneaks in a touch of the oriental, bringing to mind Vietnamese hats.
Diamonds, leather straps, and steel&gold bracelets set off the frame texturally and visually.
Men's timepieces contain self-winding and Swiss quartz movements: the difference between the two is usually made obvious by painting the hands of automatic watches with a blue (Breguet inspired) color. Complications include chronograph, power reserve, date, and annual calendar. Quartz pieces tend to display a softer, more casual face (white, silverized dials), while their mechanical cousins level up the visual intensity.
Hampton Classic can boast a rare trait where leather strap and steel bracelets fare equally well in terms of character and design harmony. Each variation brings something different to the watch; leather gravitates towards formal/traditional setting among others, metal is more fashion conscious.
Dials display both Arabic and Roman numerals, often reserving the twelve o'clock position for the Baume&Mercier “Phi” logo.
Women's watches focus considerably more on jewelry embellishment, routinely incorporating diamonds, mother-of-pearl, and yellow gold (an important addition that adds a warm summer touch to the two-tone variations). Ref. 87XX series embed the dial within the bracelet strip, rendering the entire piece a perfectly symmetrical jewelry item (even in stainless steel and no diamonds category) where the timer has to share its key role with the band.
Both gents' and ladies' Hampton demonstrate unmistakable similarities to Ebel Brasilia – a resembling solidly built case and long lugs, push buttons distribution on the side of the watch, and basic bracelet structure. Conversely, the setting of precious metals and stones provides a curious point of difference between the two brands.