Baume&Mercier Ilea Steel, Diamond, Gold, Two-Tone Swiss Watch Review
Described proudly by Baume&Mercier as the “essence of a woman,” Ilea collection indeed seems to embody something essentially feminine. It is not accidental that a similar design pattern appears in Ebel Beluga Ladies, a line of watches once promoted by Gisele Bundchen, one of the most successful models to ever step on the catwalk.
Ilea consists of medium to small sized timepieces equipped with quartz movements, a central seconds hand, and a single date complication at six o'clock. Simplicity of movement corresponds with that of materials: polished stainless steel is the primary metal used for both the case and the bracelets; jewelry enhancements in the form of mother-of-pearl, diamonds, and gold decorate the more luxurious creations.
In terms of design these watches possess a unique character: surprisingly unassuming at the first glance, they draw observers' attention with elegantly flowing side curves, and radiate a seductive and memorable personality blend.
Featuring at least one of the above mentioned precious materials, most Ilea timers can be rightfully categorized as jewelry pieces.
Baume et Mercier invented a kind of gradation, where some items include only mother-of-pearl (for the dial), others, more elaborate ones, add on diamonds (can be seen on the bezel and the bracelets), and the most luxurious watches incorporate gold as well.
The resulting range is wide both visually and expressively: the more restrained steel variations possess a certain cool property – counterbalanced by the exuberant, warm two-tone diamond models.
While occasionally showing a different shade, dial compositions remain consistent in all Ilea watches: large Arabic numerals at quarter hours, egg-shaped date aperture at six o'clock, and a guilloche.
This curved guilloche creates an illusion of a three-dimensional sphere, and reasserts the flowing smoothness of the overall design. In bluish-toned dials it evokes the calm view of the planet from the outer space, and cites the liquid quality apparent in all Baume&Mercier watches.