We’ll be honest: Baume & Mercier hasn’t had the easiest time in the last few years. Amidst changing leadership, reorganisations, staff departures and changing design priorities, it hasn’t had time to settle into a long-term position. Last year, Mr David Chaumet took over the role of CEO and began reassessing the brand’s focus and strengths. This year’s novelties offers us an insight into what his plans are for the brand.

The Hampton Returns
The Hampton collection makes a return in 2020

The Hampton collection has always been an interesting and affordable rectangular watch offering for those looking for alternatives to the two big staple brands of rectangular watch designs: Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier. Across the last decade, it’s faded in and out of prominence within Baume & Mercier’s production, ranging from the sport Hampton Square to the very elegant Hampton Small Seconds Manual in rose gold.

Today, the Hampton collection has shrunk down to 4 references, across 3 case sizes. The 2 largest models are automatic ETA-powered steel watches, while the medium and small sizes are quartz-driven, with a long 7-year battery. This year, Baume & Mercier has refined this collection and added 8 new references — 5 in the small case size with quartz movements, 1 in the medium with quartz movements, and 2 in the largest size with automatic calibers.

The case design of the Hampton has been slightly tweaked for a better look and feel.

The sizing of the watches may appear rather small at first glance. The smallest case size is at 35mm (H) by 22.2mm (W). These are definitely for the most petite of wrists. The medium size stands at 43mm (H) by 27.5mm (W). These are only a smidge smaller than the case sizes of the Santos de Cartier and almost on par with the Reverso Classic sizings.

The watch case remains large the same as it exists now, with similar bevels, extruding crystal but with a shorter lug proportion. That elongates the appearance of the case and dial, giving it a more streamlined look and feel. A mix of hour markers and Arabic numerals (at 12 and 6) leaves the dial thoroughly uncluttered. The casebacks on the quartz models are closed and the two smallest references come in a tan or dark brown calf leather strap.

The Hampton Small Quartz models in various dial executions.

Additional models are all braceleted with a three-link stainless steel polished bracelet and come in three dial executions: a sunray satin-polished blue dial, opaline silver or white mother-of-pearl. These two-hand models are quite ideal for daily wear, and for those wanting a touch of bling, the mother-of-pearl dial has diamond markers in place of the Arabic numerals.

The Mechanical Hampton Models
The Hampton Medium Automatic in steel.

It’s in the medium and largest models that the Hampton collection for 2020 starts to stand out. Comfortably sized at 43mm and 48mm in height — this size is inclusive of lugs, do remember — they are classically styled models that are honestly handsome. On the opaline silver textured dial, a peripheral minute track in gray with black markings frame the display around a central white plate on which the brand logo is displayed.

The Hampton Large Small Seconds Automatic in steel.

The hour markers in polished steel and sword hands, paired with a black alligator leather strap, give the watch a very simple, slightly austere but elegant. Another small seconds model is equally minimalist and formal, with a date aperture at 6 o’clock around which the seconds counter is printed overlaps. These are perhaps the best-looking Hampton models we’ve seen in some time, since the rose gold, manual-wind edition.

The Hampton Large Dual Time Zone in steel.

Adding a practical complication is the final Hampton Dual Time, which features a second time zone on a counter at 6 o’clock, and a large date display at 12 o’clock, under the brand. A day and night indication within the second time zone counter lets you know if it’s AM or PM in the reference time zone. A single crown controls all of the operation, making it quite appealing.

The three-hand and small seconds model run on ETA movements and have a power reserve of 38 and 42 hours respectively, while the dual time model bears a Soprod TT651, allowing the brand to keep the pricing of these models very healthy (~USD2,400 for the three-hand; USD2,600 for the small seconds with date; and USD4,050 for the dual time). The prices are based on currency adjustment and may differ slightly at sale.

Hampton Small Quartz Watch

Technical Specifications

Movement

Quartz-powered MHH057 caliber; hours and minutes; battery powered

Case

35mm (H) x 22.2mm (W) x 8.1mm (D); stainless steel case; curved sapphire crystal; silver opaline, blue sunray satin-polished, or white mother-of-pearl with diamond indexes; water resistant to 50m

Strap

Interchangeable calfskin with tone on tone stitching; interchangeable three-link stainless steel bracelet

Hampton Medium Automatic

Technical Specifications

Movement

Self-winding ETA 2671 caliber; hours, minutes and seconds; 38-hour power reserve

Case

43mm (H) x 27.5mm (W) x 10mm (D) in stainless steel; curved sapphire crystal; engravable case back; water resistant to 50m

Strap

Interchangeable black alligator leather strap with gray stitching

Hampton Large Small Seconds Automatic

Technical Specifications

Movement

Self-winding ETA 2895 caliber; hours and minutes; small seconds; date; 42-hour power reserve

Case

48mm (H) x 31mm (W) x 9.35mm (D); curved sapphire crystal; engravable case back; water resistant to 50m

Strap

Interchangeable black alligator leather strap with gray stitching

Hampton Large Dual Time Zone and Day/Night Indicator Automatic

Technical Specifications

Movement

Self-winding Soprod TT651 caliber; hours, minutes and seconds; second time zone; large date; day/night indicator; 42-hour power reserve

Case

48mm (H) x 31mm (W) x 10.8mm (D) in stainless steel; curved sapphire crystal; engravable case back; water resistant to 50m

Strap

Interchangeable black alligator leather strap with gray stitching