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Introducing the Baume & Mercier Clifton Retrograde Date Automatic (Live Pics, Details, & Pricing)

Inspired by 1950s references, Baume & Mercier first introduced the Clifton Collection at SIHH 2013. This year, the brand builds on the introductory time-only pieces by introducing new complications, including the handsome Clifton chronograph we recently showed you. Of the new releases, there is one in particular that succeeds in balancing wearability, practicality, and just a touch of something different: the Clifton Retrograde Date Automatic.

Compared to the standard method for displaying the date ?via an aperture ?the retrograde date function is more difficult to seamlessly incorporate into the design of a dial. This might be why many manufactures avoid the complication altogether, though when done properly it can be exceptional. It's a feature we tend to see more on ultra high end watches, like the MaƮtre du Temps Chapter One Transparence, but here Baume & Mercier gives us a retrograde date at a more affordable price point.

A traditional fake watch dial allows you to track the progression of time on a continuous loop in the form of a 12-hour scale, while a digital display, like the typical date aperture, shows information one piece at a time. There's no reference point here to track the progression of hours, minutes, or seconds, for example. A retrograde date introduces the concept of a reference by displaying a 31-day scale in a semi-circular format, allowing you to track the progression of the month from beginning to end. Whether you want to be reminded of how quickly the month is passing by is another story.

On the Clifton Retrograde Date Automatic, the retrograde function takes up quite a bit of dial space, sitting between 2 and 4 o'clock. Even-numbered dates are presented with both arabic numerals and markers and odd-numbered dates have only markers. A long blued-steel hand tracks the date and blued-steel hands also track the 40-hour power reserve indicator at 6 o'clock and the day display at 9 o'clock.

As for the rest of the dial, a mixture of gilt baton-style indices and Arabic numerals prevent the layout from appearing jumbled. A seconds track around the dial features blue arabic numerals at each 5-second interval, nicely matching the blued-steel hands of the sub-dials. The styling fits right in with the rest of the Clifton collection and there is no mistaking this fake watch for anything but a Clifton.

Considering the bevy of features included on the silvered sun-burst dial, the 43mm steel case is not too extravagant. It is on the large side, especially for a fake watch that sits on the dressier end of the spectrum, but it wears nicely for a fake watch of this size. Inside is a self-winding Soprod 9094 movement, which is based on the ETA 2892 with the addition of the calendar functions. The movement is visible through a sapphire crystal case back surrounded by a hefty back-bezel, and it is nicely (if modestly) finished.

The Baume & Mercier Clifton Retrograde Date Automatic is priced at $5,700, placing it at the top of the Clifton collection. Visit Baume & Mercier online for more.

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