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Baume & Mercier Capeland ref 10007
“Capeland” is a watch range from Baume & Mercier bearing a name which conjures thoughts of the North Eastern coastal area of the United States of America.
If I dwell on the name for longer I imagine; Cape Cod, Hyannis Port, the Kennedy Compound, JFK and Jackie Kennedy. I recall a glamorous era, when America’s famous family would enjoy each others company in this beautiful locale.
The Capeland watch actually dates back to 1948 and the country of origin is not America, but Switzerland as the small text below 6 o’clock attests.
Baume & Mercier can trace its history to 1830 when the founder of the watch making dynasty, Louis-Joseph Baume opened a watchmaking shop in the Jura Mountains in the village of Les Bois. However, it would be 1918 when William Baume and Paul Mercier met and the current name was incarnated.
The Capeland is available in various forms but my favourite is the red gold version with its retro look which stirs the soul. This model was launched in the spring of 2011 and is a reinterpretation of the 1948 model, with subtle changes. Instead of the single-push chronograph it has pushers located at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock.
Baume & Mercier approach design in a unique way where ladies watches, far from being mini-me mens watches, are actually designed and engineered as models in their own right (by Sara and Sabine of the B&M design team).
Economics and expediency may tempt the Accountants to suggest offering ladies’ models as scaled down versions of the gentlemen’s models, with a high percentage of components shared to achieve economies of scale. Thankfully Baume & Mercier timepieces are not designed by Accountants but individuals who have an eye for design and appreciate the merit of fine horology.
The case diameter is 44mm and is warm in appearance thanks to the 18-carat red gold.
The mixture of polished and brushed gold surfaces enhances the whole.
The case back is sapphire crystal, a departure from the original but no worse for that. I like to see inside a watch case. The watchmaker should celebrates his skills and champion the craftsmanship and artistry that lies within housing of their watches.
The watch has a water resistance of 50 metres, however, I would never get it wet in fear of damaging the wonderful brown alligator leather strap with prominent white stitching.
The crown bears the company logo, the Greek letter Phi.
The colour of the dial is referred to as “ashen”, slightly off-white in appearance with Arabic numerals and contrasting gilt hands with a Breguet profile.
At first glance the dial may appear busy, but nothing is superfluous.
A Telemeter features on the dial and as the watch’s handbook explains, it is used to “measure the distance of the observer from a phenomenon which is first visible then audible” e.g. the time elapsed from seeing lightening to hearing the corresponding crack of thunder.
A Tachymeter scale is used to measure speed in km/h.
The watch features a flyback function, which allows the wearer to move from one chronograph reading to another in a single button instead of usual three (stop, reset and restart).
A date aperture features between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock and two sub-dials provide counters for the chronograph function.
The dial is exquisite and has a retro feel which oozes charm and character.
The movement is automatic. It is a “manufacture” movement, La Joux-Perret 8147-2 and is adorned with Côtes de Genève.
The aforementioned Phi symbol features on the skeletonised rotor and the finissage is exemplary.
The Baume & Mercier is not the most expensive watch I have written about, nor the most complicated, however, it is beautiful.
It has a design which harks back to a more wholesome era when simple pleasures such as walking along the beach with friends and family took precedence over everything else.
Would I have one? Do you need to ask?
- Model: Baume & Mercier Capeland
- Model reference: 10007
- Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 44mm; height 16.5mm; sapphire crystal to front and case back; water resistant to 50 metres.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds; date; flyback chronograph; telemeter; tachymeter.
- Calibre Reference: 8147-2
- Calibre: Self-winding; Flyback Chronograph; Frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 27 Jewels; Power reserve 45 hours
- Strap: Dark brown alligator; pin buckle.