The first time that I wrote about Baume & Mercier’s new for 2011 Capeland collection watches I was a bit irritated. The reason for that sentiment was the revival of the Capeland name in a thoroughly retro collection, whereas the original Capeland watches from about a decade or so ago were much more modern. In fact, these heritage style timepieces are modeled after watches from the late 1940s, not the late 1990s. I still feel a tender sense of nostalgia toward the original collection and would have preferred that Baume & Mercier use a different name for these watches but, aside from than that, I am stricken by the appeal of these new Capelands.
Baume & Mercier will initially offer seven variations of this model. I am sure you can find them available already. The historic look of the watches is cleverly done with two different dial styles. One is a bit more classic with pomme hands and a snailed tachymeter scale. The other is a bit more to my taste with more mid-century-style Arabic numerals and bolder colors. Still, both dial styles are very handsome and Baume & Mercier’s ability to capture nostalgia is impressive. Which, in my opinion, is ironic because with the name of the watch they captured the wrong nostalgia for me.
Two case dimensions are available: 42 and 44mm wide. There are both steel and 18k rose gold versions available. My choice pick, of course, is the 44mm wide version. The dials come complete with highly curved sapphire crystals and large chronograph pushers and crown. The large crown is a symbolic nod to manually wound chronographs that, in the past, often came with the larger crowns for easier winding. Back then, watches were much more about function than fashion.
The Capeland models come with a host of dial color options including: Black and white, anthracite, gray, copper, brown, and silver. Yea, that is a lot of options. So many options, it is hard not to call this modern homage to older watches a fashion piece as Baume & Mercier is clearly aiming to appeal to a variety of “looks.” Still, even as a fashion watch, it is quite handsome.
The movement is a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7753 automatic – which is, more or less, a 7750 placed on its side. According to Baume & Mercier, the movement has been modified by Lajoux-Perret. This process presumably adds decoration and the flyback complication. There is also an open display back allowing you to see the movement. Available on either black or brown alligator straps, I imagine the prices for the steel models will be in the $3,000 – $4,000 range.