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Baume et Mercier Release Hampton Polyptyque Edition Honouring Musée Soulages Painting

Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary

The Baume et Mercier collection you’re most likely familiar with is the Riviera, their flagship integrated bracelet sports watch. However, that is far from the only watch they produce and they’ve now released a striking rendition of their Art Deco Hampton in celebration of the anniversary of the French Museum Soulages & Contemporary Art. The watch is called the Baume et Mercier “Hampton Polyptyque Edition – Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary” and it’s a visual stunner.

Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary
Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary

Cutting right to the chase, the dial is a very convincing rendition of Pierre Soulages’ work Peinture 324 x 362 cm, 1986, Polytyque 1. A giant painting that’s entirely black but that uses the paint in different ways to create interesting and unique textures. It’s very modernist in that it’s a solid block of colour and yet it’s one that feels more accessible to non-art aficionados. There’s a strength to the pattern of strata and striations that’s contrasted to and undermined by the irregularity of the textures, distribution and incomplete structures.

Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary

In order to turn the artwork into a watch dial, it’s obviously necessary to add the instruments of timekeeping. Which is a slightly fancy way to say that the “Hampton Polyptyque Edition – Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary” has central hour and minute hands in black with golden lollipop tips. The addition of a second colour adds a striking new aspect to the artwork. There’s almost something celestial about the two orbs circling over the void below, like a binary star system.

Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary
Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary

Zooming out from the dial we see the steel Hampton case, which just like the hands has been dressed in black. That colour has been achieved using a DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating, also giving the piece a matte finish that adds another black texture to the watch. In terms of structure, it measures 48mm x 31mm with a thickness of 10mm. It’s not exactly petite but then, neither is the painting it’s based on.

Powering the “Hampton Polyptyque Edition – Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary” is the ETA 2892 automatic calibre. It’s a solid movement with a 42-hour power reserve and gorgeous finishing visible through the exhibition window in the caseback. Specifically it’s finished with circular graining and the rotor features black Côtes de Genève, an inspired choice that means the movement emulates the dial.

Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary

The watch is limited to 328 pieces at a price of £6,225. I do think that’s on the upper bounds of what a watch like this should cost, but there is justification for it. It’s exclusive, it looks amazing, the finishing is very technical and refined and there’s a good story attached with its connection to the museum and artist. Ultimately, I think it’s a watch to admire greatly from afar but is one best left to the devoted fans of Soulages’ work. As opposed to being a watch for those looking for great value – if you want that, look to the standard Hampton at less than half the price.

Price and Specs:

Model: Baume & Mercier Hampton Polyptyque Edition Musée Soulages 10th Anniversary
Ref: M0A10741
Case: 48.11mm height x 31mm width x 10mm thickness, stainless steel with sandblasted black DLC coating
Dial: Black inspired by the 'Outrenoirs' paintings
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: ETA calibre 2892, automatic, 21 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes
Strap: Black non-animals material with pin buckle
Price: £6,225, limited to 328 pieces

More details at Baume & Mercier.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.