Cigar Aficionado

Hampton City Watch

You arrive in New York's Grand Central Terminal, walk through the cavernous stone hall and step out to the bustling streets of the city. The smells, noises and sights of Manhattan are overwhelming, a combination of bold architecture and energetic humanity. That sort of energy deserves the urban-inspired Hampton City chronographs from watchmakers Baume & Mercier.

The sophisticated wristwatch line with the big-city retro style was the talk of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Switzerland, where it debuted this spring. Of the 12 different Hampton City watches, two chronographs are clearly the best of the group. One model is available with a slate dial and black alligator strap, while the other comes with a silver dial and a brown alligator strap. Whichever you pick, you will be at the height of style.

Both Hampton City chronographs have the distinctive soft barrel-shaped rectangular watchcase—tonneau as the Swiss French call it. The cases are made of polished steel. The watch has an automatic self-winding movement with a 42-hour power reserve, and two separate subdials accurately measure seconds and minutes. A tachometer scale on the main dial of the watch measures your traveling speed. The watches are water-resistant to 30 meters and include a screw-fastened case back. The suggested retail price for each is just under $3,000.

Watch dealers at the Geneva fair (one of the largest in the world) were not only impressed with the Hampton City chronographs' beautiful design, but also with their reasonable price. Many comparable watches at the show were two or three times more expensive. But Baume & Mercier has prided itself on delivering superior watches for the money since it began making timepieces in 1830.

Call 800-MERCIER or visit