REVIEW: Hands On With The Baume & Mercier Riviera GMT Travel Time

by Matt Clymo

We’ve gone hands on with the new Riviera GMT launched at the start of the year, and we must say that it’s been a bit of a surprise package!

What We Love

  • Wave motif silver dial
  • Quick change strap system
  • Comfortable bracelet

What We Don’t

  • No secondary strap to utilise the quick change system
  • No GMT bezel, limiting true GMT functionality
  • Lack of a screw-down crown

Overall Rating: 8/10

  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Wearability: 8/10
  • Design: 7.5/10
  • Build quality: 8.5/10

Baume & Mercier has had its ups and downs over the years, and more recently, I feel they’ve been relegated to the bottom of the Richemont stable of brands. However, this year, with the 50th Anniversary of the Riviera, Baume & Mercier have breathed some new life into their steel sports diver and designed it for a new wave of watch lovers. For those not very familiar with Baume & Mercier, first a very quick history lesson…

The new Baume & Mercier Riviera GMT Travel Time

Launched in 1973, the Riviera immediately made a splash with its dodecagonal case and its slimline metal strap. At this time, very few brands had really ventured into the luxury integrated steel bracelet models, with maybe the exception of Rolex and Audemars Piguet, making the Baume & Mercier Riviera one of the first brands to do this. Interestingly, the original design was done by Jean-Claude Gueit, the father of Emmanuel Gueit who designed the Royal Oak Offshore, so the Riviera has some design provenance and links back to that era as well.

The Riviera from 1973. Image courtesy of Time And Watches

So this year at Watches and Wonders 2023, Bame & Mercier re-launched their Riviera line up with a range of 50th Anniversary pieces, including the new Diver 300m collection, the 39mm Riviera, and this piece, the Riviera GMT Travel Time.

Initial Thoughts

Having covered the releases from Baume & Mercier earlier in the year, I was slightly underwhelmed by these. Thinking back, I feel that this was mostly due to the press imagery and potentially my preconceived notions of the brand. Let’s face it, you don’t hear much about them, and very little hype ever comes out at least in Australia around Baume & Mercier. But could this be about the change?

Picking up the watch a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised with the look and feel in person. Initially, I was thinking I would like the blue dial version with the blue rubber strap better, but seeing the silver dial in person vs the blue, I actually changed my mind.

In press shots, the dial looks like an off-white colour, and doesn’t factor in or show off the silver in it and the way it reflects the light. The bezel was also a little surprise as the brushed finish is subtle but evident and in photos I’ve seen, looks more like a matte polish, rather than vertically brushed, which is a little harder to get right compared to circular brushing the bezel. Overall, the weight and solid construction of the bracelet impressed me for a sub $5,000 AUD piece. More on this later.

The Riviera GMT is a great casual wearer

The Design

The Riviera GMT Travel Time is designed to be a contemporary version of their 70’s Riviera, and you can see this in the design elements, with the dodecagonal bezel, the bracelet that integrates seamlessly with the case, and those four screws present on top of the bezel. Whilst the original design from the 70’s was a little more angular and less refined, you can see these elements coming through in the 2023 piece, albeit more refined and detailed.

The Riviera GMT is part 70’s and part 2023

The dial is possibly the star of the show in my opinion. In person, it’s not quite white, not quite silver and this is what makes this a selling point. According to Baume & Mercier, the dial was designed to evoke imagery of the Mediterranean seafloor, which when released in late March, took inspiration from the Mediterranean summer. I originally thought this especially came through on the blue dial, and makes you think of holidaying on the Cote d’Azur, the white dial somehow takes me there. Maybe it’s the white stucco walls you find in towns in the South of Spain or areas of France or Greece, but you can imagine being in Europe, with this piece in summer.

The dodecagonal case and bezel and silver/white dial

The dial shimmers in the sunlight and then dulls down indoors, making this piece highly photogenic with the way the wave pattern reflects the light in different settings changes the look of it depending on the time of day. The red GMT hand contrasts nicely with the white, more so than the blue dial I feel, and makes reading the second time zone very easy with the 24-hour markers circling the edge of the dial in 2-hour intervals, broken up by the hour makers of the main time zone and half hour dots on the GMT time scale.

The Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock are a nice touch as well, and with all the hour markers being fully lumed with blue SuperLuminova, the dial is easily legible during the day as well as at night. My one gripe with white dial watches with lumed indices is there sometimes is not enough contrast between the dial and markers, making it harder to read and if I’m being picky, not enough differentiation on the dial. However, the Riviera skirts this somewhat thanks to the steel surrounding the lume and the hour markers being applied to the dial enhancing the three-dimensional effect.

The blue lume of the GMT glows brightly and makes the low-light legibility super easy to read

I spoke about the bezel earlier, and it’s one element of the watch that I thought I’d not like, based on images I’ve seen. The bezel looks flat and lifeless in images and the four screws look almost out of place. Perhaps due to the fact many brands that have screws in the bezel have more than four. The real-life fact is the bezel looks good in line with the overall design aesthetic of the piece and stays true somewhat to the original from 1973 (apart from the screws that is).

The bezel has a subtle verticle sun-brushed finish

Whilst the number and position of the screws will annoy some people, the same people who complain about the non-aligned screws on the Hublot Big Bang Unico (you know who you are) and I totally understand this being slightly OCD myself, they weren’t all that bad after a while. It’s more a case of what you’re used to and what you get used to.

Baume & Mercier have also equipped the Riviera GMT with a quick change “Fast Strap” system which is always welcomed in today’s modern watches. It’s very easy to use. Push in the small lever, and slide the bracelet out of the case. Then just slide the replacement in. It takes about 30 seconds to swap the bracelet or strap out. My only criticism here is that Baume & Mercier don’t include a second strap on this model, as they do on other Rivieras. So it does force you to purchase an OEM strap off the brand due to the proprietary mechanism.

How It Wears

Being summer, and now the weather is warm and humid here in Brisbane, was the perfect time to test out this watch. In the cooler months, your wrist tends to fluctuate less in size, whereas now, if you’re like me, it can change around half a centimeter or more. This is where on-the-fly micro adjusts come in handy, and one element that most integrated bracelets lack. Thankfully, the Riviera GMT Travel Time has both full and half links to size it, and if you can get this right, then it will wear slightly loose in Winter, and snug in Summer but not tight. If not, then you may be looking at adding in a half link prior to the warmer weather setting in.

Like many integrated bracelets with double folding clasps, the Riviera GMT Travel Time wears comfortable on the wrist with very little to grab any arm hair or cause discomfort. The links are solid, so it feels solid on the wrist, perhaps a little too solid as the bracelet is on the thicker side. You could see this as both a negative and positive in some respects. There is a fine line between too thick and chunky, and too slim and flimsy, and some brands get this right, others not so much.

The reality is this comes down to personal opinion. But for what it’s worth, the Riviera bracelet could be slimmed down a little to help balance the watch out and reduce the size appearance on the wrist. More often than not, the thicker and wider the bracelet, the bigger the watch appears regardless of the dimensions. This brings me to my next point. The case size.

The bracelet is think but not a deal breaker on this piece

Baume & Mercier have done a good job with the case dimensions. Coming in at 42mm in diameter, and just under 11mm thick, 10.96mm in fact, the case sits low and flush on the wrist. If you think 42mm is too big, then perhaps try this one on to see how it wears. Personally on my 17.5cm wrist, the size felt about right due to the dimensions and design style, and the fact that this is almost 3mm thinner than other GMT’s on the market makes a big difference. Have a look at the image below and you can see how this looks in the 3rd person and make your own judgement.

The Riviera GMT sits nicely on my 17.5cm wrist

The Movement

The Baume & Mercier Riviera GMT Travel Time comes with a see through caseback, showcasing the Swiss Made ETA 2893 movement with a 42hr power reserve and beating at 4Hz / 28,800 VPH. The movement is finished with several aesthetic features like Cotes de Genève on the rotor and spiral graining on the baseplate and several other pieces. It’s not a bad looking movement, and considering the price point I wouldn’t expect anything major here. However, Baume & Mercier have done enough to make it look nice and give the owner something to see when off the wrist.

The Swiss Made ETA 2893 movement of the GMT Travel Time

I’ve been wearing this piece now for several weeks, and in rotation with other pieces, so it’s been on and off my wrist and on my watch winder across this time. the ETA 2893 is solid, like most ETA movements, and during this time, the accuracy has been pretty good. At last check, it was running at about -4 seconds, which isn’t bad for a non-COSC movement and decent taking into account the recommended retail price of $4,950 AUD.

Baume & Mercier have equipped the Riviera GMT Travel Time with a “caller” style GMT movement. If you’re not familiar with the “caller” vs the “flyer” GMT, then see our most recent Watch Education article on it here. The interesting point to note here is Baume & Mercier call this a Travel Time, yet the piece isn’t equipped with the Traveller or Flyer GMT, which is designed for people travelling, vs the caller, which this is, designed for people who don’t. Whilst not part of the movement, this GMT does lack a rotating bezel, so it means tracking a third timezone isn’t possible, and neither is using it for an offset time. At the end of the day, if you’re not a frequent flyer going across time zones, then this won’t worry you all that much. If you are, then I’d say look into this piece and decide if this is a deal breaker or not.

Adjusting the GMT hand is easy via position 1 on the pull-out crown

The other aspect to consider on this piece is the crown is a pull-out crown and not a screw-down crown. Being a sports watch with 100m water resistance you would normally expect to have a screw-down crown to ensure the water tightness of the case and movement. However, not all brands do this and surprisingly, I still see some pieces with pull-out crowns rather than screw-down crowns of 100m sports watches. Yes, you save some space without the screw, but these days, I feel that most brands should have this as a feature if designed to take into the water. When the crown is pushed in, it should be perfectly fine and this isn’t the reason I say 100m water-resistant watches should have a screw-in crown, it’s more the fact that you can accidentally knock or pull the crown out easily if you’re playing in the pool with the kids or doing a spot of surfing etc. Yes, it’s happened to me before. Screw-down crowns negate this fact completely.

Final Thoughts

Baume & Mercier have stepped up their game in recent years, and this year with the 50th Anniversary of the Riviera, they’ve pulled out all the stops across the collection. The new Riviera GMT Travel Time seems to tick a lot of boxes. Well priced, good build quality and useful functionality with the GMT function and quick set date.

On the wrist, it wears well, and whilst not a small watch, it’s not overly big either and has some wrist presence. The case thickness helps to keep the size appearance manageable and hug the wrist, whilst the bracelet keeps it secure with the double folding push button clasp. Yes, the bracelet could be more refined and a little less thick, but that’s a minor gripe of mine personally. If you’re not one for worrying about the bracelet size, this won’t be an issue. If you are, then I’d encourage you to try it on to get a feel for it first.

Overall, the Baume & Mercier Riviera GMT Travel Time is a good daily wearer and does look nice on the wrist. I’ve had a few people comment on it, saying they like the look on the wrist and coming from some of these people in our watch circles, is a testament to Baume & Mercier making a good-looking piece. All the elements seem to come together well, and let’s face it, the dial is the showstopper here.

Reference: M0A10658 (Silver dial/steel bracelet)


  • Case: 42mm, 10.96mm thick
  • Case: Polished and brushed finished stainless steel
  • Dial: Sun satin-finished lacquered blue and silver dial with transparent wave decor
  • Hands/Indices: Riveted and faceted applied Roman numerals and indices with Rhodium-plated hands
  • Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
  • Water resistance: 100m (10BAR)
  • Movement: Swiss Made Automatic ETA 2893
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Bracelet/Strap: Integrated and satin-finished blue rubber strap with triple folding buckle/integrated 3-link brushed and polished steel bracelet with double folding stainless steel clasp

Australian Recommended Retail Price: AUD $4,950 (Silver/steel bracelet)

Availability: Both variants are available now through Authorised Dealers and Retailers and at

You may also like

Copyright 2024 Watch Advice Pty Ltd. ACN: 633 660 992. All Right Reserved.