First, I want to thank all those who helped a newbie out and tolerated my many annoying "this or that" questions. Second, my apologies for not posting pics sooner. Better late than never!
I won't write a full review, in keeping with ulackfocus' 6 month rule, so instead I'll just provide a note on "first impressions." I was looking for a simple and classy dress watch, had an approximate $1,500 USD budget, and finally chose the Baume & Mercier Classima Executive 8731.
Here's a quick rundown of the vitals: ETA 2824-2 movement, with 25 jewels; 42mm case size and 9.5mm thick; water resistant to 30M; polished stainless steel case; sliver face with the lined guilloche; blue steeled hands; applied Roman numerals; dark brown genuine alligator strap with triple fold deployant; stainless steel caseback with a small sapphire crystal window to view the movement.
Quick first impression (after 2 months): The watch itself is simply gorgeous to look at. Baume & Mercier has done an excellent job on the fit and finish end of the spectrum. I replaced the dark brown strap with a B&M black one, and that really dresses up the watch. Both the strap and deployant are very comfortable. The watch has feels substantial on the wrist, which I like. The lugs curve downward, hugging your wrist, which adds to the comfort of the watch, while slenderizing its appearance.
Baume & Mercier did a really great job with the hands. The long, blue steel hands look black from a head on perspective, but at an angle, or when the light reflects off them…wow! Gorgeous!
While I'm still in the enamored stage, as a first dress watch I am extremely pleased. This is first and foremost a classy dress watch and fits the bill very nicely.
Excuse the non-professional pics (note the first two have the brown strap while the remaining are with the black strap):