I remember my first retrograde experience. There is something so poetically unnatural in its movement that really captivates. On this particular piece it was a jumping hour with a retrograde minute hand, and i would wind the time forward, advancing the minute hand quickly to close to "60 minutes" and then slow down and watch the hand bounce back to "0 minutes" and starts again. It's more fun than watching the windscreen wipers going through a similar motion (although I must admit as a child I do remember being fascinated by the wipers and I would mimic its function with my hands on a flat surface with water). Why is it more fun than wipers as an adult though? Simply because of the sheer force with which it bounces back and the speed it does it with. This must put quite a bit of strain on the movement, and thus producing a reliable one is no mean feat.
This could be the reason why the retrograde function is not offered en masse, and the ones who can should be applauded for their defiance against natural motion (ie, hands going around in circles).
The Baume & Mercier Clifton Retrograde is a very fine looking timepiece. In fact, the whole of the Clifton range boasts classic styles, if a little reserved, and I think this is where the retrograde balances the range. The oversized arc of the retrograde date screams out for attention like the middle child. It's the watch for those who wants a classic dress watch but doesn't want to be bound by classic proportions and styling. It's for those who needs to confirm due to societal pressures but still wants flashes of personality, like drab grey suits with bright orange socks and pink pocket square. Yes proportions may be a bit out of whack, but it retains a certain balance, with the day sub dial at 9:00 and the power reserve at 6:00.