Baltic watches have been under the radar among watch enthusiasts for a while. Almost overnight, the company became one of the most sought-after brands of today. The watch community embraced the launch of the brand alongside the Bicompax chronographs through a Kickstarter campaign. From chronographs, the brand continues to evolve in the tool watches department. The Baltic Aquascaphe met much fanfare with its release. Let’s take a deeper look at this timepiece.
What is Baltic?
Before we get to know the Baltic Aquascaphe, let’s first see what Baltic is all about. The brand is fairly new to the market with its launch in 2017. It wasn’t any other launch. Like many microbrands, the story of Baltic began in a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign became the launchpad for the company to release two of their debut timepieces, both met with much fanfare. The watches launched are HMS 001 and the BICOMPAX 001, a chronograph.
These timepieces easily catapulted the brand from the ground up, pushing founder Etienne Malec to launch more timepieces. The company has since been one of the most sought-after microbrands in the market. Following other French watch brands, such as Bell & Ross and Cartier, Baltic continuously wows patrons from all over the world with the quality of its timepieces. What we know today is that so far, the company sits with fairly priced timepieces. The watches from the brand have expanded from two models and now have different models such as the Aquascaphe.
The Baltic Aquascaphe
Baltic named the Aquascaphe rather cleverly. This refers to the famous Bathyscaphe, a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible from the 1960s. This was developed by the Swiss and built by the Italian, a true legend in underwater exploration history. However, this reference only applies to the name. Despite that, Baltic still made sure to stick to the same timeline when it comes to aesthetics.
The Baltic Aquascaphe adopted the design of divers from the 1960s and 1970s. There are many cues that point to this such as the case design as well as the dial. Baltic didn’t hold back in applying their vintage theme to this timepiece. Today, there are three versions of the Aquascaphe available in the market: gilt, blue gilt, and black.
Generally, there is a lot to say about this watch, so let’s break the watch down by its functions and parts. Here’s our in-depth review of the Baltic Aquascaphe.
Right at first glance, you’ll notice the attention to detail. The Aquascaphe gives the impression that it’s a great tool watch. Firstly, you get a sapphire crystal to protect the dial. The screw-down crown allows the watch 200 meters of water resistance.
There are some parts of the watch that’s familiar to those who already own the watch. This appears to be Baltic’s way of saying that they’re going for a certain aesthetic that would stick. I would say that they did well if that’s their goal given that you can reminisce older models from the company. That said, watch out for the mid-case design of the watch as it’s practically the same.
Given Baltic is going for a vintage-inspired look, it’s easy to understand why they gave it such a size. The Aquascaphe measures around 38 mm across and 39 mm at the bezel. Lug-to-lug, it measures around 47 mm. It should sit comfortably around the wrist with a 12 mm thickness. Overall, the sizing gives the timepiece a proportioned design that doesn’t stray away from the vintage concept Baltic aims to have.
It is incredibly impressive how thin this timepiece is. You can be fooled by the mid-case of the watch. With the long lugs set low, you would even think it’s much thinner than advertised. For a classic addition to the timepiece, the sapphire crystal of the watch comes domed. This adds height to the watch but visually, the timepiece is still a lot thinner than other divers. When against the wrist, you can expect it to look flat. That way, it’s easier to wear this watch.
The bezel of the Aquascaphe is one of the most impressive parts of the watch. If you look closely, the insert of the bezel is pretty thin. This works wonders especially if you want something that goes along with such a thin watch.
The thing with divers is that they can be on the heavier side. Smaller divers come with large bezels that eat up a large chunk of the timepiece. The dial ultimately looks smaller and that would throw off the overall proportion of the watch.
With the Baltic Aquascaphe, you’re sure that the bezel doesn’t take away from the dial. It’s not too large that it shrinks the dial. Moreover, true to its vintage inspiration, the insert only comes with 15, 30, and 43 numerals. At 0/60, a triangle sits while other markers appear as dots. With the bezel in sapphire, you’re sure that this watch is only of the highest quality. This also gives a fair addition to the price of the watch.
The Aquascaphe is available in two major colors: black and blue. However, on the company’s website you can find the following color combinations:
- Black Silver
- Black Cream
- Blue Gilt
- Black with Steel Bezel
- Bronze Blue Gilt
- and Bronze Glossy Black
Generally, all the watches have very distinct vintage-inspired looks. However, you can go for a more modern look with the Black Silver iteration of the watch. The white lume definitely gives it a newer face with light gray prints and a matte dial that’s also grainy in texture. If you want something more vintage, Black Cream is a great option for you. The cream-colored lume gives it a truly vintage feel. Meanwhile, the Blue Gilt proves really great, especially when underwater. The dark blue sunray dial looks wonderful when underwater and its cream lume perfectly matches the faux-gilt paint. Many people prefer the Blue Gilt for its complete aesthetic; it truly is a vintage diver.
As aforementioned, there are many similarities between the Aquascaphe and Baltic’s first model, the Bicompax. It also bears similarities with HMS models from the brand. Among those, the 12 numeral stands out. This little detail ultimately unifies the watches under the brand.
Overall, the dial of the Aquascaphe truly captures a multi-dimensional canvas. A pleasant texture sits at the markers of the watch and for a watch at this price, the lume proves incredibly potent. This is despite the little area of application on the markers. For even better legibility, the watch has the minutes/seconds index printed around the outer edge of the dial.
At the heart of the Baltic Aquascaphe is the Miyota 9039 movement. This is an automatic-winding 24-jewel movement with hacking and hand-winding features. It comes with 42 hours of power reserve which works wonders if you don’t plan on wearing it on weekends. With a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, you’re sure that it’s accurate. It’s very similar to the 9015 minus the date complication or date position in the crown.
Baltic surely did a great job of choosing this movement as it’s a lot thinner than Swiss options. This is just as reliable as more expensive movements in the market.
We weren’t kidding when we told you that the Aquascaphe sits perfectly around the wrist. There are two options available for this watch. You can get it with a tropical rubber strap that’s perfect especially if you plan on wearing it while diving. You can also get it in a “beads of rice” bracelet that exudes great premium appeal.
Both options are great but the beads are great options if you plan on wearing them on a day-to-day basis. Baltic made sure that even the bracelet of the watch has a vintage feel. It’s versatile enough to be worn in a casual setting and works wonders on more formal events. With the watch being thin, the Baltic Aquascaphe is comfortable around the wrist.
The Baltic Aquascaphe costs €579.17 EUR or around $700 USD, brand new. However, you can still find this timepiece on the secondhand market for less. You can avail of a more expensive version which is the Bronze Blue Gilt and Bronze Glossy Black. These cost around €625 EUR or about $770 USD. These are reasonable prices especially with the features and quality of the watch.
Baltic Aquascaphe GMT & Dual-Crown
Baltic launched another Aquascaphe with a GMT function. This timepiece varies only in bezel design with a 24-hour marker instead of dots around the bezel. The colors are also a lot sportier than the Aquascaphe with combinations of blue/green, blue/gray, and blue/orange. These colors prove great especially when underwater. It also comes with a date window at 6 o’clock. The Aquascaphe GMT costs more at €920 EUR or around $1,120 USD.
Meanwhile, if you want a leaner version of the timepiece, the Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is for you. This timepiece comes with two crowns, one of which controls the inner bezel of the watch. The bezel of the timepiece is bi-directional, perfect for any recreational diver. It costs around €550 USD or $670 USD.
A Powerful Newcomer: Baltic Aquascaphe
What makes Baltic such a powerhouse is the fact they’re incredibly reliable. This is a relatively new brand that’s making waves in the watch community for crowd-funded watches. The fact that many people choose to support this watch without nays says a lot about it. The Aquascaphe proves itself a good competitor for other brands and companies of the same price point. Surely, there are better things that await us, but what we have right here is already impressive for a first.
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All photos courtesy of Baltic.