Baltic Aquascaphe: Vintage-inspired diver from France
A watch that strikes a beautiful balance between two eras: vintage looks & contemporary feel.
Young watch brands operate in dangerous waters: The watch industry is comparatively change-averse and long-established watch brands have been dominating the market in some cases for several centuries.
That is why it’s nice to see that young brands with nice concepts can still assert themselves in the market and are accepted by the community with open arms. Baltic Watches, created by the young Frenchman Etienne Malec, is one of these examples.
A quick throwback
His Kickstarter-financed watch journey began in 2017 with two collections: HMS and Bicompax. HMS – an acronym for Hour, Minute, Second – is a simple three-hand watch, while the Bicompax line comprises mechanical chronographs.
Malec’s passion for watchmaking undoubtedly stems from his father, who was a major watch nut himself throughout his life. The extensive watch collection that Etienne inherited from his father provided him with all kinds of inspiration. The Baltic watches are therefore also a personal memento of Malec to his father.
All good things come in threes: Baltic Aquascaphe
The Baltic Aquascaphe got first introduced at the end of 2018. The vintage-inspired diver comes in a moderately sized case of 39mm – even merely 38mm without bezel – and builds only 12mm high. This is mainly thanks to the flat Japanese-made Miyota caliber 9039, which oscillates at 28,800 v/h. Despite its low overall height, the Baltic Aquascaphe manages to have a domed sapphire crystal.
In today’s world of fairly large dive watches, these slender dimensions are a welcome change. Above all, they are good news for all the diver watch enthusiasts out there who have smaller wrist girths. Not to mention, of course, the suggested vintage claim that the brand lives up to.
Dive watch through and through
The sandwich dial with its sunburst effect looks great and provides the watch with a visual depth, which is rarely seen in this price range.
Also the other mandatory specs scream “dive watch” very loudly: Screw-down crown for 200m water resistance, unidirectional rotating bezel and hands filled with Super-Luminova for ideal readability even in difficult conditions. The watch comes by default on a tropic rubber strap, which can be changed in a matter of seconds thanks to the drilled lug holes.
Another highlight of the watch is the beads of rice bracelet. The elegant stainless-steel bracelet is available at just a slight premium and extremely comfortable to wear. Micro-adjustments allow for quick adjustment. The strap subtly highlights the vintage character of the watch and the quick-release spring bars make the strap change a cinch.
Despite the microbrand status, all watches are assembled in Besançon. This historic city in Eastern France, close to the Swiss border, has long-lasting horological roots and is as relevant to the French watch industry as Glashütte is to Germany’s.