French micro-brand Baltic first popped up on my radar back in 2019 after making a splash on social media, and across watch media. What caught my attention was how this entry-level brand seamlessly entered the collection’s of several high profile watch collectors, and onto the wrist’s of a couple of highly-respected watch editors. Intrigued initially by the Instagram hype and drawn in by the rave reviews from trusted friends, I knew it was time to take a closer look.
Being an unapologetic fan of the dive watch who was entering the peak of Australian Summer, I thought it only appropriate to get my hands on the Baltic Aquascaphe. Of the combinations offered, I opted for the Black and Silver, with both a bracelet and additional rubber strap.
The Dial and Hands
Interestingly within Baltic’s Aquascaphe collection, the brand offers two dial variants – a grain finish and a sunray finish. The grainy dial (WHICH THIS ONE HAS) adds lots of texture, which combined with the ‘sandwich style’ markers, brings a lot of character to an otherwise subtle watch. The cleanliness of the white super-luminova markers offer contrast to the textured dial.
The double-domed sapphire crystal gives perfect clarity as you gaze at the pebbly black dial, whilst oozing vintage charm. Baltic’s use of sapphire extends to the unidirectional black bezel to add some extra-depth, and emulate the bakelite bezels of yesteryear. The curved sapphire crystal across these two important watch parts adds depth, and a bounty of interesting surfaces for light to bounce off.
Made from 316L stainless steel, the delightfully proportioned case comes in at 38mm (or 39mm including the bezel) in diameter, and 47mm lug-to-lug. On the wrist, the Aquascaphe sits comfortably, and the smaller-than-usual case feels just about perfect. The case sits at 12mm high, meaning the diver remains deliberately low-key. Baltic earn some extra points from me here, as they tug on my vintage watch enthusiast heart strings.
Powering the Aquascaphe is a Miyota 9039, with a 42-hour power reserve, which given the price point is totally acceptable. As you might expect, the Baltic has an ample water resistance of 200 meters.
The Baltic Aquascaphe comes equipped with a ‘beads of rice’ style bracelet, which drapes smoothly around your wrist. Visually, the bracelet is quite dynamic thanks to the mixture of polished and brushed stainless steel links. The best part – Baltic have included ‘quick release’ endlinks, which make changing the bracelet a breeze. Honestly, it’s something which is traditionally quite painful, and this thoughtful feature reduces the risk of scratching your precious lugs, losing a springbar, and messing about with endlinks. You can remove the bracelet in just a matter of seconds.
Even better, the bracelet is actually interchangeable with all Baltic models, and available to purchase individually. You can also purchase the Aquascaphe with a black rubber (tropic) strap separately, or in addition to the bracelet. The black rubber strap accompanying the Aquascaphe is well matched to the rest of the watch and is light, comfortable and breathable – thanks to the pattern of perforation.
Priced at just over 1,000 Australian dollars for the bracelet version, it’s hard to fault the Aquascaphe package. The attention to detail doesn’t end with the watch – and extends to packaging and box – which pay tribute to dive watches of the 1970s.
Dive watches are known and loved for their versistily, and the Aquascaphe is no different. It’s a watch you can comfortably wear all week long in the office, or – as a no-fuss weekend warrior. Aesthetically, the Baltic Aquascaphe works hard to be a very thoughtful vintage-inspired dress watch.
Baltic sell the Aquascaphe as the ultimate ‘everyday’ watch, and given the price – they’ve made a strong case. It’s clear that Baltic have created the Aquascaphe in earnest, striving to solve the trade-offs we tend to see in entry level micro-brands, and have made a splash in doing so. From product to packaging to website, Baltic has clearly been created from a place of passion, and is a brand I’ll be keeping a close eye on over the next 12 months.