Looking at the scene of young and accessible microbrands, there’s a name that shouldn’t be overlooked; Baltic. Founded by a true watch enthusiast, with sheer interest in vintage watches, the brand has gained quite some fame in the past few years, following the introduction of multiple well-received models. After the classic, neo-vintage HMS and Bicompax, the Aquascaphe Diver and its GMT iteration, the brand is releasing a new watch, with a more technical look, and many small upgrades to make it again very appealing. Let’s have a look at the new Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown.
Baltic is the brainchild of Etienne Malec, a young Frenchman who has inherited his father’s passion for watches. An avid collector, his father spent years putting together a collection of exceptional timepieces, some of which have inspired the designs of Baltic’s collections. The first collection, the HMS and Bicompax, were clearly inspired by 1940s classic “Calatrava” models. Later, Etienne launched the first Aquascaphe, a robust dive watch with 1960s inspiration, full of nice retro-styled details. Now, we change again era and move to the late 1960s and early 1970s, with a new compressor-oriented watch, slightly more technical and instrumental in style, less focussed on vintage design cues but also bringing some refinements on the case and dial.
While the original Aquascaphe was a traditional diver’s model with an external unidirectional rotating bezel, the new Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is playing on the compressor concept, thus drastically changing the style of the watch. The “Compressor” or “Super-Compressor” watch was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. But what is it exactly? Often referred to as watches with dual-crown architecture, Super-Compressor is a trademarked name for a specific case design, by Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA), implying a unique sealing method. Nowadays, the idea of the compressor watch is often used to differentiate watches with external bezel from watches with two crowns and an internal rotating bezel. All-in-all, the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is what you can call a modern, compressor-inspired watch.
A newly designed, more refined case
This new Dual-Crown is based on the grounds of the classic Aquascaphe watch, however, there are multiple evolutions to note – not only for its design and technical solutions but also for the execution itself. The case has a classic compressor style, with relatively compact proportions. It measures 39mm in diameter and a very reasonable 11.9mm in height – making it fairly comfortable on the wrist and easy to use on a daily basis. The absence of an external bezel, compensated by a larger dial opening, makes this watch visually different from the classic Aquascaphe – flatter, more open, visually larger. The lug-to-lug measurement, at 47mm, remains very acceptable for a toolish watch.
The watch is equipped, as you’d expect with its compressor inspiration, with two crowns. The one at 4 o’clock screws down and is linked to the movement. The other one, positioned at 2 o’clock, activates the inner rotating bezel (no clicks, continuous motion) and doesn’t screw down, so it can be used easily underwater. The Aquascaphe Dual-Crown features a screw-down steel back and is topped by a domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal. And its water-resistance is rated at 200 metres, even when actuating the crown at 2 o’clock. Both crowns feature an engraved grid finish, classic for a compressor-inspired watch.
Some words are needed regarding the execution of the case, which has been fairly improved compared to the previous Aquascaphe. While there was clearly nothing wrong with this watch, the new Dual-Crown brings some nice upgrades. First of all, most of the surfaces are brushed – straight-brushed on the sides, circular brushed on top of the lugs. Baltic now adds nice polished chamfers on the side of the lugs and on the edge of the bezel – both bringing nice reflections and adding to the perceived quality. Finally, the most surprising decoration is on the bezel, with a so-called “brushed tourbillon” finishing technique. Different, appealing, and really adding a lot of character to this Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown. Well done!
Legible, more technical dial
The dial of the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is all about a clean design. In keeping with the codes of diving watches, the dial is uncluttered. The large opening leave space for the internal rotating bezel, which features a classic 60-minute diving scale, where the first 20 minutes are fully graduated, and it comes with a luminous triangle marking the zero position. As with all compressor watches, the bezel is bi-directional and has a continuous motion.
The central part of the dial, here presented in sunray-brushed blue, feels more technical and less vintagey than the classic Aquascaphe watch. Only essential indications are displayed and with cold, contrasting colours. The hands, which are brushed, have a new bolder design, allowing for more luminescent material to be applied. In the same vein, the markers have been redesigned, with a more rounded shape, but still with the combination of triangular, rectangular and round indices, helping to quickly read the time in low-light conditions. The seconds hand has a luminous tip too, and all the elements are covered with white BGW9 Super-LumiNova. And no date is here to break this dial’s clean look.
While we had the steel/blue model for our hands-on session, the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is also offered with a glossy black dial, available either in a steel case or in a steel case with black PVD coating, where the polished bevels are executed after the coating, meaning that they are left in raw steel… Quite funky indeed!
Miyota movement and tropic strap
At the heart of the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is a well-known, outsourced and reliable movement, the Miyota 9039. This functional movement beats at 4Hz, boasts 42 hours of power reserve and is here presented in a no-date version (no ghost position). A no-frill option that allows for a competitive price.
As standard, the Dual-Crown is worn on a supple and well-executed tropic-inspired rubber strap, in black or in blue depending on the colour chosen for the dial. It is closed by a steel pin buckle. As an option, the brand still offers its comfy and cool-looking bead of rice bracelet, closed by a folding clasp with vintage-style micro-adjustment (with 7 positions).
Availability & Price
The Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown is available for pre-order as of today, for a 20-day period. During this time, the watch will be priced at EUR 660, with deliveries expected in September 2021. Note that the 300 first watches will be numbered on the caseback.
After that, the retail price of the Baltic Aquascaphe Dual-Crown will be EUR 780. For more details or to place an order, please visit baltic-watches.com.