A few months ago, we told you about a young brand from Poland called Balticus. At the time, they were raising funds on Indiegogo for two new automatic bronze watches; the Big Wave and the Grey Seal. Today, we’re getting hands-on with another two models from this young company, the descriptively named Star Dust and Black Dust. At once familiar and unusual, both models come in at under EUR 600 and offer a lot of bang for the buck, although they may not suit everyone’s tastes.
Admittedly, when you think of watch brands, Poland is probably not the first country that springs to mind. It’s understandable, therefore, that you might be a bit hesitant to spend your hard-earned cash on an unknown entity. We should point out here, though, that Balticus is that it is not exactly a ‘brand-new’ brand. Although they only ran their first crowd-funding campaign a few months ago, the company has actually been around for almost 3 years and selling their watches in boutiques throughout Poland and even overseas for over one and a half year. It’s not exactly one-hundred-plus years of heritage like the major Swiss brands, but it gives you peace of mind that they are not some fly-by-night operator that will likely disappear as soon as you have bought your watch.
A previous Balticus watch named the Big Wave
The second thing to know is that they are very open and honest about their products and the components they use. The watches are all produced in small quantities, powered by Japanese automatic movements from Miyota and made using very decent materials, within the inherent limits of the price point of course. They have established good relationships with suppliers that allow them to deliver a high-quality, reliable product and you can buy their watches directly online. Best of all, the price listed includes free worldwide shipping (although understandably it doesn’t include any additional import duties you might be liable to pay, which are determined on a country by country basis).
Balticus has about 20 different watches available to choose from, although a number of these are variations on the same model. Although they don’t specifically make reference to any sort of homage to specific models, it’s obvious that a lot of the watches are inspired by well-known Swiss brands. That’s not a bad thing mind you, as they have certainly put their own spin on things, as you’ll see shortly when we look closer at the Star Dust and Black Dust models we’re reviewing today, plus there are only so many ways you can design a dive watch, etc.
Star Dust and Black Dust
The two watches we got hands-on with from Balticus, the Star Dust and the Black Dust – both without date windows – are in many ways similar, and yet each has a very different look and feel on the wrist. The cases of both models measure 42mm x 13.9mm and are made from steel, however, as you can see in the pictures, the Black Dust version has been given the matt black treatment. Both models are equipped with screw-down crowns and are water resistant to 200m.
The dimensions look a bit intimidating on paper, but the watches actually wear quite comfortably and the size and the weight give them a real feel of quality. There’s definitely a bit of an AP/Hublot vibe going on, but again Balticus has found a way to make the designs their own and the finishing is great with contrasting polished and brushed surfaces. I particularly like the subtle detail on the bezel that gives it just that little bit more character.
The Balticus Star Dust version, with non-coated steel case and blue marble dial
Where Balticus have really stamped their mark on the design, however, is with the dials. The Star Dust version features a striking marble dial, which is quite distinctive without being too showy. The Black Dust version meanwhile, features a distinctive blue aventurine dial, complete with lume-filled hands and indexes in gold colour. The dials are not quite as sparkly in person as the photos might suggest but they definitely attract the eye and really give the watches a nice point of differentiation. Understandably though they won’t appeal to all tastes.
The Balticus Black Dust, with black-coated steel case and blue aventurine dial
The star theme extends to the back of the watch as well, with the caseback depicting a starry night on a blue background. Inside both models is the Japanese automatic movement Miyota 8215 manufactured by Citizen. Used by a number of brands, this non-hacking, twenty-one jewel movement offers a standard three-hand time indication with or without date display. The automatic movement beats at 21,600vph or 3 Hz and offers a max power reserve of around 40 hours.
Both watches are presented on matching steel bracelets but also come with an additional leather strap each. For the Star Dust version, the strap is blue leather, whilst for the Black Dust version, it is Ostrich-style black leather. A quick change system means it’s easy to change between the two straps as you see fit. Finally, the Star Dust (non-coated steel) retails for a very reasonable EUR 561. The Black Dust version, meanwhile, is set a little higher at EUR 585. These watches are not limited as such, however, production is done in small batches/lots once a year (around 200 pieces for each version).
For more information please visit www.balticus-watches.com.
Technical Specifications – Balticus Watch Star Dust and Black Dust
- Case: 42mm diameter x 13.9mm thick – stainless steel or matt black steel – polished and brushed – sapphire crystal front – 200m water resistant
- Movement: Miyota 8215 – automatic – 3Hz frequency – 40h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds.
- Bracelet/strap: Steel / Blue Leather / Ostrich-style Black Leather
- Price: EUR 561 (Star Dust) / EUR 585 (Black Dust)