The Baltic Prismic reinvents the classic cocktail watch The Baltic Prismic reinvents the classic cocktail watch

The Baltic Prismic reinvents the classic cocktail watch

Jamie Weiss

The cocktail watch is a category of watch that deserves to make a comeback. Largely a feminine affair, cocktail watches inarguably reached their zenith in the Roaring 20s and 1930s, as watches moved from the pocket or purse to the wrist, and women’s fashion became much more adventurous and individualistic. Half-jewellery, half-watch and brimming with Art Deco style, cocktail watches epitomised the whirlwind social changes of their time.

Some brands still produce cocktail watches to this day – the Bulgari Serpenti is the first example that comes to mind – but it’s a category of watches that’s somewhat moribund. However, Baltic might be set to change that with their latest watch design, the Prismic, a unisex piece inspired by Art Deco cocktail watches that looks to redefine what a cocktail watch can be.

The dial

baltic prismic purple

Baltic describes the Prismic as “a watch inspired by geometric shapes and luminous refractions of the prism” as well as their “interpretation of the modern dress watch”. That said, just as cocktail watches are more expressive than evening watches (another category of watches popular in the 1920s), the Prismic isn’t your standard dress watch. Indeed, I’d say many of Baltic’s designs, such as the MR01 and HMS 002 are already pretty dressy – the Prismic’s something different.

baltic prismic salmon dial

Firstly, the Prismic features Baltic’s most complex dial yet. The base of the dial features radial guilloché, topped by a brushed sector featuring applied, polished indexes, with a thin ring of guilloché found again against the rehaut. The small seconds at 6 o’clock features a grained subdial, framed by a brushed steel ring. Brushed dauphine hands with polished chamfers glide above this very Art Deco-inspired dial, and other than the Baltic logo at 12 o’clock, there are no other printed model designations or appellations that disrupt the purity of its design. A retro domed sapphire crystal tops the lot.

baltic prismic on wrist

Secondly, the Baltic Prismic is available in four eye-catching dial colours – purple, green, salmon and blue-grey – fun colours that all complement the dial’s sophisticated aesthetic. Maybe in a world where we’re used to integrated luxury sports watches and G-Shocks the Baltic Prismic can be called dressy, but that’s underselling it a bit: it’s a cocktail watch, or a modern interpretation of one.

The case

baltic prismic case

Speaking of reinterpreting the cocktail watch: typically, cocktail watches were (or are) made from precious metals or feature a combination of metals. The Baltic Prismic, too, also features a bi-metal construction, but in a thoroughly modern fashion: its petite 36mm-wide, 9.2mm-thick case is steel and titanium.

baltic prismic in hand

The way Baltic have executed this is that the bezel, lugs and caseback of the Prismic are made of stainless steel, which sandwiches a titanium central case structure. Additionally, both metals feature different finishing techniques: the steel elements of the case are polished, while the titanium middle section has a grained finish. The sides of the steel lugs are horizontally brushed to complement the graining of the titanium middle.

baltic prismic case green

While it’s pretty common to see steel paired with white gold in watchmaking, you don’t often see it paired with titanium like this. I really think this is just Baltic showing off: they didn’t need to feature this novel combination of steel and titanium as well as these different finishing techniques, but I’m glad that they did.

The strap

baltic prismic straps

The Baltic Prismic has two different strap options: either an Italian calf leather strap or a brushed steel integrated Milanese bracelet, which features a sliding clasp. Both options feature quick-release systems if you want to swap out one for the other.

The movement

baltic prismic movement

The Baltic Prismic is powered by the ETA Peseux 7001, a historic manual-winding movement with a 42-hour power reserve that’s been used by brands such as Baume & Mercier, Longines, Nomos, Montblanc and Omega over the years. (Zach goes into detail about this movement here.) On display through an exhibition caseback, it’s finished to a fairly high standard, with diamond-polished bevels and côtes de Genève-finished bridges; soleillage of the ratchet and crown wheels; blued screws and beading on the mainplate balance wheel.

The verdict

baltic prismic collection

I love cocktail watches, especially vintage ones (like Buffy’s beautiful Universal Genève), but as someone with an almost 8-inch wrist, I can’t wear very many of them. The Baltic Prismic, however, with its unisex proportions and versatile Art Deco aesthetic, can be worn by anyone. Dressy, playful, nicely finished and powered by a reliable calibre, it’s a great addition to Baltic’s already extremely competitive range.

Of course, there’s another modern cocktail watch that this will inevitably be compared against: the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time. Strictly speaking, the Cocktail Time is literally inspired by cocktails, rather than being cocktail watches per se – although you could argue that like the Baltic Prismic, they’re a modern interpretation of the style. They’re also more affordable than the Baltic Prismic – however, the Prismic has sapphire crystals front and back; a more unique Art Deco aesthetic and bi-metal construction; plus a more refined Swiss movement, so it’s a very different watch.

Baltic Prismic pricing & availability

The Baltic Prismic is now open to preorders via the Time+Tide Shop, with the preorder window open from February 15th, 2024 at 4 pm CET (10am EST / 2am AEDT 16/2) to February 25th, 2024 at 4pm CET. Price: €990 (on leather, excl. VAT), €1,050 (on Milanese, excl. VAT).

Brand Baltic
Model Prismic
Case Dimensions 36mm (D) x 9.2mm (T) x 44mm (LTL)
Case Material 316L stainless steel and Grade 5 titanium
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Purple/green/salmon/blue-grey
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Italian calf leather strap or steel Milanese bracelet
Movement ETA Peseux 7001, manual-winding
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds
Availability Preorders open from February 15th, 2024 at 4 pm CET to February 25th, 2024 at 4 pm CET
Price €990 (on leather, excl. VAT)
€1,050 (on Milanese, excl. VAT)