MICRO MONDAYS: The Baltic Aquascaphe Classic is a modern diver that oozes vintage style for a startlingly good priceFergus Nash
It’s probably fair to say that Baltic owe their current status as an overachieving microbrand to the release of the Aquascaphe in 2018. Blending different elements of 1960s’ skin divers, and 1950s’ legends like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Aquascaphe found its own footing as a modern diver with perfect vintage style. Since then, it has spawned plenty of variations such as the Aquascaphe Dual-Crown, Aquascaphe Titanium, Aquascaphe Bronze and the Aquascape GMT. Now, the original lineup has been consolidated as the Baltic Aquascaphe Classic, featuring a respectful range of colour choices.
The skin divers of the 1960s were some of the most popular early dive watches after the more specialised tools of the ‘50s. Designed for consumers to take on their short dives and snorkelling trips, they tended to be relatively small and slender with dubious water resistance. The Baltic Aquascaphe Classic fits this archetype well (albeit with better functionality), offering gently sweeping lugs that have neatly clipped ends. The brushed finish is also accurate, with a sapphire-topped bezel insert that evokes some of the domed acrylic inserts of the time.
Although the vintage examples would mostly have been smaller, the Aquascaphe Classic has been upsized tastefully in a way that still fits a small wrist comfortably. The diameter is 39mm, with a 47mm lug-to-lug length and a neat 12mm thickness. In case you’re not a fan of the stock strap options, the 20mm lug width gives you plenty of versatility for NATO-style or leather styles. The screw-down crown locks in 200m water resistance for total peace of mind when swimming or diving.
The very name of the brand represented in that simplistic sans-serif typeface is all one needs to cement the vibe of the Baltic Aquascaphe Classic, instantly transporting your mind to dipping below the icy waves of the Baltic Sea, despite the brand’s French origins. A simple track allows you to read the minutes accurately without redundant numerals, while an Arabic 12 helps orientate the dial. The other hour markers are raised dots with luminous paint, except for 3, 6, and 9 which are slightly sunken arrowheads in a sandwich construction. This adds a great amount of depth to the dial, that already welcomes a range of textures.
Three out of the five references sport the grained black dial, which give the impression of age without any telltale signs of artificial interference. It is however available with either clean white lume and a choice of sapphire or steel bezel inserts, or an aged cream colour to match the gilt details on the bezel. The most famous of the Baltic Aquascaphe Classic watches has to be the deep blue sunburst finish with matching bezel, capturing the mystique of the deep sea with a hint of gold for refinement. The outlier of the group is the white dial reference that only needs black outlines to give the dial its form, although it is a great option if you already own many dark watches.
Given the ties to 1960s divers, Baltic have chosen a Tropic-style rubber strap for the Aquascaphe Classic in either black or blue as the default option. You can also plump for a beads-of-rice bracelet, which adds a stunning amount of dressiness to the watch without losing any practical sensibilities. The bracelet features a milled clasp with six holes of positioning for micro-adjustments, and the Tropic strap is a remarkably supple rubber.
The Baltic Aquascaphe Classic collection is powered by the Miyota 9039 movement — a premium offering from the Japanese brand which is one of the best budget options around. This automatic calibre provides 42 hours of power at 28,800 vibrations per hour, so you get that smooth sweep you’d expect of a Swiss movement. The quoted accuracy range from the factory is between -10/+30 seconds per day, although consumer results are generally more favourable than that.
The Baltic Aquascaphe Classic pricing and availability:
|Case Dimensions||39mm x 47mm x 12mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Dial||Blue, black, white|
|Power Reserve||42 hours|