The Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Brown is another vintage-inspired hit for a price that’s too good to be true The Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Brown is another vintage-inspired hit for a price that’s too good to be true

The Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Brown is another vintage-inspired hit for a price that’s too good to be true

Mitchell Barber

Back in 3500 BC, in what I can only imagine was a dusty cave, a gentleman with a big forehead and a loincloth built a fire in a circle of rocks. Seems like that would be a regular occurrence back then, right? You’ve got to warm up the cave for the kids, after all. Well, something strange happened that night. This time, the rocks, which melted with the heat of the fire, created something new. The molten stones, containing a high concentration of copper and tin, mixed in what can only be described as a species-defining stroke of good luck. The Bronze Age was born! Ok, ok. All of that probably isn’t true, I’ve taken some artistic licence. It does, however, illustrate how long us humans have been using bronze to help us live our lives. From the floor of that cave to our weapons, ships and now watches. Humanity wouldn’t be where we are today without bronze. Crappy history lessons aside, bronze as a material for watchmaking dates back to 1988 with the “Gefica”, a wonderfully quirky chronograph by the Leonardo DaVinci of watch design, Gérald Genta. Perhaps more well known, however, was Panerai’s Bronzo. Launched in 2011, it’s credited with kickstarting the modern-day craze for using the ancient material in watchmaking. Fast-forward to 2023, we take a look at the brand new Aquascaphe Bronze Brown from the French brand, Baltic. Allons-y!

The case

Not all bronze is created equal. Crafted from Bronze CuAl8, the Aquascaphe Bronze Brown has a 39mm case that is made up of 92% copper and 8% aluminium. The rich gold colour comes from the copper and, interestingly, the aluminium content slows down the tarnishing process and improves corrosion resistance. Don’t worry, it will still develop a lovely patina over time, turning a lovely dark gold/brown as it ages. In a departure from the previous Aquascaphe bronze models, a sapphire bezel insert is included. This was a great move as it complements the dial and overall aesthetic of the watch perfectly. I think it looks more cohesive than the solid bronze bezel of its siblings. As a bonus, as the bronze ages, the sapphire will keep its gloss, contrasting the case beautifully.

The only thing I wish they did differently is the stainless-steel back. The polished and engraved steel is such an abrupt change of colour from the bronze. It’s something that is only going to get even more jarring as the case ages. I understand why they did it, bronze can leave a green mark on the skin. I just wish they had PVD coated it like Tudor did on the Black Bay Bronze. It would have been a little easier on the eyes. Good thing you can’t see it when it’s on the wrist anyway.

The dial

The dial, oh the dial! Baltic has really knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s what they call a ‘Gradient Brown’ finish. Come on, Baltic. Let’s get more creative with your naming! How about “Havana Tobacco”, or “Milanese Hot Chocolate”? After all, the colour fades from light tobacco in the centre to dark chocolate (yeah, I like chocolate) on the edges. I can honestly say that this is a Fume dial that rivals the best of them. Eat your heart out, Moser. Whatever name we give it, it’s gorgeous and compliments the bronze case perfectly.

As for the hardware, the combination of stylised Arabic numerals at the poles and aged Super-Luminova® on the hands give the Aquascaphe Bronze Brown the vintage vibe that Baltic is so well known for.

The strap

Straps can either make or break a watch like this. Too modern and it doesn’t look right, too vintage and it’s unwearable. Luckily, Baltic has fitted one of their tropic straps to the new Aquascaphe. A vintage inspired, perforated dive strap that looks the part and feels wonderful. It even smells good! Just doing let anyone catch you sniffing it when you’re out and about, ok? Thankfully, a bronze pin buckle is also included to match the case, patina here we come!

The movement

All Aquaschaphe models are powered by the Miyota 9039. A Japanese movement with 42 hours of power reserve, 28,800 VPH, a “Parashock” anti-shock system, 24 jewels and hacking seconds. It’s a great movement that is a part of Miyota’s premium automatic line and powers watches from brands like Tissot and Ikepod. Baltic is in good company here. In saying that, if I’m honest, the main reason you’re buying the Aquascaphe is because of the way it looks. Having a solid and reliable movement under the hood is just a bonus, and a welcome one at that! Baltic are the masters of the vintage inspired. Their watches like the MR01 (drool) and the Bicompax 002 (even more drool) are what got me into small independent brands in the first place. They just get it.

Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze Brown pricing and availability:

The Aquascaphe Bronze Brown is available now at our Time+Tide Shop. Price: €625

Brand Baltic
Model Aquascaphe
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 12mm (T) x 47mm (L2L)
Case Material CuAl8 bronze
Water Resistance 200 metres
Dial Gradient brown
Crystal(s) Double dome sapphire
Strap Tropic style
Lug Width 20mm
Movement Miyota 9039, automatic
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Availability Now, for pre-orders
Price €625