If you’re looking for a great looking and very well priced watch, our ‘Value Propositions‘ will give you a lot to choose from. Apart from the usual suspects (the well known brands) these young start-ups often create watches that they would love to see themselves. And since the major brands do not offer the desired watch (either in terms of style/design and/or price) they give it a go themselves. However without funding they won’t make it, so platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are ideal for these young entrepreneurs, who are often watch lovers before business men. So is the Polish based brand Balticus who are now launching two bronze dive watches through Indiegogo. Two bronze limited editions named the Big Wave and the Grey Seal.
Luxury without pretense
Balticus is definitely in the affordable luxury watch market, but their aim is by no means to redefine luxury. Although the watches are stunning and crafted in small batches, they’re also made from sensible materials and components. In other words, they deliver a luxury watch feel without going overboard—an Asian automatic movement and a B2C approach, so there’s no additional markup for retailers. And while the parts are produced in Hong Kong, the watches will be proudly assembled in Poland.
Currently, Balticus has two automatic watches on offer, so we’ll take a take a look at each. If one catches your eye, you can get in on the ground floor by becoming an early backer on Indiegogo. More than 50% off the future price!
Common features of the Balticus Bronze models
Although each of the two Balticus watches is a unique creation, both share some common characteristics. Here’s a breakdown of the basics:
- Movement: Japanese Miyota 9015
This is a reliable workhorse movement that stacks up favorably against more expensive ETA movements. With 24 jewels, 28,800 vibrations per hour, and a 42 hour power reserve, this movement won’t disappoint.
- Case material: Marine-grade bronze
Both watches have bronze cases featuring a patina that creates an aged, vintage look. Almost like good wine, old (or old-looking) watches are increasingly in demand. When a watch isn’t actually old, a patina can be applied to give it that time-worn appearance. Balticus says that if you prefer a new, polished appearance, the applied patina can be easily buffed away. Additionally, the casebacks are steel, so you won’t get any smudges on your wrist or shirt cuff. And more importantly, stainless steel is easier on the skin (bronze can give allergic reactions).
- Case dimensions: 44mm in diameter and approx. 13 mm thick, with a lug width of 22 mm
- Dial window: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides for minimal glare
So what sets these two watches apart from one another? Here’s what makes each one special.
Balticus Big Wave
Any art-lover will instantly recognize the image depicted on the dial and case-back. “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is an iconic Japanese woodblock print, and it’s embossed in faithful detail on the dial of the Balticus “Big Wave” watch. The black dial features applied hour markers and printed minute markers, while the Big Wave is printed in SuperLuminova! The Big Wave has impressive luminescence and the entire “Big Wave” lights up as well as all three hands and the indices around the chapter ring. A small date window sits at 4 o’clock.
The steel caseback is held in place with six screws and, like the dial, features an embossed version of the “Great Wave.” The Big Wave features two crowns, at 2 and 4 o’ clock. One adjusts the time; the other operates the internal rotating dive bezel. The crowns are round and, without crown guards on either side, they add to the vintage feel of the watch. They resemble old dive watches from the 1950’s and 1960’s featuring similar double crowns are referred to as “compressor watches. ”
Finally, the strap is black leather with a unique ridged pattern. It’s unusual, and yet it blends so well with the aesthetic of the watch at large that it seems like a perfect fit. The strap features a typical butterfly clasp.
Balticus Grey Seal
Of course, the Grey Seal takes its inspiration from the aquatic mammal inhabiting the Baltic Sea along the shores of Poland. Although the watch face is plain, the caseback features an embossed seal that gives the canny observer a sense of the watch’s geographical origin. Inspired by the smooth skin of the Baltic grey seal, the watch face blends seamlessly from dark grey on top to white on bottom. It’s such a silky-smooth coloration that it almost invites the wearer to reach out and touch it.
The hour markers are applied geometric shapes—triangles, circles, rectangles—which combine with the unadorned watch face for a clean, minimalistic feel. The minute and hour hands are obelisk-shaped and lumed, while the second hand is a thin stick with no lume.
The Grey Seal has the same round, pusher-like crowns as the Big Wave, one adjusting the time and the other operating the rotating internal bezel. Also like the Big Wave, the Grey Seal has a uniquely ridged strap, this time in a rich, luxuriant burgundy color that matches perfectly with the brushed bronze case. The butterfly clasp ensures a snug, comfortable fit.
Limited quantities available
If you like what you’ve seen so far, you’ll need to act quickly. Balticus takes great pride in their craftsmanship and will be releasing each watch in small, limited-run batches. Only 250 pieces will be produced of both the Big Wave and the Great Seal; each will be individually numbered to ensure authenticity. Balticus watches are made in Poland with reliable Japanese movements. They achieve luxury without redefining it. If these watches appeal to you, there’s still time to back the company. You can learn more about Balticus and contribute to their Indiegogo campaign at www.indiegogo.com/projects/balticus-automatic-bronze-watches#/ and on the Balticus Watches website.
Author: Matthew Catellier of www.watchreviewblog.com