Introducing the Aquascaphe, Baltic’s First Vintage-Inspired Dive Watch

Since bursting onto the scene with a pair of handsome ‘40s-inspired watches at a great price point, Baltic has deservedly been at the center of a whole lot of attention for such a young brand. The hype surrounding their next release, then, has been intense. Early teases of a classic ‘50s style diver with blended notes of Rolex, Blancpain, and even Panerai have only stoked the flames, so now that preorders are open on this new Aquascaphe series the question is obvious: Does Baltic’s sophomore album live up to these high expectations? Early signs point to yes.

Click here to listen to Baltic founder, Etienne Malec, on The Worn & Wound Podcast

Introducing the new Baltic Aquascaphe dive watch, shown here in Blue & Gilt.

The Aquascaphe gets its overall classic sporty shape from Baltic’s earlier HMS and Bicompax models, with longish lugs, a double-domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, and an overall compact shape at just 39 x 47 millimeters. The Aquascaphe takes a turn in its own direction with a sapphire-topped unidirectional bezel to mimic the classic look of Bakelite. The effect is impressive, and the bezel design itself is elegantly simple with minimal dots at the hours in between the main 15/30/45-minute markings and the triangle at 12 o’clock. The overall look has shades of vintage Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, while being pared down and proportionally changed enough to feel like its own style. 

Despite sharing much of its architecture with Baltic’s previous cases, the case of the Aquascaphe doesn’t suffer in depth rating with a respectable 200 meters of resistance.

The dial, meanwhile, comes in three distinct options: Black & Silver, Black & Cream, and a striking Blue & Gilt. The overall style is an intriguing blend here, with pointed baton hands and the Arabic 12 harkening back to very early Rolex Submariners while the triangles at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock carry a whiff of classic Tudor. These triangles hide one of the Aquascaphe’s most interesting visual details— the Panerai-style sandwich dial cutouts. These cutouts add a touch of visual depth to a design that already has an impressive amount of detail for the price, but overall the addition feels right and the dial comes off feeling nicely balanced. 

The impressive trio.

The Aquascaphe’s movement, a Miyota 9039, solves a point of contention among fans of the brand. While the brand’s previous Bicompax chronograph was a success, the Chinese-made Seagull ST-19 movement was enough to make some enthusiasts wary. The Miyota 9039, as a slimmed-down, no-date variant of the ubiquitous 9015 automatic, should put those fears to rest. As an added bonus, like their previous models, all Aquascaphe movements will be thoroughly tested in Baltic’s factory in Besançon, France before final approval. 

When faced with the challenge of their first diver and their first bracelet, most manufacturers take the simple route of an oyster bracelet. Not so for Baltic. Always ready to go above and beyond their price, Baltic offers the Aquascaphe on a solid-end-link beads-of-rice bracelet with quick-release bars. A beads-of-rice can pose a manufacturing challenge even for experienced brands, but Baltic nails it on their first attempt here with crisp finishing and a tidy overall fit. Just for good measure, Baltic is also offering a rubber tropic strap for even more old-school appeal. 

Great to see a beads-of-rice bracelet here and not just another oyster.

From what we’ve seen so far there’s a lot to like about the new Baltic Aquascaphe, and like previous brand offerings it’s a solid value as well. Pre-orders on Baltic’s website are currently sitting at $555 with the tropic strap and $630 with the bracelet. Once pre-orders close, however, those numbers rise to $663 and $755, respectively. Baltic

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.