As far as we’re concerned, it’s official, Baltic are a microbrand no more. The sheer amount of hype surrounding this French brand eclipses that of many a larger, historically established brand. It’s become too ridiculous to put them in the same breath as fresh-faced micros starting out on Kickstarter and so on. As if to confirm their graduation, Baltic have launched a brand new collection called the Baltic Hermétique Tourer, a super slim tool watch. The first reference in the collection is the watch I have here on my wrist currently, the Tourer, which is available in four colours.
First impressions are that it’s really, really comfortable. It measures a very slim 37mm in diameter with a thickness of 10.8mm, 8.3mm without the double-domed sapphire crystal. Can confirm that it slips under a cuff very easily. What makes the Baltic Hermétique Tourer’s case stand out from Baltic’s other models is the integrated crown that blends in seamlessly with the arc of the case.
It means you never have to worry about the crown digging into your wrist and you can wear it on the left or right without any detriment to function. I lent it to the resident office lefty and they agreed it is indeed comfortable on the righthand wrist. Admittedly, its extreme thinness makes it a touch fiddly to use but once you develop the knack of it, it’s not too bad. Ultimately it means the watch is incredibly versatile and will serve virtually any function from daily beater, to robust tool watch and at a push, even dress watch.
I say that because the dial is as equally versatile as the case. It’s a relatively understated three-hand piece with syringe hour and minute hands and a lollypop seconds hand. There’s a black railway minute track around the periphery that encircles a raised central disc with a steel rim. The main disc is available in green, blue, beige and brown, the version I have here obviously being the brown.
At first I wasn’t entirely sold on the hour markers. The way they overlap the central disc and peripheral minute track adds a layer of complexity to the design that I wasn’t sure about. However, after a few days, it’s grown on me. The way the bold lines of the bar indexes intersect with the solid rim of the disc feels very architectural and almost retro-Art Deco. It’s also broken up nicely by the use of Arabic numerals and discs at 12/3/6/9.
In terms of the colour, I’m pleasantly surprised by the brown. Looking at the colours that are available, I’d instinctively reach for the green or sandy beige. But the brown is gorgeously warm in the light and when the sun isn’t shining on it directly it almost has the dark, sun-burnt look of a tropic dial akin to something like the Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 3/6/9.
Coincidentally, that Nivada Grenchen is probably the best comparison to the Baltic Hermétique Tourer full stop. They have similar case designs, similar dial layouts and similar daily beater tool watch design concepts. They also both sport off the shelf workhorse movements with the Tourer housing the Miyota 9039 automatic with 42-hour power reserve. It’s hidden behind a solid steel caseback that helps the watch maintain its 150m water resistance. The first 200 pieces in each colour will also be numbered on the caseback.
Priced at €550 (approx. £476) on rubber strap or €630 (approx. £545) on either flat link or beads of rice bracelet, it’s just as accessible as any previous Baltic. It’s a cool watch, it’s totally new for Baltic yet somehow completely within their wheelhouse. If you make a scale with the Aquascaphe on one end and the MR01 on the other, this watch is certainly on that scale. I think it will be a sleeper hit, not super hyped but well respected when you come across one.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Baltic Hermétique Tourer
- Case/dial: 37mm diameter x 10.8mm thickness, stainless steel case with green, blue, beige or brown matte dial
- Water resistance: 150m (15 bar)
- Movement: Miyota calibre 9039, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 42h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: Tropic FKM rubber or stainless steel beads of rice bracelet or stainless steel flat link bracelet
- Price/availability: €550 (approx. £476) (strap) or €630 (approx. £545) (bracelet)