In late 2019, I tortured myself for several weeks to choose which diver—amongst a short list of three—would be the best and constitute my first “serious” watch purchase. Although I won’t disclose which were the other two on the list, I’ll let you know which one won: the Baltic Aquascaphe Classic. “Classic” because it was the brand’s first diver and since then, Baltic has released several versions of it, including the Dual-Crown which we will take a look at here.
I have had a weakness for dive watches for many years. I like the fact that they are robust tool watches, and it’s nice to see independent brands making divers that still look like proper tool watches (as opposed to Rolex or Omega that make luxury divers now). The Aquascaphe Classic was a joy to wear but it looked more vintage than utilitarian (and this is not to say that it wasn’t capable, however.) So I was over the moon when Baltic released the Dual-Crown as it looks and feels more like a bad-ass diver (at least to me).
One of the many things Baltic does great is dimensions: the Dual-Crown comes in with a diameter of 39mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm, a thickness of 11.9mm, and a lug width of 20mm. As the dimensions indicate, it wears great. The case sits flat on the wrist and has the typical elongated step-case profile that Baltic timepieces are known for. As its name indicates, the Dual-Crown has a compressor-style case and comes with a black PVD finish and matching black dial and black tropic strap. The whole package screams black-ops!
Behind the stainless steel case-back beats the Miyota 9039, a thin movement that runs at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 42 hours of power reserve. Baltic has been using this movement for a while and this is for a good reason: it’s reliable and its skinny profile makes it possible to keep the watch thin whilst boasting 200 meters of water resistance. For that depth, the Dual-Crown naturally comes with a screw-down crown (at the 4 o’clock position to wind the movement and adjust the time) and case back.
Lastly, as any proper Dual-Crown compressor-style should have, the bezel is of the bi-directional inner-rotating type and is activated by the non-screw-down crown at the 2 o’clock position. The crystal is made of a domed piece of sapphire and is endowed with heaps of anti-reflective coating, giving us a clear view of the ink-black glossy dial and accompanying thick layers of BGW9. A neat little detail are the hands that are brushed and not polished, therefore preventing light reflections to make reading time easier.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
/w Black PVD Finish
47mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Bi-directional Internal Bezel
Screwed Crown & Caseback
200m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed Sapphire /w AR|
Black Gloss Dial
42-Hour Power Reserve
Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown PVD
The Dual-Crown is one of five versions of the Aquascaphe currently available in the Baltic catalog. Although the brand has released other collections that have been equally popular, Baltic does have a knack for making great divers. The brand’s founder, Etienne Malec, is a diver himself and often wears divers. I think it’s pretty neat to see the brand offer five versions of a popular style of sports watch, which means there is an Aquascaphe for everyone.
I’ve seen black PVD watches before but there is one thing I had yet to see: high polished chamfers on the case side and bezel housing. Generally, PVD watches come with an even finish. Baltic, as always, did something a little different. These polished chamfers do look like what you imagine—polished stainless steel—and they do what you know they do: add reflective surfaces on the case to make an otherwise dull case playful.
On a final point of interest I would like to direct your attention to one element that makes Baltic stand apart from other independent brands in the tool-watch genre: Baltic makes true tool watches. What I mean is that the brand makes certain decisions that render the watch deliberate and purposeful. It doesn’t try to “destroy” the industry by going above and beyond by, for instance, putting high-end or obscure movements inside their watches.
Looking at the Dual-Crown, Baltic made the following key decisions: there is minimal text on the dial to keep it legible; the brushed and not polished hands are easy to see; there is a stark contrast between the ink-black dial and white-colored lume, again making the dial highly legible; the seconds hand has an abnormally large lume plot to make it…guess…easy to read.
To me, the aforementioned elements of interest explain why Baltic watches are so popular.
I have one quibble with the Dual-Crown. And this quibble can be copied and pasted on future reviews of any compressor-style timepieces. And that is the crown at the 2 o’clock position and the fact that it cannot be easily operated while wearing the watch on the wrist. So yes, it does operate the gorgeous black inner-rotating bezel but this cannot be done while wearing the watch. So if I can’t do it while sitting quietly in my apartment, I can’t imagine a professional diver doing it while underwater and wearing gloves.
So this quibble is not really directed at Baltic because the brand didn’t intend to re-invent the wheel here. The brand wanted to release a diver inspired from a different era of iconic dive watches, and I love the fact that they did. It is, after all, a handsome watch that is well-built and that comes with impressive specifications. I just don’t get how we’re supposed to easily operate the inner rotating bezel.
I got my hands on other dual-crowns divers and the problem was the exact same.
I’ve been a big fan of Baltic for many years. I owned an Aquascaphe Classic and the GMT version. Baltic knows how to make well-proportioned vintage-inspired tool watches that still look like proper tool watches. It doesn’t try to impress by doing something revolutionary or outlandishly bizarre. Baltic makes good watches that offer great value for the money and that are comfortable to wear.
You should also know that the Dual-Crown comes with a stainless steel case and a black or blue dial with matching black or blue tropic straps. You can also get it on the handsome and comfortable beads-of-rice bracelet which elevates the overall look of the watch.
The Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown PVD retails for €650 ($660USD approx.). For more information, please visit the brand website.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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