From what used to be a young microbrand launched on Kickstarter, Baltic has now become a far more established brand, creating more mature models with serious design… and often a well-controlled vintage twist. For long, watches by Baltic have been powered by Asian movements (to the exception of the GMT) but now comes something that clearly plays in a different league; a hand-wound chronograph with Swiss movement, made together with a world-renowned historic motor racing promoter, with a cool, vintage-inspired design and paired with equally cool racing stopwatches… This is the new Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax Special Edition and we tell you all about it.
Behind Baltic is a young entrepreneur named Etienne Malec, the son of a watch collector who inherited his father’s collection. With this background in mind, Etienne created his own brand, with accessible watches designed to appeal to vintage watch lovers. And success was there, as the microbrand was soon to become an established name in the field of accessible watches, with many collections in its portfolio. From the original 1940s-inspired collection and the inaugural Aquascaphe dive watch, we’re now looking at a brand with an attractive Swiss-powered GMT sports watch, a daring compressor-styled diver, a desirable Calatrava-styled micro-rotor dress watch (which is a victim of its own success) and recently a solid, capable titanium dive watch.
In addition to his love for watches and history of watchmaking, Baltic’s founder has another, less-documented passion; sports cars. And the connection with horology isn’t too difficult to make… The result of these two passions now comes to life, with an entirely new model, with far more serious watchmaking credentials, and backed up by one of the greatest names in the field of historic motor racing. An event organizer, Peter Auto is behind Le Mans Classic, the Tour Auto, Spa-Classic and many more historic rallies and concours d’élégance in France and Europe. Their events are holy grails for any motor racing enthusiast.
So let’s talk about the watch first. The Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax is, once again, looking back at the past and the glorious days of mechanical racing chronographs, with a shape and design elements that will immediately talk to vintage watch enthusiasts. And it adds two things compared to past models – remember that this isn’t the first chronograph of the brand. One, it comes with a more complex design and some rather original accents, all reminiscent of the golden age of motor racing (understandably knowing the connection with Peter Auto). Second, more watchmaking credentials and an overall leap in perceived quality.
The watch itself has an undeniable 1960s feel, in the sense that it draws on classic codes of emblematic vintage racing chronographs such as Heuer, Omega or Rolex, but without copying a specific watch. It also shares various elements with other Baltic models, such as the central case and its straight lugs with holes. The watch is relatively compact in its dimensions, with a 39.5mm diameter – which is mostly due to the size of the bezel, the case itself being smaller – and a height of 13.5mm that feels relatively reasonable considering the movement running inside and the presence of a double-domed and thick sapphire crystal on top. The lug-to-lug measurement is given at 47mm, which is once again totally acceptable for a sports chronograph.
Then comes the classic racing chronograph elements, as the Baltic Tricompax features two “mushroom-styled” pushers, a relatively large crown (good for a hand-wound watch) and a fixed external bezel with a tachymeter scale. The latter is printed in silver on a brushed aluminium inlay in black, and ranges from 200 units to 50 units (not until 60 units like many watches). The caseback, screwed to the case, is decorated with Peter Auto inscriptions (not yet present on the prototype you see in this article) and water-resistance is rated at 50 metres.
The dial of this Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax Special Edition is surely its most striking and appealing element. First, it inaugurates a new layout for the brand – which used to have a Bicompax watch in the past, with a Chinese Seagull calibre inside. Then, it once again looks at the past but also brings its dosage of cool and bold. The base has a pleasant matte, slightly grained and light beige tone that is both discreet and warm, like a lightly faded, patinated watch. The black sub-counters contrast well with the background and, in order to make the dial more dynamic, have a pronounced concentric pattern. Hours and minutes are read with dauphine, silver-polished hands with Super-LumiNova, pointing at discreet applied markers and a black precision minutes/seconds track.
The cool factor comes from multiple inclusions of colour, which give this Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax most of its personality. An ode to 1960s racing colours used in classic liveries, the 30-minute counter, its hand and the central seconds are adorned in bright orange. The 12-hour counter is here rendered in yellow. It’s nicely dosed, not overly present and yet adds a fun, different touch to this motorsport chronograph.
Another element to justify the leap in quality is the movement. No more Asian engines here, but a tried-and-tested Swiss calibre sourced from Sellita, the hand-wound SW510-M. This movement, an alternative to the 7750, shares the same overall architecture with cam-lever system and the same legendary reliability. It’s also more powerful, as the power reserve is announced at a comfortable 63 hours. A no-brainer movement that has a proven track record and is easy to service.
The Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax is delivered on a flat-link stainless steel bracelet with brushed and polished surfaces. It’s closed by a folding clasp with micro-adjustment. Also included is the taupe-coloured calf strap you can see in this article, equipped with a pin buckle. Note that the set also includes a screwdriver to adjust the length of the steel bracelet and a tool to change the strap.
But wait… we’re not done yet. Because the result of this collaboration between Peter Auto and Baltic doesn’t limit to just a watch. There’s more included in the set, specifically two very cool racing stopwatches powered by mechanical hand-wound movements. Once an essential accessory for any racer or team member, stopwatches play an important role in every race weekend, allowing to measure and compare lap times on the track, or special stage times in rallying.
These two flyback stopwatches have a design that matches that of the Tricompax watch, with orange and yellow accents over a beige or black dial. In addition, the Baltic set also comprises an anodized aluminium plate from CarBone Liveries, ideal for integrating them into your classic car dashboard – those who ever participated in a regularity rally will understand how crucial this plate and these stopwatches are… Truly cool and rare in our contemporary watch industry.
Availability & Price
There’s no denying the cool factor of this new Baltic x Peter Auto Tricompax Special Edition with its set of stopwatches. It reflects the jump in quality wanted by the team and feels more like a proper watch than before. The Tricompax Peter Auto Special Edition will be a limited edition of 300 pieces, and it will be on sale on August 26th, 2022 at 4PM on this page on the brand’s website. The price is set at EUR 1,975 (excl. VAT), which feels reasonable knowing the content you’ll get in return.
For more details, please visit baltic-watches.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.