The Baltic Hermétique; A Breath of French Air

My entire life I have been surrounded by technology, more specifically digital technology. To this day I cannot tell you how a modern computer works, but I have a very solid grasp on the inner workings of a mechanical watch1. This is all to say I have been biding my time and trying to save up for (and decide on) my first ever mechanical watch. Originally my budget was set fairly high2, at least enough so I could justify buying a Nomos Club Campus, but life brought me to France. Okay well actually two Boeings3 but you get the point, now that I had the opportunity to live in France for nearly three months it felt wrong to buy a Christopher Ward when Baltic was right in front of me the entire time.

Excited picture right after I bought my watch

I haven’t always been in love with the brand4, but when the Hermétique was first teased I instantly fell in love. The integrated crown, the rail master styled lume and four outdoorsy inspired colors there was nothing I didn’t like. Well except for the finishing, and actually I prefer bright colors, and while I’m at it I just really love the vibe of The Twelve by Christopher Ward. All of these opinions were founded on the photos provided from Baltic, which while good photos, don’t exactly show off the watch in its true glory5. At the end of the day the Baltic Hermétique is a field watch, and therefore shouldn’t have the most flashy finishing or even colors6. Needless to say Baltic’s showroom in Paris was a must visit and the Hermétique was love at third sight.

French watch with French brunch

Okay, so you know where my head was at when I bought this watch, but how has my experience been with the watch since I’ve owned it? Simply put everything about this watch has been great, for me. Even though I will always prefer a bright purple over a beige7 at least the Hermétique is a strap monster and I already have quite a few straps that I am eying in the near future. The size has been great8 and it has just been nice wearing a mechanical watch rather than my previous Swatches.

The Baltic Hermétique with the river Doubs in the background

But let’s take a closer look at the true selling point of this watch (in my humble opinion). The dial is absolutely incredible, I am a big fan of a sector dial and this watch executes this Art Déco style so well9. The beige and black sections are separated by a thin shiny ring. The black outer ring has a bold railroad pattern for the minute track and the baguette indices cross over all three sectors of the dial. Everything about this dial just works well, especially with the vintage themed syringe styled handset10.

Caseback of the Baltic Hermétique

What I wasn’t expecting was the feel. I know that’s weird but despite its relative thinness holding this watch in hand just feels right11. The sharp edges of the case, the weight, and just the brushing is so fine you can barely tell it’s even brushed. Put the beautifully simple and open dial with the pleasingly finished case and bezel and the proportions of the watch, I don’t feel like I need anything else12.

So what do I not like? Luckily I only need a few sentences. The crown is integrated, so as beautiful and comfortable as it is on wrist winding is miserable and setting the time isn’t that great13. The lugs could be a bit shorter and finally, the tropic strap doesn’t quite fit my wrist well. It is easy to get used to the crown so I’m not that fussed about it and I can always get another strap anyways so what are you gonna do?

Box of the Baltic Hermétique

The entire experience of owning this watch has shocked me. I’ll admit in doing all of my research, trying to decide on what my first mechanical watch would be I really thought that I wouldn’t be satisfied with a simple field watch. Not when Studio Underd0g has their delicious strawberry lemonade dial14, or Christopher Ward has the heavily textured, incredibly finished Twelve15, even Nomos has in house movements with absolutely luxuriously proportioned and executed dials16. And yet, the stepped case has the perfect edge, the mirror polished bezel is just the right size to not catch fingerprints17 and the dial is so incredibly readable even with the white lume on the beige dial. I can’t wait until I have a start that will properly fit my wrist.

Lume shot in a French comedy club

If I had to conclude my thoughts, the Baltic Hermétique is a surprisingly spacious little field watch. This field watch is the only of its kind that I have come across that reminds me of a beautiful day in the mountains, maybe even a beach. The Baltic Hermétique is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly modern and urban world.

  1. All springs and gears and stuff right? ↩︎
  2. At least $1,800 ↩︎
  3. My journey was harrowing ↩︎
  4. The HMS 003 also helped ↩︎
  5. I looked at in hand images on Instagram ↩︎
  6. Some underdogs would disagree ↩︎
  7. The beige was the most unique (has that ever been said before?) ↩︎
  8. For the first time ever my wrist feels large ↩︎
  9. Trust me, I did a whole college quarter project on this ↩︎
  10. Not to mention the spacing of the text ↩︎
  11. My favorite surprise ↩︎
  12. Well maybe a leather strap, and a nato strap and a… ↩︎
  13. Still manageable with small enough fingers ↩︎
  14. yummy ↩︎
  15. ooooooo ↩︎
  16. aaaaaaa ↩︎
  17. Or my vision isn’t good enough ↩︎