Aquascaphe GMT~ 1105 dollars
The GMT, this is the most romantic of the complications as we love you so much. Deceptively simple but very useful, GMT – which shows time in two or more time zones – has intrigued travelers since Rolex debuted its GMT Master back in 1954. Rolex models have always been the gold standard for GMT watches, and over the years there haven’t been very many options available in space for those who wanted mechanical road watches but didn’t want to spend thousands.
However, this is no longer the case. Since the beginning of the “microbrand” revolution, every little hourly concern around the world has got into the GMT game. Many of them – the majority? – Also incredibly affordable. What a difference in a few years in the world of watches!
Baltic, a French brand entering the market beautiful, vintage watches since early 2017 has finally debuted its own look at GMT, which it calls Aquascaphe GMT. Based on it Aquascaf The diving platform is a 39mm retro watch, inspired in large part by Rolex, but it’s definitely worth it on its own. And given its design, price and synthesis of vintage and modern elements, this could be the best watch of 2020 GMT.
Housing diameter: 39 mm
Housing thickness: 12 mm
Water resistance: 100 m
Mechanism: Soprod C125 GMT
Price: ~ 1105-1200 dollars
Baltic has already created a great platform to host its GMT in the form of Aquascaphe – no need to invent the wheel. And this wheel is damn good: its width is 39 mm, height is only 12 mm, a beautiful dial, three different rim options and a good price. It is also shipped (optional) on one of the most comfortable rice bracelets available now. The best part, though, is the price: you can get to Aquascaphe GMT with a $ 1,200 bracelet.
For whom it is
For those who are looking for an affordable mechanical GMT (automatic, to be exact) and want to combine it with a vintage style, Aquascaphe GMT is your watch. Waterproof to 100 meters, it is ideal for those who are on the move or those who want to relax with a road watch, but do not necessarily worry about Rolex for 10 thousand dollars on the wrists. Although the watch is not designed for diving (GMT has a 24-hour bezel, not a diving bezel), you can easily take it to the pool or ocean without worry.
As we have said, you now have no choice, and this is a big problem. You could go for it Atlas (1950 dollars) from the American boutique brand Monta, although this watch is almost $ 1,000 more expensive than Aquascaphe and does not use a rotating bezel. (Brand Skyquest makes, however, $ 2190.) Then there is Crooms from the British brand Farer for 1485 dollars – a set of features about equal to Aquascaphe GMT for similar money, believed that the bracelet is Milanese. Finally, for $ 1,499 there is Superman Heritage GMT from the French brand Yema, available in several colors.
There will be people who will see the image of this watch and immediately disconnect from its old Rolex / Tudor signals. And I understand that. (Just wait until you see its outer and inner boxes.) However, if you want to be open and consider 1) the artificial shortage of new Rolex sports models 2) the price of both vintage and new Rolex 3 models) that not everyone anyone who likes the aesthetics of Rolex can afford it (indeed, most can’t at 5-figure prices), then you can better appreciate the void in the market that fills in watches like Aquascaphe GMT.
But let’s put aside the “It’s too similar to XYZ” argument for a moment and focus on the watch itself: its dimensions are 39mm wide and 12mm high (including sapphire crystal with a small dome) and run by Soprod C125 GMT motion. For those unfamiliar, this is a Swiss-made mechanism with a 42-hour power reserve and an independently adjustable arrow on GMT. What does it mean to be effective? In short, it means that the clock is (slightly) better for those who follow someone in the second time zone than for those who actually travel, but effectively they work the same for any type of people.
So what is the general design scheme here? Well, like I said, it’s inspired by the Rolex family: you have a glossy black dial from the 90s to the 90s that looks like a circle and a triangle of lumen; external “gilded” minute track; sword arms and GMT arms with arrowheads; rare branding; and a date window (although it has a corresponding black background and is at 6 o’clock, not 3 o’clock). Honestly, it’s a beautiful dial, clean and well executed. c1 Super-Luminova provides legibility at night, and sapphire crystal with double dome and anti-glare glass offers modern reliability in combination with a vintage profile. The GMT hand and the text “Aquascaphe” are also matched to one frame color in each color scheme – a thoughtful touch.
If we talk about the frames, the Rolex police will appear again: there are three colors – green and blue; gray and blue; and orange and blue – each of which really highlights the crown vibes in its medieval clock font. However, these beads are sapphire, which have a bakelite look without the actual fragility of old plastic, and they are bidirectional and 24-click. (If you’re a true nerd, you may also notice that “4” isn’t a flat font, as it appears on many mid-century watches, but rather the more common, curved 4.)
A few things to mention regarding the Aquascaphe design that rarely deserve more consideration: the back of the case and the bracelet. The first is sold in stainless steel and has a cool world map graphics with different time zones detailed on the outer edge, giving the owner at a glance all 24 zones. (It’s cool enough to take off your watch and study them from time to time.) The latter is one of the most comfortable rice bracelets available on modern watches with tools anywhere, complete with hinged clasp, micro-adjustable and 20mm coil springs . It absolutely costs an extra $ 95 or so than the Tropic-style rubber belt option, although in itself it is a very good rubber strap.
The rest of the watch case is not very exciting. Thankfully, it’s well proportioned (in fact, it can be perfectly proportioned for GMT sports watches), but there’s only one surface treatment: the brush. One of my few requests for a more refined design would be to add a polished chamfer or something like that – something to make the design more dynamic. However, I’m just a modest editor, and can’t honestly talk about the costs of adding a potentially complex stage to the production process, and that this will lead to MSRP hours, so I’m willing to shut my mouth. .
Simply put, Aquascaphe GMT is beautiful to wear. It is comfortable, fits well under the cuff, and the bracelet is great. What is my biggest resentment? To tell the truth, the movement is at least in my review. This may be a user error (although I tend to doubt it after 10,000 watch reviews), but twisting the crown was a challenge: if it didn’t catch on in a very specific way, I would start it down and it kept advancing the GMT hand. I would have to keep trying to spin the crown (and accidentally accidentally advance my hand on GMT) until I felt that the crown was “hooked” and only then would I be able to spin it without messing with any of the settings. I haven’t encountered this before in ETA or Sellita based GMT movements and I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but I hope it was just a problem with my review unit. Other than that, no complaints.
If Aquascaphe GMT had come out, say, three to five years ago, it would have been just a recommendation in the “Affordable GMT Automatic Watch” category. Now, of course, there is fierce competition from around the world. However, the Baltic has always been remarkable in one thing: offering watches that look “under the vintage” without directly resembling any particular model. There is obviously a lot of GMT Master in this work, but it is not enough to make someone lose consciousness. (Although there certainly will be some.) For that money, it’s absolutely one of the best purchases available in GMT hours and probably the best to see the world in 2020, this damn year. Do we recommend it? We would be sure.
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