Etienne Malec: Carrying Forward a Legacy of Passion and Precision
The driving force behind the brand Baltic Watches is none other than Etienne Malec, a passionate watch enthusiast from France. His love for watches began at a young age of 15, but his connection to the world of timepieces runs even deeper. Etienne’s father, Malec, played a significant role in shaping his fascination with watches.
Tragically, Etienne lost his father when he was just five years old due to an illness. Malec’s father, a professional photographer and an avid collector of cars, cameras, and watches, left behind a profound legacy. As a professional photographer, he maintained a special diary where he meticulously documented every watch that crossed his path. In addition to capturing detailed pictures of each watch, Malec’s father recorded vital information in the diary.
The diary served as a treasure trove of details about the watches, including their purchase dates, the amount paid, whether they were acquired through an exchange, and even information on sales, including who the watch was sold to, the date of the sale, and the selling price. Malec’s father meticulous approach ensured that the watches’ histories were not lost and became an invaluable resource for future generations.
Upon his passing, Malec’s father bequeathed his vast collections to his family, which included a remarkable assortment of watches. This inheritance became the catalyst for Etienne’s deepening fascination with horology. Inspired by his father’s passion and the wealth of knowledge passed down through the diary, Etienne embarked on a mission to create timepieces that captured the essence of classic watchmaking while embracing contemporary design and innovation.
On Baltic Watches website, Malec writes –
My passion for watchmaking was born the day I discovered my father’s watch collection. I sadly didn’t know him enough, he was a photographer, collector, and true enthusiast. For years, he minutely kept a diary in which he kept a trace of every watch that crossed his path in his life.
Being immersed in his diary and in his collection was the start of my watchmaking story, a story that started in 2005 and which continues to grow as each day goes by. It’s this heritage, the fortunate encounters in the close-knit community of enthusiasts and a desire to approach modern watchmaking from a different perspective which led me to found Baltic in 2016. This name has a special meaning for me as it refers to my fathers’ roots on the northern coast of Poland.
This adventure is the best tribute I could pay to my father and the ideal way to express my inspirations. From transmission to passion, from passion to creation. Thank you for keeping this story alive.
Malec Starts Baltic Watches
Malec’s father watch collection consisted of around 100 timepieces, most of which were acquired by him from flea markets over the years. However, amidst these treasures, Etienne Malec noticed that there were also watches of remarkable horological craftsmanship. This discovery sparked Etienne’s curiosity, leading him to delve into the world of these timepieces, their manufacturers, and the distinct genres they belonged to.
Driven by his newfound fascination, Etienne immersed himself in extensive reading about watches, sought out encounters with seasoned collectors and experts in the field, and gradually built a solid knowledge base and valuable connections. These experiences not only allowed him to deepen his understanding of the watches his father had collected but also enabled him to appreciate the nuances of watchmaking.
In 2014, Etienne made a pivotal decision to transform his passion into a full-fledged venture, thus establishing BALTIC. He considers his father’s watch collection as the wellspring of inspiration for the company’s diverse range of models. Through this collection, he was introduced to a variety of watch genres and familiarized himself with the technical terminology associated with horology. Etienne also developed a discerning eye for the proportions and dimensions that make a timepiece truly exceptional.
While not every watch in his father’s collection resonated with him, Etienne found himself particularly drawn to certain styles, especially chronograph watches and diving watches. These became the foundation upon which he built the watches for his company, carefully incorporating the elements that captivated him the most.
Overall, it was the fusion of his father’s collection, his growing knowledge of watches, and his personal preferences that shaped the unique timepieces crafted by BALTIC.
How The Company Raised to Success?
Even before BALTIC’s first watch, Etienne Malec started his hard work. Malec established relationships with watch aficionados and collectors in Paris and throughout Europe when he first began sharing his ambition of founding a watch firm with them in 2015. Malec’s name started to pop up frequently in online forums and Facebook groups for watch collectors and aficionados. Even before 2017, sketches of his watch prototypes began to surface online, so when his KICKSTARTER project began, BALTIC, or Etienne Malec actually, had already established himself among watch aficionados and collectors throughout Europe, making the launch of the business simpler.
Since then, Etienne Malec has made significant investments in social networks and creating direct interaction with customers and watch lovers, similar to many other microbrand watch manufacturers. On numerous communities for watch enthusiasts, he can be found having chats by himself. If you’d like, you may get in touch with the business via its website and, of course, its social media pages. You can also find Malec taking part in interviews and podcasts all over the internet, where he discusses the unique backstory of BALTIC.
First Kickstarter Campaign
Baltic Watches launched their first Kickstarter campaign on May 1, 2017, with a goal of raising €50,000. The campaign featured a distinct logo and was aimed at funding the production of two watch models: the HMS 001 and the Bicompax 001. By the end of the campaign on May 31, 2017, they had far exceeded their initial goal, with a total of €514,806 pledged. This remarkable achievement made it the most successful watch campaign on Kickstarter at the time.
In an interview to the-smalltalk.com, Malec says that his father was native from Poland, actually from the north, near the sea and he came to France at an early age. Malec says that he decided that he wants to his brand to be a homage to him and his family roots in Poland, that’s why he chose the name Baltic.
Watch Production and Design
The production of Baltic Watches is distributed across three different regions: the majority of the components are produced in Hong Kong, the watches are assembled and adjusted in France, and the accessories line is produced in Italy. Once the various components are manufactured, they are sent to their atelier in Besançon, France for assembly and adjustment. They take pride in partnering with some of the best manufacturers in horology to provide the best quality on the market at their price range.
The BALTIC watch collection is a neo-vintage watch collection. Some of the timepieces are precise reproductions of Malec’s father watches, while others are a more modern interpretation of Etienne Malec. Malec has stated in several interviews that the timepieces are “assembled in France” (Essembled in France). What does this mean exactly? That is an excellent question. Malec uses many times Miyota automatic and Chinese SEAGULL manual winding calibers. However, the assembly quality and amount of detail of the timepieces are excellent.
The company’s timepieces have a number of significant features from the mid-twentieth century. Graduated clock bodies, domed sapphire glass, a classic and clean style for the clock faces, a variety of finishes on the clock faces, and clocks that are not overly huge and very delicate in appearance.
The timepieces’ overall appearance is relatively modest, inspired by the Art Deco style. When these watches are particularly delicate and have a traditional and attractive appearance, you may easily mistake them for something from the previous century.
Baltic Watches – Popular Models
- Aquascaphe: This is Baltic’s most popular model, and it’s a great choice for those who are looking for a stylish and functional dive watch. It’s water-resistant to 200 meters, and it features a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, and a sapphire crystal. The Aquascaphe is available in a variety of colors and dial styles, so you can find one that suits your taste.
- HMS 002: This model is inspired by vintage military watches, and it features a 38mm stainless steel case, a black dial with white markings, and a brown leather strap. The HMS 002 is powered by a Miyota 821A automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 42 hours.
- Bicompax 003: This watch is a chronograph, and it features two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock. It has a 40mm stainless steel case, a blue dial with white markings, and a steel bracelet. The Bicompax 003 is powered by a Miyota 90S5 automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 45 hours.
- Tricompax: This model is a chronograph with three subdials, and it’s inspired by vintage racing watches. It has a 41mm stainless steel case, a black dial with white markings, and a brown leather strap. The Tricompax is powered by a Sellita SW510 automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 42 hours.
- Aquascaphe Bronze: This watch is made with a bronze case, which gives it a unique and attractive patina over time. It has a 41mm case, a blue dial with gilt accents, and a brown leather strap. The Aquascaphe Bronze is powered by a Sellita SW200 automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 38 hours.
- Aquascaphe GMT: This watch is a GMT model, which means it has an extra hour hand that can be used to track a second time zone. It has a 41mm stainless steel case, a blue dial with white markings, and a steel bracelet. The Aquascaphe GMT is powered by a Sellita SW200 automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 38 hours.
- Baltic Aquaracer: This watch is inspired by the classic TAG Heuer Aquaracer, and it features a 40mm stainless steel case, a black dial with white markings, and a rubber strap. The Baltic Aquaracer is powered by a Miyota 90S5 automatic movement, and it has a power reserve of 45 hours.
Baltic Watches FAQ
- Is Baltic A Good Watch?
Baltic watches are generally considered to be good watches. They are made with high-quality materials and construction, and they have a classic, timeless design. Baltic watches are also relatively affordable, making them a good value for the money. Here are some of the pros and cons of Baltic watches:
Pros: High-quality materials and construction, Classic, timeless design, Affordable, Good customer service
Cons: Some models use Japanese movements instead of Swiss movements, Limited availability
- What country is Baltic watches from?
Baltic watches are from France. They are designed and assembled in Besançon, France.
- Is Baltic the best microbrand?
Baltic is a great microbrand, but it’s not the only one. There are many other microbrands that offer high-quality watches at an affordable price. Ultimately, the best microbrand for you will depend on your individual preferences. If you’re looking for a high-quality dive watch, Zelos is a great option. If you’re looking for a vintage-inspired watch, Farer is a great option. And if you’re looking for an affordable luxury watch, Christopher Ward is a great option. Baltic also has some great watches which can be a perfect fit for vintage chronograph lovers, vintage inspired watch fans and more.
- Is Baltic a microbrand?
Yes, Baltic is a microbrand. A microbrand is a watch brand that produces a limited number of watches each year. Microbrands are typically founded by watch enthusiasts who want to create high-quality watches at an affordable price
Baltic Watches – Summary
This article delves into the world of Baltic watches, a brand that has gained considerable attention in recent years for its exceptional craftsmanship and vintage-inspired designs. With a focus on creating timepieces that pay homage to classic mid-20th century aesthetics, Baltic has captured the hearts of watch enthusiasts worldwide. This article highlights the key features, historical context, and growing popularity of Baltic watches.
- A Heritage of Craftsmanship: Baltic watches are synonymous with impeccable craftsmanship. Drawing inspiration from iconic timepieces of the past, Baltic meticulously creates watches that exhibit a blend of vintage charm and modern reliability. Every watch is meticulously assembled, with attention to detail given to every component, resulting in timepieces that exude quality and precision.
- Vintage Aesthetics: Baltic watches stand out for their vintage aesthetics, which evoke a sense of nostalgia and timeless elegance. From the domed sapphire crystals to the elegant dials and carefully crafted hands, every element of a Baltic watch reflects the brand’s commitment to capturing the essence of classic watchmaking. The use of traditional color palettes, vintage-inspired numerals, and finely crafted cases further enhance the vintage appeal of Baltic watches.
- Affordable Luxury: While Baltic watches boast exceptional craftsmanship and vintage design elements, they remain relatively affordable compared to other luxury watch brands. This affordability factor has contributed significantly to the brand’s success, as it allows watch enthusiasts to own a high-quality timepiece with timeless appeal without breaking the bank. Baltic has struck a balance between affordability and luxury, making their watches accessible to a wide range of consumers.
- Nod to History: Baltic’s success lies not only in its exceptional watches but also in its appreciation for horological history. The brand often references iconic timepieces and horological milestones, paying homage to the heritage and traditions of watchmaking. By incorporating elements from the past into their designs, Baltic creates watches that resonate with both seasoned collectors and enthusiasts new to the world of watches.
- Rapidly Growing Popularity: In recent years, Baltic watches have experienced a surge in popularity among watch enthusiasts. The brand’s commitment to quality, attention to detail, and vintage-inspired designs have earned it a dedicated following. Baltic’s strong presence in online communities, social media, and collaborations with like-minded artisans and designers have further propelled its popularity, cementing its position as a noteworthy player in the watch industry.
Overall, Baltic watches offer an alluring combination of vintage aesthetics, quality craftsmanship, and affordability. With a clear dedication to honoring horological traditions and an eye for design, Baltic has managed to capture the attention of watch enthusiasts around the world. As the brand continues to grow, it is poised to leave a lasting mark on the watch industry with its timeless and elegant timepieces.