I have been ogling the Baltic MR01 for some time now. As far as the world of micro-rotor watches goes, this is a diamond in the rough. To get a micro-rotor watch at this price point is criminal and I must say, I'm quite impressed. These are all first impressions from videos and press shots of the watch which have led me to bite the bullet and pony up for one. I hope to receive it in a couple of weeks and I’ll be able to properly assess these first impressions.
First and foremost, a micro-rotor movement is a marvel of engineering. Looking at shots of the watch it’s incredibly slim and Baltic quotes the depth at 9.9mm. That’s pretty slim for an automatic. It just oozes elegance. The rotor, being smaller and positioned within the movement, gives a clear view of that beautifully decorated movement. To be honest, Chinese manufactured movements are fast catching up and the economies of scale make them a viable alternative to much expensive Swiss counterparts. A highly decorated micro-rotor for less than a thousand dollars, I would never have believed it if I’d been told this tale a decade ago. Although the Japanese make some efficient movements at the lower tier of the watch market, if you are looking for something interesting, you certainly can’t ignore these Chinese movements. They pack a mean punch, which is perfect for someone like me who appreciates understated sophistication at an affordable price point.
The craftsmanship from Baltic as always looks impeccable. The case flank is meticulously polished, and the dial is a work of art, with its intricate details and finely executed Breguet numerals for the indices. The Salmon dial version looks quite interesting and that’s the version I’ve opted for. Hopefully, it doesn’t disappoint in real life. I think the use of Hesalite instead of Sapphire is time-appropriate as this watch hacks back to a 1920s style. Until I purchased my Lorier Neptune and Timex Marlin 34mm, I had a trepidation for Hesalite as I thought it would scuff and scratch easily leading to a blemished look. Truthfully, unless you’re using your watch for construction work, I think it should hold up fine. A few scratches a couple of months can be buffed out easily with some Polywatch and elbow grease. The warmth and distortion from domed Hesalite is quite an interesting character to bring to a watch like this.
What’s pushed me over the edge to get the BR01, is its beautifully sized proportions. I’m a small-wristed guy and anything that’s 36mm or less at the affordable end of the spectrum always tickles my fancy. I don’t know if you guys here have noticed though, but finding smaller-sized watches around 36mm or less in an affordable package is quite a task. So the idea of owning a watch that not only embodies a highly technical piece of mechanical watchmaking but also packaged in a diminutive form at an affordable price was just too good to pass up for long. I didn’t pull the trigger earlier because of the waitlist last year and earlier this year, but once they were back in stock I just couldn’t hold on any longer.
Truth be told, part of purchasing a timepiece is emotive. It's not just about telling time; it's about enjoying the experience and embracing a piece of art on your wrist. The BR01 is ticking all the right boxes for me, and I can't help but add it to my collection soon. It's a testament to the artistry and innovation of watchmaking that continues to captivate enthusiasts like us.