It sprinkled star dust a second time …
“go upright among those who are on their knees among those with their backs turned.”
When I think about Bartek and his company Balticus, these words – being a part of Z. Herbert’s “Message of Mr. Cogito” – come to me directly and seem extremely accurate.
Many of us often meet our national characteristics, not necessarily good, such as jealousy, malice. Those who most often base their existence on the above-mentioned characteristics call it criticism quite mistakenly. And this so-called criticism is often faced by Polish watch manufacturers.
You see, the stay in cold Iceland immunized Bartek quite strongly and he doesn’t seem to be bothered by this “criticism”. His company has recently transformed into a joint-stock company, which is quite an event when it comes to the watch industry in Poland. Every few months, a new model appears in the manufacturer’s offer. This time we are dealing with a re-edition of the most famous model of Balticus, which can be called a hit, namely Stardust. The Balticus Stardust of the first edition had a few weak points, which were widely discussed on forums and watch groups. Did Bartek listen to the voice of the people, draw conclusions? You will learn this and more from my review.
The first element is a cardboard box. Inside there is the proper packaging of the watch. It is quite thickly varnished and gives the impression of being very solid. Inside, you will find a set that includes: a watch, a bracelet, a leather strap, a warranty card and a cloth with the Balticus logo. The material that lines the inside of the box is also a plus – it is soft and pleasant to the touch.
At first glance, we see a lot of angles and breaks. The first element is the proper case, in the form of an octagon. It has been given additional breaks in the form of cut, polished edges along the watch. It looks really good and makes the base of the case look slightly oval. The same method was used on the back of the case. However, the most eye-catching – looking at the watch from above – is the twelve-sided bezel. Its front part is brushed and has 6 wide cuts. Its plane, however, is not vertical, but goes lower at an angle. And this element is polished, which gives a very nice effect to the eye. Interestingly, many people have anointed this watch as the homage of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. I was surprised and surprised to this day, because there we deal with an octagonal shape of a bezel, and here we have a dodecagon.
From the bottom, the case is closed with a polished, screw-on caseback, on which we can find information about the water resistance, which is 200M in this model, and the serial number. The center of the caseback is made of shiny stars on a matte background. At 3 o’clock there is a logged, screw down crown. I handle the crown quite well, but people with big fingers may have a problem with it because it is quite short. But let’s be honest – a longer crown would completely ruin the look of this watch.
Some of you are probably curious how the current case differs from the previous one. The first difference is the dimensions of the case. The newer version has been reduced by 2 mm compared to the first, so its width is 40 mm. Due to the fact that I have a wrist with a circumference of almost 20 cm, I like watches with a case width of 42-45 mm. When ordering the new Stardust, I didn’t hesitate for a moment, because the shape of the case optically enlarges it significantly. The watch is worn like the standard 41 – 42mm in a round case. The thickness of the case is also a big plus. It has been reduced to 11.5 mm, and if we add slightly protruding glass to it, the final value is 11.8 mm. The whole thing looks quite flat and thanks to the well-contoured lugs, the watch fits well on the wrist when worn.
The dial, as in the case of the previous model, was made of aventurine, which is characterized by the spectacular play of its mineralized structure. There are polished indices around the dial. They have been divided into two parts. Their smaller part – in the form of rectangles – were filled with Superluminowa. Descending to the center, the longitudinal indices have the shape of triangular prisms, in which one of the edges has been slightly cut. The indices are fully polished, additionally the index at 12 o’clock has a milling cutter along its entire length.
The minute and hour hands were made in a similar style. I really like their geometry, and the bevelled edges at their ends clearly refer to the above-mentioned indices. Light refracts perfectly on them. The second hand, on the other hand, takes the form of a simple, thin hand with a tip at the end. All hands were filled with the same Superluminum as the indices . At this point, I must admit out that the quality and length of the luminescent mass has been significantly improved compared to the previous version of this model.
When buying a watch, you can choose a version with or without a date. For me, the choice was simple as I use the date function quite often at work. The date window has been quite nicely integrated into the whole by adding a polished frame. The background of the date is black and the numbers are white.
The dial also features the company’s name and information about the automatic movement used in the watch. At the bottom, between 5 and 7 o’clock, there is the inscription Made in Poland.
The Miyota 9015 is responsible for the work of the watch, which is often compared with the ETA 2824-2, due to the frequency of operation, amounting to 28 800 / h. At the same time, it is a thinner movement, and its power reserve is 42h (ETA in the basic version – 38h). I will not elaborate on the mechanism, because it is a popular workhorse, the descriptions of which can be found on the Internet. In the undated version, the Miyota 9039 movement is responsible for the work of the watch. The only difference is that the 9039 does not have a date module. As a curiosity, I would like to say that the Longines company in its one of the better recognizable models – the Legend Diver – uses a movement with a date module, regardless of whether the dial has a date window or not.
The bracelet fits perfectly with the case, because its width in the lugs, 26mm, is the same as the width of the lugs on the outside. The whole thing looks like a well thought-out combo. In addition, the lugs are extremely short, and the fact that they are there is only visible when looking from underneath. From the front side, you can see a cut surface with a polished element protruding in the center, which fits perfectly with the lugs. Bracelet narrows from 26mm to 20mm at the clasp. It is screwed on one side, so we can quickly adjust it. The clasp is also adjustable, although it is not a micro-adjustment that can be found most often – by attaching the spring bar to the appropriate holes – but using two buttons on both sides of the clasp. The adjustment works quite smoothly. Interestingly, the logo on the clasp is not engraved, but stamped. In watches from this price range, such a solution practically doesn’t happen, because it requires additional expenditure. The clasp is solid. I would say too solid for this type of watch and bracelet and this is the only thing that does not suit me in this watch. In my opinion, it is a perfect match for diver watches, where the sporty nature of the diver cannot be questioned. In this case, the clasp overwhelms and shakes the whole concept. This is of course my subjective opinion 🙂 It is worth mentioning that this clasp has also been used in the much more expensive Nomad model, and Mateusz Przystał is its designer and designer of the watch.
However, the great advantage is the speed of taking off and putting on the bracelet. This is possible thanks to special spring bars with two pins. Just squeeze them with your fingers and slide the bracelet out of lugs.
Despite the subjective feeling about the size of the clasp, I have to admit that the bracelet is very comfortable to wear.
The strap is made of leather and the fastening system is similar to that of the bracelet. The leather appears to be of very good quality. In addition, on the inside we find the name Balticus, and information that it is a genuine leather strap. The buckle is signed. The seams are made evenly.
The new Balticus Stardust is undoubtedly an improved version of its older brother. It was significantly slimmed down, which in my opinion had a very good effect on the overall reception. Due to the less thickness, it’s much more comfortable to wear than the previous model. I am also glad that Bartek took some remarks and decided to use the Miyota 9015, because it is a very nice design, which allows the thickness of the case to be limited. It also has a higher work culture than the previously used movement. The hands and indices have been really well designed, and their polished surface harmonizes very nicely not only with the shimmering dial, but also with the polished elements of the case and bracelet. Talking to Konrad, I said half-jokingly that this is a watch of the “just don’t look down” genre. I mean the clasp which seems to me to be too solid. On the other hand, we hardly ever look at them. However, we have an extremely beautiful dial, case, a very good movement and a lot of fun to wear. And it also delight family and friends who see the shimmering dial and the unusual case. The designers’ assumption was that every element of the watch – even the crown, the cuts of which have many angles – should be an instrument designed for the play with light. It is enough to look at the watch and move your wrist gently to notice that this art has been successful.
In my opinion, Bartek proves once again that he can, above all, create a watch, which is the result of thoughts, and not just another projection, playing on the popularity of the first edition of Stardust.
A few more words – Konrad
More than once it happened that I was in possession of a watch model that Tomek used to have in his collection previous, and vice versa. There were even times when one sold the watch to another. The Balticus Star Dust 40mm, however, was the first watch that we both wanted and bought at the same time. I have been waiting for a long time for this version, the premiere of which, unfortunately, was a little longer. After the Deep Water model was made available to us for review, I knew that Balticus watches would be on a different level from then on. I had high expectations for the quality that the 40mm stardust model met 100%. Although the watch looks similar to the older version at first glance, a closer inspection reveals that it is a completely new, definitely improved design. The matching of individual elements – bezel with an case, bracelets with an case, a date window, quality of indices and hands, luma, anti-reflection on glass – are not one level but two levels higher. And although the watch still gives the impression of being massive, it is much more wearable and on my 18cm wrist present perfectly. I am glad that the company is constantly developing, now Balticus has established cooperation with the W.KRUK boutique and will be available (for now) in their online sales. Everything is going in the direction that Balticus will turn from a microbrand into a full-size watch procuder, which I wish Bartek with all my hear.