What if you want the rugged, handsome simplicity that characterizes dive watches — but in a form that stands out from the gazillions of watches that more or less look like iterations of a single design? The super compressor offers just that: an alternative take on the dive watch.
Now, one of our favorite French microbrands has just come out with one of the best looking examples in recent memory. Baltic's new watch, the Aquascaphe Dual Crown, has a fresh design that's underpinned by the classic features of a super compressor. And a highly accessible price — starting around $775 retail — makes it look even better.
To be clear, actual super compressor cases are mostly a relic of the past; they were developed in the 1950s to use water pressure itself to further tighten the watch's seals. The concept is interesting and the history is cool, but this didn't turn out to be the best method for achieving water resistance in watches, and other solutions replaced it.
It's the look of these watches that has remained, and it's primarily defined by two elements today. Rather than the typical dive watch's prominent rotating bezel, a super compressor will have an inner rotating bezel (meaning it's situated under the crystal with the dial). It's controlled by a crown at 2 o'clock, which this is the other feature that gives the super compressor its look: two crowns, with the other one at 4 o'clock functioning as a typical watch's crown does for winding and setting the watch.
Baltic's Aquascaphe Dual Crown has all that and the brand's typically pared-back look, and the effect is instantly captivating in the way classic dive watches should be. At 39mm with a relatively thin 11.9mm profile, the proportions are spot on for a retro-styled watch like this. It's water-resistant to 200m even when you use the bezel's 2 o'clock crown underwater (this crown doesn't screw in).
Available in steel with black or blue dial versions or a black PVD-coated case and black dial, the Aquscaphe Dual Crown is powered by the robust Miyota 9039 automatic movement. It comes on a Tropic-style strap made from recycled plastic or a beads-of-rice steel bracelet for an extra cost of about $84. Starting today, Baltic is accepting pre-orders for a reduced price of around $655, after which the full retail price will be $775.