AE. 25 | Etienne Malec & Baltic Watches

AE 25

Exploring Baltic Watches: Embracing Vintage Charm in the Symphony of Life

Etienne Malec is the founder and Chef d’Orchestre behind Baltic Watches. He is a photographer, classic car collector, and a friend of ours in the #watchfam. What draws so many of us to Baltic Watches is the symphony Etienne has orchestrated of vintage design, modern manufacturing, and affordable watches. While Baltic Watches pays homage to design concepts of the past, Baltic has formed its own unique design language that makes its watches stand out with every new release. There is always something that resonates in the #watchfam with a Baltic watch. In this episode, we explore its beginnings.

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Baltic Beginnings

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Etienne’s passion for watch collectingsparked when, at 16 years old, he finally opened an old suitcase, with over a hundred watches collected by his late father. Losing his father at the age of 5, Etienne had few living memories of his father or understanding of his passions. He began to connect with his father’s memory through the cars (which his mother unfortunately sold as they took up too much space), cameras, and, more importantly, the watches that his father collected. “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. “

“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. “

Etienne Malec

His father was an avid collector, often meeting with watch collectors and trading watches in Paris, France. With every watch he acquired, traded, or sold, he meticulously documented each of them in a dedicated journal. Etienne immersed himself in these records and the collection. Through it, he developed his own deep passion for watches, watch design history, and maintaining vintage timepieces. “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.”

Founded in France in 2016, Baltic Watches launched successfully through Kickstarter a year later surpassing its €65,000 goal with €514,806 pledged by backers. Much of Baltic’s design ethos comes from Etienne’s explorations of his father’s extensive watch collection. The name “Baltic” pays homage to Etienne’s father and familial roots, that of Poland’s northern coast. The brand’s “C” symbolizes the “wave” from the Baltic Sea.

Etienne | Chef d’Orchestre (Conductor)

While chatting with Etienne, he mentioned that his role at Baltic is not that of a designer but rather that of a conductor. It’s a fitting perspective after getting to know him and what he has crafted into the brand.

Like a conductor leading an orchestra, each watch (and the film behind it) is like another movement in a symphony. Personally, I enjoy that with every new model release there is an ambient film created just for the launch. It isn’t quite a documentary, nor an aggressive marketing push, but rather a portrayal of the tone that Baltic felt when designing it. The film focuses on what the watch means to the team behind the brand and seeks to inspire their wearers to tell their own story.

Vintage Style | Watches & Cars

Etienne and Baltic Watches are passionate about celebrating vintage style and heritage in a way that can be taken out into the world by their wearer. Regardless if the adventure is on the summit of a peak, to the depths of the sea, at the desk of an office, or behind the steering wheel on track day, Baltic’s watches are meant to be worn.

In 2024, the brand is the official timekeeper of the Tour Auto, a prestigious classic car rally in France. This event celebrates vintage cars and showcases them in a race that combines both track and road stages, embodying a blend of history and competitive spirit that aligns perfectly with Baltic Watches’ ethos.

Aquascaphe Bronze | Forged in Time

Since Baltic’s release of their original Aquascaphe, I have been a fan of what Etienne and Baltic have accomplished within the “microbrand” space of watch collecting. For my 2020 Father’s Day from my wife, I received the original (numbered) blue guilt dial Aquascaphe Bronze. Little did I know that this watch would be on my wrist nearly every day for an entire pandemic. Its travels, treks, and dives became milestones captured within the patina alongside the medical care of my son during that time.

It has seen the summit of Mt. Saint Helens (as well as many other peaks) and has dove with me in the emerald green waters of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound as well as the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s most unique patina tone comes from the daily topical medications my wife and I applied to our son through the first few years of his life.

Other references in the episode;

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Etienne’s collection | A Baltic watch, A Fuji X-T, and his vintage 911

Baltic Watches

Filmmaker behind Baltic films

Showrooms

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Baltic Experiments

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US Independence Day 2024

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AE 25 BALTIC
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