Baltic’s Updated HMS and Bicompax Have Finally Arrived

Baltic has returned with the long anticipated Mk 2 versions of their Bicompacx chronograph and HMS three hander. We’re pretty big fans of this overarching design (we’re a little biased) so it’s great to see Baltic’s take on a sector dial layout make it to their permanent collection. The Bicompax and HMS are foundational to Baltic as a brand, having launched them into the consciousness of watch lovers upon their debut back in 2017. The first versions of these watches were a hit with fans for their vintage look and feel, and Baltic soon spun off the success of those first timepieces into sportier, toolier watches with a similar aesthetic and the same highly thought out approach. With several successful releases behind them, these watches feel like the start of a new chapter for the brand. Let’s take a closer look. 

The inspiration behind the HMS and Bicompax always had roots in watches from the 1940s, and that really hasn’t changed much with these new versions. They do, however, bear a distinct Art Deco vibe that wasn’t present in the original watches thanks to the sector dial layout seen on both the chronograph and time only variants. The details, as always, are critical, and the Mk 2 dials reward careful scrutiny when you examine the finishing. The contrast between the brushing in the 12 hour ring and the textured finish in the interior sector appears to be very well executed. The Bicompax, by virtue of being a chronograph, has some added visual interest in the sub dials at 3:00 and 9:00 with a radial snailing effect. The finishing elements here have been well matched to one another and make a lot of sense in the context of a sector dial layout, with each “piece” of the dial showing off a different texture.

The HMS and Bicompax are each available in three colorways at launch: black, silver, and blue gilt. As you’d expect, they all have a vintage flair. The blue gilt felt the most special to me upon seeing these images for the first time, simply because of the gold tone accents (gold always feels special – that’s why it’s gold). The silver watches remind me, and I’m sure will remind others, of Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master Control Date with a sector dial from 2017. This watch is sometimes credited as kicking off a modern sector dial craze, and since the JLC is hard to find these days and quite pricey, I’m happy to have affordable alternatives at the ready.

On the technical and specs side, nothing has changed with the new Baltics. The Bicompax is still powered by the Seagull ST19, and the HMS still runs on the automatic Miyota 821A. Baltic has made a conscious choice here to use affordable movements that allow them to achieve the design vision they’re after, while keeping costs down for their customers. These calibers aren’t setting the world on fire when it comes to chronometry, but they allow for a ton of charm in the finished product. The cases, too, are exactly the same – still 38mm in diameter with a “stepped” design that is so key to the appeal of these watches. 

The new versions of the HMS and Bicompax are available now from Baltic, and carry the same pricing as the previous editions: $ 393 for the HMS, $ 640 for the Bicompax (after currency conversion and VAT removal for US customers). More information can be found on Baltic’s website right here.

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