*Note: Since Baltic is a French company that assembles and ships their watches from France, their prices are listed in Euros. At post time, the Bicompax was priced at â‚¬540 for a solid caseback, and â‚¬565 for an exhibition caseback. Exchange rates are always in flux, and your bank/credit card company could (probably will?) hit you with a foreign transaction fee. Read the fine print on your plastic before you purchase.
It looks amazing.
But there’s just something about how it feels that doesn’t live up to those looks, nor does the feel run comparable to the robust, solid nature of the Baltic Aquascaphe, its dive watch brother.
But again… it looks great. And it’s a dress watch, not a diver/tool watch.
38mm diameter. Textures. Lines. Pushers!
It’s another retro-inspired chronograph with clean lines and a simple but dressy overall aesthetic. A lot of brands are doing that right now, but the Bicompax is the rare mechanical option that costs well under a grand.
The movement is from China’s Seagull, a well known and very, very big producer in the watch movement industry. The Seagull ST1901 movement isn’t an automatic. There’s no oscillating weight as a power option for this thing. It’s an old-school hand-wind. And while the movement itself is gorgeous enough to well warrant the extra twenty-five euros upcharge over the solid case-back option, it feels… weird.
Manual winding Seagull ST1901 movement.
Looks great. Winding is stiff.
The crown isn’t easy/smooth/a pleasure to wind. Which is troublesome, being that winding it is how the dang thing runs. Turning that crown to power up its guts feels like you’re dragging a stick through recently poured concrete. It doesn’t grind or feel gritty (not that gritty)… it’s just oddly stiff. It’s just not like other mechanicals/hand-windable autos you may be familiar with, both spendy or cheaper.
Top pusher is snappy.
Bottom is mushy/has almost no travel.
The top, start/stop pusher is nice and snappy, but the bottom “reset” pusher has almost no travel to it at all. It’s mushy. Feels like a cheap quartz chrono pusher. If you’re a fan of chronograph watches, you might even squint/wrinkle up your eyebrows the first time you use it. Is that how it’s supposed to feel? Probably. Odd.
Easy to read, leaf-shaped hands. Arabic numerals.
But this is far from the Seagull ST1901’s first rodeo. It’s just a noticeable place where they cut costs to keep the price relatively reasonable. Tough to ignore though, being that you’ll be winding it often.
The case is sized at 38mm that wears maybe a touch larger, but shouldn’t overwhelm many wrists. At 12mm thick including the high-domed hesalite crystal, it’s comfortable to wear with a dress shirt. It’s not a flat-arse though. It’s got some ‘donk. A chunky tool-watch it is not, but it’s not a razor slim slice of wrist candy either.
Dressy enough to wear with a suit.
Versatile enough to wear with smart-casual clothes.
The dial is bleepin’ cool. The chapter ring is brushed and slightly raised/stepped above the rest of the dial, which has a matte sandy texture to it. Arabic numerals lap that chapter ring, with two sub dials perfectly proportioned and three and nine o’clock.
Stepped dial, multiple textures on different surfaces.
Slim, leaf style hands in a contrasting color make for easy telling of the time. Which isn’t always the case for the Bicompax’s main competition, the silver Mecha-Quartz 1937 from Dan Henry (although D.H. makes color options other than the silver on silver.)
12mm thick including the high-domed hesalite crystal.
Most should find it fine to wear with a dress shirt.
It is, frankly, a perfect looking dress chrono. Classy but not ostentatious with multiple textures, great lines, and proportions.
And it’s certainly not “all hat no cattle”
… some of us might just find it to have a smaller herd than expected.
Especially for how nice its hat looks.
And it looks real nice.