Understanding The Baltic Micro Rotor Through The New MR Roulette

Understanding The Baltic Micro Rotor Through The New MR Roulette

A limited edition goes regular production, and here's what you need to know.

Baltic is fleshing out their Micro Rotor collection with a new model called the Roulette, which is launching in four understated colorways. The MR Roulette features an art deco aesthetic that we first saw back in 2022 when the brand collaborated with A Collected Man on a watch called the MR01 Blue Roulette. While the watch itself is subtle in its approach, the details are anything but, and if Baltic has established anything since their founding in 2017, it’s their ability to pack a big personality into a classically sized package. This is one of those watches that you’ll appreciate more the closer you look at it. 

Baltic is a French brand that was launched in 2017 by Etienne Malec looking to express a vintage ethos embodied in the watch collection passed down to him by his father. They quickly established themselves as a serious player in an emerging micro-brand space with watches that felt fresh and original, while also feeling familiar and old. This is a balance that they’ve since mastered with racing chronographs, field watches, and formal watches. Their designs and manufacturing has matured, but their pricing has largely remained just as accessible as it was in the beginning. 

The Micro Rotor collection is a showcase of textures and finishes, with a dial that’s broken into sections to define its asymmetrical design. The backdrop of the dial is grained, creating a matte based against which the directionally brushed pieces emerge. A slight serif typeface was developed for the brand for each of the Arabic numeral hour markers and minute index, which bring a decidedly different personality to the table compared to the Breguet numerals that the MR01 launched with. Each numeral is set within its own outlined space, a bit like the numbers at the edge of a roulette wheel. 

Looking back at the original MR01, which was released in 2021, there is a clear distinction in tone. As mentioned, the MR01 utilized applied Breguet style numerals atop the grain texture, with the minute index occupying a much smaller track, placing emphasis solely on the numerals and the oversized subsidiary seconds.The look evoked a certain era of the dress watch, finding inspiration from the likes of the Patek Philippe ref. 96 Calatrava of the ‘30s. The drama was simple and effective thanks to the applied numerals. 

In contrast, the MR Roulette leans a bit further into the art deco stylings of the same era. The segmentation of the dial and the use of layering textures brings a very different sense of balance to the design, showing the overall flexibility of this concept. Where the original embraced flourishes, the Roulette works with structure.

The uniting feature is an off-center subsidiary seconds that dominates the lower left hand portion of the dial, creating an asymmetric focal point amongst the rigid structure of the rest of the dial. A set of faceted and polished dauphine hands track the hour and minutes, and provide a contrast to the matte and brushed surfaces underneath. This would have been an easy dial to go overboard on, but Baltic have struck a perfect balance of textures and shapes. 

As lovely as the dial experience is here, it’s only half the story. Baltic have designed a 36mm case for the MR, and while it does make used of a high domed hesalite crystal, it still manages a total thickness just a tick under 10mm. The lug to lug distance is a mere 44mm, creating a lovely, and manageable footprint on the wrist. Turning the watch over will yield a view of the Hangzhu caliber 5000a micro rotor movement, which is about as well finished as you might hope for in a watch that is priced from $590. 

The new Baltic MR Roulette is being offered with four dial colors: salmon, blue, silver, and black. Yes, the A Collected Man collaboration also used a blue dial, but this is a slightly different tone at work here. Each of the new models will join the MR collection as regular production references. They are offered on a variety of stitched leather straps, as well as bracelet options for additional cost.

The Baltic MR Roulette 

Case material: Stainless steel 316L

Case diameter: 36mm

Lug to lug: 44mm

Thickness: 9.9mm (8mm without glass)

Lug width: 20mm

Glass: High-domed hesalite

Dial finish: Grained

Dial colors: Black, blue, silver, salmon

Movement: Automatic Hangzhou CAL5000a Micro-rotor

Power reserve: 42 hours

Water resistance: 30m


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