There is something fascinating about the micro-rotor movement. Watch fans seek them out today, even though the heyday of the micro-rotor was the 1960s.
You can still pick up a Dugena, Hamilton or Universal vintage micro-rotor watch, which all share the same movement by the way, although you will pay three times as much for the Universal. The reason it’s collectable is simple; it makes the watch slimmer, by doing away with the conventional rotor and the bearings set on top of the movement, squeezing them into a handy little pocket of space instead.
it is a triumph of engineering and convenience in miniature – which when you think about it, is how the wristwatch came about in the first place. Otherwise we would still be checking pocket watches like railway station masters of the 1880s.
So the new Baltic MR-01 is something we love, especially at £541, which is a bargain for something this compact and understated.
It has a vintage brushed, sort of sanded parchment finish to the dial, with that offset sub-seconds dial. There’s a little extra numbers track around the dial edge, which is very 19th century pocket watch touch. Three dial colours; salmon, silver and blue.
The see-thru caseback lets you see the movement, which is adorned with blue screws, decent sized jewels and a gold-coloured rotor, stamped with the Baltic name.
The bridgework is finished like a Waltham Riverside model, just beautiful patterns and swirls.
It surprised us to learn that it’s made by Hangzhou of China, but we don’t have a problem with that because as everyone who buys watches on Ali Express knows, most Chinese made mechanical and automatics are now just as good as entry level Swiss movements.
It’s 36mm across and just 9.9mm high, so yes, you get that authentic 1950s gents watch vibe.
Verdict; People may mock the Chinese engine inside this watch, but if you love watchmaking then this is an affordable micro-rotor wristwatch that costs less than a classic 50 year old Hamilton Intra-Matic.