“My passion for watches started at 16 when I opened my father’s suitcase full of watches that were asleep for a decade after he passed away.”
What was your first ever watch? (Etienne Malec, Founder of BALTIC Watches) My first ever watch was a Flik-Flak Shark when I was 7, but I quickly changed for a VENUS 178 LIP GENEVE that was my first proper watch around 14-15 years old and the first I used to wear from my father’s collection.
What is your daily watch and why? (EM) My daily watch for a few years has always been BALTIC’s prototypes, and I often wear two watches, so I tend to mix two BALTICs. I’ve been wearing a bit less of my own personal watches these 5 last years.
“I felt this collection could become a bond with my father I did not know at all.”
What were you doing before starting BALTIC, and how did you get into watchmaking? (EM) We founded BALTIC Watches in April 2017 after 2 years of preparation needed to launch the Kickstarter, with perfect prototypes in hand, ready to be produced. Before that I also launched a Glasses brand named REZIN that we sold two years ago.
(EM) My father was a photographer and a watch collector. He passed away when I was 5 so I never had the chance to get to know him properly. My passion for watches started at 16 when I opened his suitcase full of watches (About a hundred, there were Breitling Navitimers, Omega Speedmasters, Zenith EPs and many others that are still running today) that were asleep for a decade after he passed away.
(EM) I felt this collection could become a bond with my father I did not know at all. From this point I have started to go deep in his collection by analysing all the pieces he had, and gathering a maximum of information throughout the internet… Shortly after this I have stepped into the “real”amateur world by participating in some get together with other collectors in Paris, sharing the passion, and even organising some of these events as well.
“I wanted to name the brand in homage to him and our roots in Poland.”
(EM) Today I still have his collection, and a book in which he put all the pictures of the watches he traded/sold to other collectors. The collection he had was mainly about chronographs and military watches. My inspiration for our first design inspired by the 40’s came in part from his collection, which I always find perfect in its simplicity. He was native from Poland (North, near the sea) and came to France at an early age. I wanted to name the brand in homage to him and our roots in Poland; that’s why I chose BALTIC as a brand name.
“Every watch tells time, but they also must tell a story.”
Why do you think making timepieces is so special? (EM) I’ve been involved in watches personally since I was 14 and professionally since 5 years ago. My dream was to work in horology, and in a creative way. Today I design my own watches, with all the choices that implies. I can focus on my own details, design and ways to create the marketing all around, which I believe is quite important too. Every watch tells time, but they also must tell a story.
How big is the BALTIC Watches team now and how long does it take to produce one piece? (EM) Now we are 10 people and it really depends on which model. We can create a piece in less than a year with our best luck, or it can take up to 2 years if we don’t find the right balance and concept.
Where do you get inspiration for the aesthetic and design of the watches? (EM) Obviously mostly from vintage watches, from my father’s collection, from what I like and what I’m checking everyday. I’m interested not only in vintage, because I believe we need to be aware of what is happening on the modern watch market. But I tend to be definitely more interested in classic, timeless-looking watches.
“My only wish is for people who wear BALTIC to make their own history with their watches.”
Who do you imagine would be the perfect woman/man to wear a BALTIC? (EM) I don’t have a particular image of “The Perfect” woman/man to wear one of our watches. My only wish is for people who wear our watches to do it in the long term and to make their own history with their watches like I did with my father’s watch.
What is the most unique characteristic of BALTIC? (EM) I think it’s the hardest part to see, but we are putting all our effort into making aesthetically perfect balanced dials, cases and hands. Everything is thoughtfully conceived by keeping the idea that everything must be perfectly balanced. And I think we are now getting pretty experienced at refining the small details on our watches that count a lot.
Is there anything you have newly discovered about timepieces since you started your own brand? (EM) The main subject I discovered was all the people behind the watches we do, behind all the other brands we have met in the 5 last years, and all the great people that made this industry a dream for many of us.
What are your next 5 years goal with the brand? (EM) We would like to keep developing the collection: Get more diversity (casual, cars-related, women’s watches) and keep exploring new collaborations. Also, we have a secret project on which we have been working for 2 years that might be quite huge for us. But it will take a few months to be more transparent about that subject.