Editor’s note: Like all of our work, this Hands-on Review of the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 has not been sponsored by any of the involved brands. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Reason ١: The Golden Age
Arguments could be made that the period between the 1930s and ‘60s was truly epic; or the 18th and early 19th centuries were the true golden times powered by English watchmaking. Then are the likes of Breguet with his inventions and contributions. But depending upon how you look at it, I believe we are currently living in the golden age of mechanical watches.
Think about it: the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is a watch that’s got a touch of China, Europe and Middle-East; it is then delivered to a guy in the Pacific.
From the likes of higher-end brands like MB&F, H. Moser & Cie, Greubel Forsey, F.P. Journe to more affordable options like Alexander Shorokhoff, Chronoswiss and Ming amongst numerous others ensure there is something for all collectors and enthusiasts at different price points and differing styles. Innovation, play on old-school ideas, the display of horological extravagance, and even value for money.
La Belle Époque.
Just like the Belle Époque period at the turn of the century in France was a stark contrast from the horrors of WW1 and Napoleonic Wars, the super-emergence of brands like MB&F and Baltic — on different ends of the price spectrum — appears to be a respite from the horrors of mass production of steel sports watches and the once at risk industry (read Quartz Crisis, digital watches, smart watches and Covid).
I appreciate how ‘smaller brands’ and independents like Baltic continue to bring out watches that defy expectations, and hopefully exert influence upon other mainstream brands to raise the innovation ante.
At the same time, ‘destination hubs’ like Perpétuel thankfully further this movement, where collectors can have access to both vintage and contemporary timepieces. Besides the new Perpétuel Baltic MR01, Perpétuel in its very short run of existence has already had an impressive range of limited edition collaborations to offer, including many with Nivada Grenchen, Baltic and Excelsior Park.
Courtesy of the increasingly global network of artisans and experts, this ‘golden period’ of watchmaking is a hotbed for interesting collaborations. MB&F and Moser in the recent past have had impressive collaborations, Ming regularly works with Schwarz Etienne and others, and the new Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto is a collab between them, Sellita, Armin Strom, Chronode and others.
Swiss watchmaking has traditionally — traditionally is subjective because the argument could be made for British watchmaking legacy too — been the epicentre, but the re-emergence in popularity of Japanese, German, British and Chinese watchmakers has made things even more interesting and creative. Baltic with its French roots (and the use of a Chinese movement) is another exemplary example.
And watches like the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 LE for 2022 take the best of what’s at our disposal especially considering the price point, and delivers a knockout.
With so many micro-brands and independents rising to well-deserved glory, we truly live in a beautiful age of watchmaking.
Reason ٢: Monkey See, Monkey Do
The hype for the Baltic MR01 has been real. It was quite high until they decided to release a few more batches, but if you look on Chrono24, these are still listed at above retail. Why someone would pay that, that’s beyond me. Not because these don’t deserve to sell, but because Baltic has already announced two extra production reruns where genuinely interested enthusiasts can pre-order the watches. At retail.
Anyway, as it turns out, my wife already bought into the hype and got for herself the regular-but-still-restricted-production Baltic MR01 with the italicised Arabic Breguet numerals in the colour blue. Truth be told I wasn’t that keen on the watch given it’s got very strong Patek Philippe 5026G or Moritz Grossmann Tremblage Steel (or a number of Chopard watches) vibes.
Then I saw it on her wrist.
It shone, almost like bling; but in a more classy way. It exuded elegance, and in the right light, these Breguet appliqué numerals simply glimmered with the strength of a thousand diamonds. Don’t allow the light to caress the numerals, and they fade into oblivion, a sort of a dark shadowed version of their previous lives. It’s magic, and for less than 1000 dollars, the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is unbelievable magic too.
This wizardry of the indices continues on to the finishing of the case, with the highly polished bezel perfectly blending with the design ethos of the appliqué numerals.
But the main star of the show is sizing, especially for those mortals like us with slim wrists. Both the normal production (and the Perpétuel Baltic MR01) work wonders as a traditional dress watch, and sit like a dream on my wife’s 15.75cm wrist. On my 16.25cm, I would have preferred a size 38mm or 39mm, but this will do too.
Given her Baltic MR01 was simply getting more and more wrist time, envious, I had to get one (especially considering she was refusing to share). But the increased production meant that I didn’t really wish to get the same ones (part of the reason why I do not own a Rolex sports watch and also sold my Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue recently).
Then I saw the announcement for the Perpétuel version.
Reason ٣: ad dahr through the Middle-Eastern ʾarqām hindiyyah
Being a Muslim, I have always been drawn to the Eastern Arabic or the Indo–Arabic numerals, and the myriad limited editions the Middle East watch community courtesy Ahmed Siddiqui & Sons and Perpétuel gets. So the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 was one that would be different in my watch box.
Then there is the colour green, which has a certain significance to the region and religion. It’s also a hot colour right now, and besides my Heuer Monaco which is kind a brown-green, I don’t have that colour in my collection.
A reason why the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is a keeper is that the limited edition number of the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 I got was 142 – the digits add up to 7, another relevant number in Islam.
I also like that in the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 the size of the numerals has been reduced, bringing a bit more clarity and a sense of minimalism to the dial. To me, it’s sort of a less ostentatious show of wealth, something that again resonates with Islamic values.
Reason ٤: Perpétuel Baltic MR01 Is Priced Competitively
MR in the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 stands for Micro-Rotor. If I do a search on Chrono24 for the term ‘micro rotor’, the least expensive modern watch listed is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Blue Dial Slim Automatic for AUD $18’147. When it comes to micro-rotor movement watches, there are some great offerings out there, including but not limited to the Panerai Radiomir PAM00655, A. Lange & Sohne Langematik, Czapek Antarctique Passage De Drake, Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto, the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Sax-O-Mat, and the L.U.C XP or 1860 Officer. All of these retail for a pretty penny and if you are in the market for a micro-rotor timepiece, be prepared to empty that wallet out.
Compared to the above, for about 1500 AUD, the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is a bargain.
True, there are other micro-brand or start-up offerings such as the Boderry Elite and the Sólás Starlight that feature the same Chinese movement — Hangzhou Mic.rotor Cal5000A — and retail for cheaper. Then there is the Lobinni Hangzhou 5000A from Aliexpress for a tiny sum of about 300 Aussie dollars. That’s 1/5th the price of the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 (and as such a very good buy).
But are these all truly limited? Nope. Do any feature Eastern-Arabic numerals? Nope. The Perpétuel Baltic MR01 I am assuming goes through extra QC and warranty insurance, and that would supplement the increase in price. I haven’t handled those other brands, so frankly can’t comment on their QC, but at least with Baltic we have come to expect a certain standard.
I won’t say that it’s cheap or exceptional value for money. It’s not. At 1500 AUD, it’s quite steep. But what you get as an overall package with the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is almost impossible to find. Simply put, it’s very competitively priced.
Reason ٥: Perpétuel Baltic MR01’s Shade of Green Is a Beauty
Recently there has been an influx of green-coloured dials. But the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 still manages to stand out.
It’s almost a teal green, rather than the deep green the Perpétuel website had me believe. It does get darker in the centre, but the azurage second’s sub-dial and the complementing finely brushed peripheral minutes track are a lighter teal color courtesy the domed hesalite distortion, providing exceptional contrast.
If you observe carefully, the dial also has subtle layers, with the peripheral track raised the most, followed by the main dial and then the sub-dial which is quite sunken. In the right light, these surfaces again collide, ushering in a visual space filled with quiet, dramatic effect.
The Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is one of those watches you can simply stare at in delight.
Reason ٦: The Movement
The Hangzhou Mic.rotor Cal5000A is regulated for five positions, features 30 jewels, beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz, is regulated for +20/-20 sec/day, and provides 42 hours of power reserve.
Ask a watchmaker and he/she will tell you that the Hangzhou Mic.rotor Cal5000A movement used in the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is not of exceptionally high standards. But it will do. In fact, for the price point and the novelty of owning a micro-rotor timepiece it does very well.
The Perpétuel Baltic MR01’s version has been ‘improved upon’ or modified in-house by Baltic, and features a decent — pretty average if you compare it to higher-end finishings, BUT excellent for the price — mix of varying machined finishes including bevelling, Geneva stripes, blued-screws and perlage.
Reason ٧: Perpétuel Baltic MR01 Is Slim Wrist Friendly
For those who may want to buy any of these Perpétuel Baltic MR01s but haven’t seen these in person, allow me to compare it to a couple of watches that I am sure you might have seen or tried one or the other at some point.
First, the classic Rolex OP 116000. The Rolex measures 36mm in diameter, 11.9mm in thickness, and 44.3mm lug-to-lug. It features the same 20mm lug interhorn spacing. So while the Rolex OP is not a traditional dress watch and has a more sporty stance, the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is dressier, measuring in at 36mm in diameter with a slimmer 9.9mm thickness. And while the slimness allows it to hug your wrist closely and look the part of vintage 1940s dress watches, the slightly wider 44mm lug-to-lug means that it doesn’t look diminutive.
For someone with my tastes (and wrist size of 16.25cm), the sizing of say the Ming 37.07 is nearly perfect: 38mm x 10.9mm with a 44.5mm lug-to-lug and 20mm lug interhorn spacing. But anyone who prefers smaller dress watches, will rock the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 with panache. I, of course, being in love with the dial of it, am willing to look past its sizing. I reckon it would be unbelievable at 38mm. But at 36mm, it’s still damn amazing. And my wife, with her 15.75cm wrists, is finding it absolutely perfect.
That’s All Folks!
There is something rather rare about wearing a dress watch these days. With the demand more geared toward sports watches, one has to give extra credit to brands like Baltic and Ming for pushing the envelope and making dress watches cool again.
When it comes to the Perpétuel Baltic MR01, there may not be anything revolutionary here; but the watch is a masterclass in creating a product that is an excellent sum of its parts.
Limited to only 300 pieces, the Perpétuel Baltic MR01 is a cosmopolitan rock star with a beautiful case-back, gorgeous dial, and a stellar personality.
To find out more about the Perpétuel Baltic MR01, please head here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.