A short introduction of Balticus Stardust damascus chronograph

Published on 23 April 2024 at 20:56

You might have noticed that lately quite often watches from Eastern Europe are reviewed. That is not accidental. After my detailed research of the Russian watch industry (which was driven by the fact that I used to be a passionate collector of USSR watches...) I extended my interest to all East Europe development of the watch industry. So I already have watches from BelarusCzech Republic, Ukraine, Croatia(where this is a bit of an intruder, as watches are only designed and sold in Croatia, but made in Germany), Slovakia, so, it is not a surprise that today my focus is Poland.

I found two companies which are closely related to Poland, both with very similar names: Baltic and Balticus. While Baltic has only roots of the owner in Poland, but otherwise watches are made in China and assembled in France, Balticus is a fully Polish company which made watches with "Made in Poland" mark. So, I decided to go for a Balticus watch.

The founder and an owner of the Balticus is Bartosz Knop. He  comes from Władysławowo. Before becoming a watchmaker he worked abroad for many years in the food and beverage industry where he gained experience and capital. Among other things, he was co-founder of a fish processing company. On one of his trips he got to know the small Icelandic watch manufacturer JS Watch. These pieces of watchmaking art from a small island at the end of the world inspired Bartosz to pursue his own dream to create a new brand of exclusive watches the Balticus company, which has been operating since 2015. The name of the brand is of course an honor to the Baltic Sea.  

As Bartosz Knop is not a watchmaker, he joined his enthusiasm with the Ogrodowicz watchmaker's family from Gdynia where most of the Balticus watches are now assembled. They also participate in the design and implementation phase of the new models.

The last important person behind the Balticus brand is Mateusz Przystal, who is the main designer of the brand.

Over the last 9 years Balticus has been very productive, there is a huge variety of watches in their offer, which is split to ten collections. So it was quite a task to choose one. I decided to go for the most expensive one, a limited edition (50 watches) Stardust chronograph on damascus steel. Let me point out that Stardust chronograph in standard steel also exist and is basically identical to the damascus model, the only important difference is the steel used for the case. As a consequence of the steel used, another difference can be spotted - the standard steel version comes on a steel bracelet and has as an addition also a leather strap, whereas damascus version only comes on a leather strap. The reason is quite obvious: a standard steel bracelet would not look good on a damascus steel case and it seems that damascus steel bracelet would be just too expensive. However, the leather strap has a damascus steel buckle.

Speaking of leather strap - originally it comes in brown color with brown stitches. Since the dial is blue, the brown is not the wrong choice, but I would prefer the blue one. As it has quick release lugs, adding an additional blue strap would be a big advantage. Saying that - the shape of the case and how the strap is placed into the case is another reason for a spare strap. Standard straps don't fit this case, if one is keen on changing straps, this watch is not an easy one as it requires handmade straps.

I must criticize the finish quality of the buckle. Inner end edges were very sharp, very annoying as the buckle scratched the skin on the wrist. I had to gently brush the edges in order to wear this watch at all. 

The case on the other hand is made very precise and edges are all very smooth. Please notice the very interesting detail on the back side of the case above the serial number, where the cut goes inside of the layer.

With those photos I already revealed the see through glass backplate with big B in the middle, which reveals the 7750 movement. Around the glass only the very basic information is engraved - Balticus, reference, serial number and WR 10ATM. 

But let me go back to the front side as this is the most intriguing part of the watch. Beside the case, the fixed bezel is also made of damascus steel, and also here you can see some "imperfections" due to the cutting and brushing within the particular layer (see for example the bezel between 11 and 12 or between 5 and 6). Every watch is unique and has a different pattern. I am not quite sure why the bezel has only six subsections, however that looks good.

The dial is also very interesting and good looking. It is made of mineral blue aventurine. The rather shining spots really give the impression of the star dust, under the proper lighting condition it looks very attractive. Luckily the chrono totalizers, day/date window and hour index markers take care that this shine is not too aggressive.. 

As you can see, otherwise the dial is quite clean, no unnecessary text. Just Balticus above the day/date window and a very tiny "made in Poland" at the bottom of the dial. I like that index markings are very subtle and with just the small luminus part above each mark. 

The tachymeter scale is placed on an inner ring around the dial. The ring is not aventurine made, but the color follows the basic dial color. 

Hands are extremely good and visible. The chrono hand is almost unnoticeable, in this watch you for sure can't be confused about the time reading and misread chrono hand as the minute one. 

So all in all very attractive, yet clean and useful dial.

I also like the fact that chrono pushers (which are also made of damascus steel) are not aggressive. They do not stick out but simply follow the shape of the case. Crown also has a good size proportion and is signed.

Luminova is quite good, only remark is that I would skip it on the chrono hands. But maybe someone needs them in the dark as well.

I already mentioned that the watch is using ETA 7750, so no need to go into deep analysis of the precision. I can just confirm that it works within the expectations for this movement.

As the the diameter of the case is 42mm, height 15mm and L2L 51mm, the watch all together looks quite on a 19+ cm wrists, what can also be seen on the photos below. In general watch is very comfortable, strap is good, but I have to point out again the poor finish of the buckle. In the last picture you can clearly see why the sharp edge of the buckle is so annoying with the constant irritation of the skin. I have no idea if the remaining 49 watches have the same problematic buckle, maybe I was just not lucky...

You can also see how well the brown strap fits to the blue dial...

The watch arrived in a quite standard watch box and within the box it was packed in a leather pouch, a kind of travel box. It is supposed to be handmade as well, I can't confirm that. What was strange is the fact that there were no papers whatsoever. No manual, no warranty card, nothing. I purchased the watch from Julian Kampmann from Poljot24.de webshop which has just recently become an official dealer of Balticus. So of course I received his invoice. In disbelief I asked him about the original papers and he confirmed that he has not received any papers from Balticus for any of their watches. On the official web site I read that a Polish instruction manual is given so my guess is that Baticus simply does not deliver them out of Poland. Well, just prior to publishing this review, Mr.Kampmann informed me that he has received warranty cards from Balticus and that my warranty card is now on its way to me...

Price? Uff, 3.400 EUR for this damascus version and 2.900 EUR for a standard steel version. For a relatively unknown brand from Poland - a lot. The price range is in line with some of the very established "old" Swiss brands, there are a lot of quality brands which offer much cheaper 7750 powered watches.

I don't know if the damascus steel production deserves such a surplus in the price (remember, the standard version comes on a bracelet..). Everybody needs to seriously consider if the damascus version is an added value for him. I can confirm that I received a lot of positive feedback about the damascus look, but in general the watch is not better than the standard one.

That something is wrong with the original price confirms also a quick look on the Chrono24 site where the official Balticus dealers from Poland (so not grey market dealers) offer both versions for considerably lower prices.


I have received a warranty card. It is clear Batticus is still mainly focused on Polish market as card is written in Polish language. Mr.Kampann also listened to me and is now offering a free original blue strap for his customers. The blue strap has also an original buckle, but made of standard steel, not damascus. However this buckle is much more comfortable than damascus.



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