Baltic Introduces the HMS and Bicompax Perpétuel Editions

With Eastern Arabic numerals.

A newly established specialist retailer in Dubai, Perpétuel is making its debut with the Baltic x Perpétuel HMS and Bicompax, a pair of watches conceived to mark the 49th National Day of the United Arab Emirates, which was formed in 1971, hence the 71-piece edition.

Both are variations of the signature timepieces of Baltic, a French brand that got its start on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and has since made accessibly priced, retro-style watches its specialty.


Initial thoughts

Baltic offers a strong value proposition with its vintage-inspired watches featuring stepped bezels and sector dials that are powered by Chinese movements, explaining the affordable pricing.

The Perpétuel editions are novel. Although their Eastern Arabic numerals on the dial are common in watches for the Middle East, they are not often found in entry-level watches, especially those with retro designs.

Combined with the forest-green dial colour, both models are very much catered to the culture of the Middle East. But they also have substantial appeal for anyone outside the region, thanks to the colour, smart design, and graceful style of the Eastern Arabic script.

But the Perpétuel are pricey, being notably more expensive than the standard models. However, they are still affordable in absolute terms, and considering the small, 71-piece run, remain fair value for money.

HMS and Bicompax

Both the HMS and Bicompax share the same case dimensions of 38 mm by 12 mm. Matched with a domed Hesalite crystal, the steel case is compact enough to give it a vintage flavour, particularly with the stepped bezel.

The dials have a two tone finish with a raised chapter ring for the hours that’s circular grained, while the recessed centre of the dial ha a granular finish. And for consistency, all of the text on the dial is in Eastern Arabic script, save for the Baltic logo, giving it a clean, refined style.

The two are also powered by movements made in China that are cost efficient but notably robust. The time-only HMS is powered by a Miyota automatic, while the Bicompax contains a hand-wind Seagull movement that’s actually a clone of the cal. 175 once produced by defunct Swiss movement maker Venus.

Coming soon to DIFC

Slated to open in early 2021 in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Perpétuel is the brainchild of Hamdan Al Hudaidi, an Emirati watch collector.

Conceived to be simultaneously a store, tastemaker, and educational platform, Perpétuel seeks to “change the regional perspective on collecting through educational and inspirational experiences” according to Mr Al Hudaidi. He adds the store will offer “unique timepieces, art, historical artefacts and rare objects”.

Joining him in the new venture is Melika Yazdjerdi, an industry veteran who spent almost 12 years at Seddiqi, the region’s largest watch retailer and the organiser of Dubai Watch Week.

Key Facts and Price

Baltic x Perpétuel HMS and Bicompax

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 12 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Hesalite
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: HMS – Miyota 821A; Bicompax – Seagull ST1901
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds; additional chronograph for Bicompax
Winding: HMS – automatic; Bicompax – Hand wind
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Calfskin

Limited edition: 71 pieces each
Now from Perpétuel
Price: HMS – US$ 1,300; Bicompax – US$ 1,500

For more, visit Perpétuel on Instagram.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Auction Watch: Sylvester Stallone’s Very Own Panerai Luminor

The ref. 5218-201/A from Daylight.

Instrumental in Panerai’s rise as the “it” brand of the 2000s were the action-hero celebrities who favoured its oversized dive watches.

The singular most important personality in establishing the brand in popular culture was Sylvester Stallone, who wore this very Luminor 5218-201/A “pre-Vendome” in the 1996 film Daylight, where he played a firefighter leading survivors out of a collapsed tunnel.

Mr Stallone with the Panerai on his right wrist in Daylight

A product of the original Panerai company in Italy before the brand moved to Switzerland after Richemont acquired it, the watch has been consigned for sale at Phillips’ upcoming New York watch auction by Mr Stallone himself.

It’s being offered exactly as it was worn on screen, including the sharkskin strap – along with paraphernalia relating to the film as well as a hand-written note stating he wore the watch during its production. Four other watches of Mr Stallone’s, all Richard Mille, are also in the sale, including the RM 32 he wore in The Expendables 3.

The Stallone collection

In the mid 1990s Mr Stallone also had an informal partnership with Panerai, reputedly receiving several watches from the brand, which then produced several runs of limited edition watches dubbed  “Sly Tech” after Mr Stallone’s nickname.

Mr Stallone became an early adopter of Panerai not long after it starting making wristwatches once again in 1993 thanks to Monty Shadow, a photographer born in the former Yugoslavia who is extensively well connected within American and European celebrity circles.

A longtime friend of Johann Rupert, he was instrumental in getting Panerai on the wrists of Hollywood celebrities and Richemont’s subsequent takeover of the brand in 1997. Often spotted at SIHH each year and at various Richemont events around Europe, Mr Shadow was also responsible for many other tie ups pursued by other Richemont-0wned brands, including IWC’s partnership with Paulo Coelho and its sponsorship of the Laureus awards.

Racing Pulse takes place at 10:00 am New York time on December 12. The catalogue is available here.

Correction December 3, 2020: Panerai was based in Italy auntie the Richemont takeover, but the pre-Vendome watches were produced in Switzerland by a subcontractor. An earlier version of the article implied they were manufactured in Italy, which is incorrect. 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Welcome to the new Watches By SJX.

Subscribe to get the latest articles and reviews delivered to your inbox.