It was curiosity that made me sit with Etienne Malec. It all started with an Instagram story to which I reacted. This was followed by a ton of pictures of a shooting on a circuit he had just finished, and here I am in his Parisian offices with a case on the table containing the latest novelty.
If I decided to write this article it’s to make you discover the story Etienne told me. The story of the Tricompax x Peter Auto. Without further ado, let’s discover this project together.
The Baltic Tricompax is a chronograph with an aluminum tachymeter scale, a dial with beige finishes oscillating between clear and matte, with black guilloche counters, applied hour markers, a manual mechanical movement with 63 hours of power reserve, all in a 39mm steel case. And of course, the water resistance is 50 meters with the dance of the hands visible thanks to a double dome sapphire crystal. To dress up your wrist, it comes with an adjustable brushed steel Flat Link bracelet and you can also find a taupe calf leather strap in the box.
Seeing only the finished product and not having participated in its making, I had to ask Etienne about his sources of inspiration. “The Tricompax is directly inspired by the 60s and 70s with its yellow and orange colors. But also, from the dynamism of car racing. And therefore, the readability of the dial had to be maximum. For this project, we tried to place the cursor between legibility, utility, aesthetics and pleasure.“
“Yeah, a little bit. You see that’s kind of the idea and that’s why Peter Auto and I put in a little bit of color. It’s good for the readability. There’s also the fact that the automobile in these years was pretty resplendent.”
This novelty, which is launched in the late summer of 2022, is the result of the collaboration between Baltic and Peter Auto. If you are not familiar with the vintage car world, you just have to know that Peter Auto is since the 80s an organizer of prestigious car events. They are at the origin for example of Le Mans Classique, a retrospective of the 24 hours du Mans.
While the watch box is still closed, I ask him one last question before discovering the beauty. Don’t forget that at this moment, I only have in mind pictures of the shooting and the few information he just gave us!
Before you show me the piece, can you tell me what you would like us to remember about this watch? I’ve barely finished my sentence when he already answers.
“This watch is the combination of two passions and two different backgrounds. For me, what we’ve done here is to try to express as much as possible our passion for these two backgrounds.” So, this watch is the meeting point between vintage cars and watchmaking. For my part, I find it successful and I am only at the beginning of my surprises…
The encounter between the two worlds is not a new thing. In the past, other brands have tried to make collaborations with the automotive world. But, in my humble opinion, it has never been really successful and this is because of the war of egos that takes place on the dial. Both brands want their name on it, which goes against the aesthetic balance.
When you look at the watch, you can see that the name of Peter Auto is missing from the dial. I made the note to Etienne who gave me a little more information about the collaboration.
“Gregory Miellou, Peter Auto’s marketing manager, and I met by chance. In addition to being a client, we happened to be aligned in terms of corporate vision, automotive interest and watchmaking interest, which greatly facilitated this collaboration. So, we had worked together on the design. We wanted to make a watch that was good for everyone to wear and it was Gregory himself who told me he didn’t want to put Peter Auto on the dial.”
It is not absent from the watch though, because we find the mention on the case back.
Drum roll, the watch box opens and reveals to me, not a watch, but a watch and two Stop Watches. At that moment, I just want to put the watch on my wrist, take the Stop Watch, jump in a racing car and spend the day on a track. Etienne, if you’re reading this, this is not an appeal at all!
If each project make you start all over again, we are forced to note that this piece is indeed a Baltic. To achieve this, Etienne and his team have tried to keep the same reading on all their case middle and cases. The Baltic recipe is about right proportions, small size and no frills.
To understand what’s coming next, I’ll let Etienne give you a little background. “The first watch I bought for myself was a GMT from Rolex, because I wanted to become an airplane pilot. Once I got that watch I felt closer to that goal, even though I knew very well I couldn’t become one. I had at least one element of their world.”
Now that the context is set, let’s get back to the watch. It is the result of the encounter between a passion for vintage cars and watchmaking. Etienne was unable to become a driver in the 60s and 70s, so he had to adapt. With the following, the idea behind this project would come to life.
But what did he have in mind?
“I had in mind a race atmosphere from the 60s and 70s with a race car and an experienced driver behind the wheel. And in the video, which I will show you, we tried to transcribe this feeling: the time that passes and is experienced differently at different moments of a lap.“
So, to do this, they headed to a track in Spain with a famous driver and a Porsche 910 racing car. During the whole day they filmed to capture this moment of intense life where the driver, at full speed, will take a turn. In a very short time, a whole series of decisions and actions must be taken.
From the look in his eyes when he told me all this, you can be sure that this day will remain engraved in his memory. A moment out of time where his passion for cars and watches transported him to another era.
This is what passion can do for you! Isn’t it wonderful?
The product is carefully crafted and it is small details, such as the color touches and its history, that make it unique.
I’m not particularly fond of cars and yet I’ve been seized by this watch. Bravo Etienne, bravo Baltic and thank you Peter Auto!