Trends make me laugh. Growing up my mom would always say that styles always make a comeback. Honestly some of the styles are cool, but others should never comeback. For me personally trends are just bullshit marketing ploys to get more money, which I understand to a certain degree from a financial and marketing standpoint. The way I usually base my purchases on is a very simple philosophy, if I like it, I buy it. Pretty simple. The more major of a purchase, I will definitely do my own research before making that purchase of course. Right now the current shift of trends in watches is making the transition from bigger cases to smaller cases. Again, my philosophy for this is, if I like the design/look of the watch then I buy it regardless of the case size. Case size has no bearing on my purchase decision in anyway. There is a place for all sized watches in my collection, no trend will dictate my purchase.
Today I will be exploring quite a treat in terms of case size, the Baldieri M-48. The 48 is a reference to the stainless steel case size which comes in at 48mm. Strictly basing this on weight and size with my initial handling of this piece, it is one badass tank of a watch. It seriously feels like it could bust through a brick wall with a scratch. I am definitely happy with the matte finish on this case, why? Well the matte finish gives the case a semi stealth appearance and keeps it in that tool-esque watch category, if the finish was high polish stainless steel then it would shift to a blinged out category in my opinion. I can easily see the unlikely hero wearing this watch, set in a futuristic post apocalyptic world, where the bad outweighs the good, where all hope is seemed lost, but the hero prevails against the odds. Baldieri did an ingenious design choice for the case back on the M-48. The case back itself curves with the lugs which allows this big watch conform to your wrist, which creates a better fit and a more comfortable fitting watch.
While we are discussing the case back here I will also mention a few other details that I think add to the overall experience with the M-48. The engraved gorilla is just phenomenal. You may ask what does a gorilla have to do with this watch. Well, as I was interviewing Mr. Baldieri he explained this detail to me. He stated “The Gorilla symbol represents strength and peace. A gorilla is a peaceful animal but can storm at you faster than a bullet and because I do not promote violence or wars I didn’t want to give the Magnum that feel of bullets and guns but yet the opposite.” The case back is held in place by 6 screws, secured with a touch of detail.
When I was exploring the M-48 I was quite excited by the drilled lugs with the screw bars, but under further exploration I was a bit disappointed to find that they are faux screw bars and drilled lugs. The strap is actually held in place by standard spring bars. The bezel on the other hand didn’t disappoint at all for a number of reasons. I will tackle the function first which is just how I prefer my bezel to function, smooth, no extra play and with a beautiful crisp clicking sound. The bezel is so easy to grip and operate with gloves on and without gloves and even in cold, wet environments. I am also a stickler for bezel alignment as in my opinion the top bezel marker must line up perfectly with the top position on the dial itself. It bothers me like you wouldn’t believe when the alignment is off. Aesthetically the bezel details didn’t disappoint me one bit with its split lume triangle at the bezel top position or the minimalistic modern numerals or the raised round markers, all those details make for a great looking bezel.
What is really interesting to me is the crown/crown guards integration system. Essentially the crown is protected by a tube which from the dial side only a small portion of the crown itself is visible, but turning the case side up the tube has a cut out portion that allows you to grip/operate the crown. This crown system is what initially drew me to take interest in this watch. As for how the crown functions, it functions exactly how you would expect it to, flawlessly. I was surprised on how easy it was to grip the crown, I had some doubts to be honest, but my doubts were put to rest once I got my hands on the M-48 to try it first hand.
I like how Baldieri handled this dial with it’s design and layout. Of course the slightly domed sapphire crystal gives an excellent window to the matte black dial itself. The M-48’s dial is very clean, futuristic in design and quite minimalistic. The stenciled style markers remind me of the symbols on the Predators arm control panel. It has a military feel, but not our present time military, my opinion is that it looks quite badass. No doubts about the legibility of this dial with the marker/indices stenciled circles paired with the large black & white hands. I was skeptical at first on the sword shaped hands when I saw the watch in pictures, and even when I first received the watch. As I thought what hands would I recommend instead, no other hand style came to mind and to be honest I don’t think anything else would look better. There is a small date window located at the 4 o’clock position on the dial but Baldieri’s choice of a black date wheel with white numerals was the right way to go. It doesn’t become a focal point on the dial in my opinion, especially at quick glances, it blends nicely into the dial.
What I appreciate about the M-48 is that it’s no-nonsense appearance and it’s doesn’t care that it’s surrounded by a bunch a rehashed design flooded market, which makes the M-48 a standout piece. The unique shaped case with all the architectural angles and Baldieri’s understanding of design a large but comfortable watch lends to the wrist pressence that this piece has. The case itself takes a year from start to the finished production piece. The movement inside the M-48 is the Baldieri IT3HD, which is modified Seagull caliber. One thing that is worth noting here is I have owned large watches, that cost 2-4 x what the M-48 and most of them had seconds hand lag where the seconds hand stutters, sometimes stopping for a few seconds before resuming normal movement. That is not the case with the M-48, smooth seconds hand rotation around the entire dial.
The case has a WR rating of 300m/990 ft which I can appreciate. The M-48 came on a black leather strap with red stitching accents and a matte finish signed stainless steel buckle which lends to the comfortable wear of this watch. The only thing that I would change on the M-48 is making the lugs true drilled and have solid screw bars securing the strap. The M-48 costs $1200 USD which may be a reservation for some from purchasing this piece and especially if they are movement snobs. I am not saying that this justifies the price, but taking into consideration that the case itself takes a whole year from start to finish is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. “Because the case it is not 100% fully molded but partially CnC and then the sharp angles have to be done by hand etc etc. So by the time we finish to order the modified movement vents as well and all in all we take 10 to 12 months to complete” The M-48 has a plethora of nice details, kickass details that I personally appreciate. The M-48 is an affordable alternative to VDB, Ennebi, etc… and it gets my approval for recommending.
Thank you all for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.
Thank you to Baldieri Watches.
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Review Tests Passed:
*Easy grip and function of the crown with/without gloves on in wet and dry conditions
*Movement accuracy rate -11 seconds per day
*Dial legibility test in light and environments
*Lume duration test 7 hours
*Temperature test 24 hrs in below 30 degrees
*Comfortability test (leather strap) in work environment, outdoors.
*No scratches on case, bezel or crystal during all tests
*crown comfort(no digging into the back of the wrist/hand