Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wrapping up the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph

Well it has been well over seven days and sadly (for me) the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph finally bid me Auf Wiedersehen and returned home last week. I have spent the last seven days collecting my thoughts and now it's time to sum up.

It is ironic that I wrote about a Hanhart a few night because for a fair amount of time these two brands were often compared to one another.  Yes they are both made in Germany and both are known for chronographs and "flieger" / "pilot" watches in particular.  But in all honesty while I had worn a few different modern Hanharts, I had NEVER worn a Tutima except for a few moments at BaselWorld.  And what I am about to say is perhaps a bit strong, but comparing today's Hanhart to today's Tutima is like comparing excrement to cream.  To quote Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction:
it ain't the same (expletive) ballpark. It ain't the same league, it ain't even the same (expletive) sport.

The watches that Tutima are making are of such a superior quality that it is almost not something that is fair to compare.  But I come to praise Tutima, not to bury Hanhart ; )

So let's get down to it.  

The packaging is actually sensible. It is nice, basic, appropriate.  No massive oaken box that will sit in your closet gathering dust. Just big enough to hold your watch and allow it the presentation it deserves.

So let's start with the dial - clean, clear and legible.  All too often with a 3 register chronograph the "face" of the watch is so crowded and registers so randomly placed that they essentially nullify each other.  Not so with the Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph.  The three sub-dials provide a  30-minute counter and 12-hour counter (top and bottom), as well as the constant 60 second indicator Sweep second counter at 9 o'clock.  The date has been sensibly located on the inner portion of the dial so that it does not impose itself in the 3 o'clock marker - unlike too many other watches.

The dial color has been described as "Velvet black" and I would say that is a fair descriptor.  The hour indices are classic, balanced and were visible day or night.

On to the movement - and this was a wonderful treat!

The movement is designated as the Cal. Tutima 320 per the Tutima web site. It is a self-winding chronograph providing hours, minutes, seconds and date. The center counter is a constant sweep with 30 minute and 12 hour counters at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock respectively.

The time keeping was very good, with a slight deviation of approximately 18 seconds over a 48 hour period. Otherwise it was spot on.   Aesthetically the movement is beautiful.  The rotor is finished in antique grey, and adorned with a gold Tutima seal.

The movement boasts 25 jewels and 44 hours of power reserve.

The case is well proportioned and the finish work is clean and precise.  

It measures 43 mm in diameter and is an appropriate size - not overwhelming, but also not too small. To quote that other well known watch fan - it is "just right". The case is water resistant to 20 ATM, has a bidirectional rotating bezel, and a screw-down crown.

The finish is smooth, clean and precise. No rough edges, no nasty "half-done" surfaces. This is a thing of true quality.

The crown is smooth and the setting sequences are precise and function without any hesitation or slipping.

 The strap is a perfect match to the watch.  This is a classic watch, but not a "show pony" - an exotic strap of alligator would be too much.  Black padded leather with white stitching.  It was a wee bit stiff at first but broke in quite nicely.  The deployment clasp is a very nice touch and adds something a little special to an already wonderful watch.

So in case you haven't pieced it together yet, I have to say unreservedly that this is the best chronograph and one of the best watches that I've worn in some time.  Tutima was out of the spotlight for some time, and I think that given what they have been offering lately, that was time well spent.  The new Tutima watches are worth every penny in the asking price.  A beautiful, high-quality watch at a fair price.  

And here is the stat-sheet, straight from Tutima:

Modern Flieger Chronograph for the 21st century.
MovementCal. Tutima 320
CaseStainless steel
DialVelvet black
BandLeather strap with folding clasp
Diameter43 mm
Height16 mm

Movement details
: Automatic movement chronograph. Rotor antique grey with gold seal. 25 jewels. Polished screws. Power reserve when fully wound 44 hours.
: Date display. Hour, minute, small second, Chronograph 60-second counter, 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter. Sweep second counter. Officially certified German chronometer according to DIN norm 8319.
Case details
: Water-resistant 20 atm. Bidirectionally rotating bezel with luminous marking. Domed sapphire crystal anti-reflective on both sides. Screw-in crown. See-through back with sapphire crystal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rumors of Hanhart's Demise...

May or may not be greatly exaggerated.  Like a vampire, zombie, or Sarah Palin they seem to give you the impression that they are dead, only to rise again in the dark of night, moaning and seeking unsuspecting prey...
Courtesy of Hanhart

May I introduce the PRIMUS Survivor Pilot - Touted by the good folks at Hanhart as a "Limited Edition for Performers" - so needless to say you'll be seeing this watch on Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand and other notable "performers".

I kid (a little), but Hanhart is starting to become the watch world equivalent of the Boy who Cried Wolf.  For you North American fans, good news!  The new US distribution is being handled out of a medical office suite in Denver, Colorado!  So the good news is you can go skiing, break a leg, get it set, and view the collection all in one afternoon ;  )

Okay, but back to the watch - for all appearances it is eerily reminiscent of the infamous Desert Pilot Chronograph.  This watch was famous in that it was promoted like crazy, desperately desired by collectors and "mere mortals" alike, and (to the best of anyone's knowledge) was either never delivered or delivered on such a remarkably small scale that very few people can recall seeing it in person.  It became sort of the Keyser Söze of the watch world.

So it would seem that it's Prom Night once again, and we've been asked out, and we're all gussied up, sitting in the living room with mom and dad and the Polaroid camera hoping against all hope that Hanhart will show up for once, on time, with a corsage and a steak dinner at Sizzler!  But more likely than not, our fears are that they will ditch us at the last minute for some out of town girl (also known as the grey market) and we'll be stuck "wearing the Prom Dress".  And this is an $8,000 Prom Dress that can't be returned or exchanged.  For those of you not familiar with the expression "Wearing the Prom Dress" let's just say that it is not "an ideal state".

And proof positive that proofreading and editing are "superfluous luxuries" in the world of "manly timekeepers", I'd like to leave this in Hanhart's own salient words:

The watch’s outdoor characteristics are clearly in the forefront and speak to those individualists, which make conscious decisions when purchasing a unique timepiece.

Now truth be told, I like to think of myself as an "individualist" one who "makes conscious decisions when purchasing a unique timepiece".  I am not sure if the "outdoor characteristics" truly apply to me, but there you go.

The 3-Horses of KERBEDANZ

This was in the "in box" this morning.  The press release was a bit tough to follow, but the details of this lovely piece can be found below.

Courtesy of Kerbedanz

KERBEDANZ 3-Horses Ultra Limited Edition 14 numbered pieces

Manufacture Tourbillon Caliber, Functions Hours, Minutes
Sapphire Tourbillon caliber KRB-02 mechanical hand-wound,designed, manufactured and decorated
by KERBEDANZ and Concepto.
19 jewel, 21'600 alternations per hour,
72 hours of power reserve. 168 components, the tourbillon cage with 80 components and a weight of 0.42g.

Case & Bracelet
18K white gold, diameter 46 mm.
Design and manufacture by KERBEDANZ. Sapphire glass and caseback, with anti-glare. 5 atmospheres water-resistant (50 meters) crown placed in the north-east at 1h 30.
Piece served on its band of leather of Alligator Mississippiensis, the KERBEDANZ personalized folding buckle in 18K white gold.

White Solid gold. Low relief with the pattern of 3 horses. Exclusively designed,
fabricated, hand carved, and decorated

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Aether Watch Co.

It started out with an interest in making hand made, custom straps.  It always has to start somewhere!

For those of you who have not been formally introduced, may I present Aether Watch Co.

Courtesy of Aether Watch Co.
The goal was, and is to offer an accessible luxury watch with cases and dials from Germany and movements and hands from Switzerland.

Courtesy of Aether Watch Co.

The watches are presented with a Stone Creek custom made strap of the customer's choosing.

Courtesy of Aether Watch Co.

Prices start at $1,600 and are available direct - contact Aether for more details.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Doing Good - F. P. Journe

At the charity gala organized for the 15th anniversary of Action Innocence, F.P. Journe donated a unique Tourbillon Souverain in the colors of the charity for auction.
Courtesy of F. P. Journe
When the gavel fell, the final price was $300,000.