Hands-On Review – Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph 6430-06

The Skinny

  • Movement: Tutima 310 (modified ETA 7750)
  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Thickness: 15.8mm
  • Water resistance: 200m
  • Price: $3,300.00 on strap

The Tutima company from Glashütte in German have been making watches for military forces since the early 1940s. Reference 798, their most recent military chronograph powered by a Lemania 5100, has been used by NATO forces since the early 1980s. The Tutima M2 range is the consumer-version of that NATO chronograph, albeit, with some additional luxury thrown in. By using a modified ETA 7750 Tutima can offer the M2 Coastline model at a lower price point than the regular M2 range.

If you have not heard much about Tutima, then that is probably because this German watchmaker does not have a large retail presence in North America. It is not as famous over here as other mid-range German brands such as Sinn or Nomos. I have covered Tutima’s history before in our review of the Patria here so I will not re-iterate it now.

Tutima’s military chronograph reference 798. Image credit: Tutima

First Impressions

The M2 Coastline is not a small watch. Sitting at 16mm thick, it is short, stocky and looks to be a bit of a brick. If that sounds negative, then I would urge you not to judge this book by its cover. The titanium case makes this watch wear lightly and the tonneau-shaped case is small enough, that even at 43mm, I have not banged it into anything after several days wear, honestly.

The Case

The case remains faithful to its military roots with the same barrel-shaped, lugless titanium body as the standard issue. Of course, I should not have been surprised at this practicality, since as a military watch, form will always succumb to function. The case may look ungainly but it has been consciously designed to hug the wrist and not get caught on anything. The bevels on the sides really help in that regard. All of the surfaces are brushed with crisp transitions from the top to the bevel to the sides.

The chronograph buttons integrate into the mid-section of the case rather than protruding out like a regular chronograph. What the buttons lack in extension, they make up for in size – each one taking up a third of the case side. What look like black rubber inserts on the buttons are actually machined, black PVD metal sections which work well to improve the feel and ergonomics. The similarly machined, and industrial-looking, signed crown screws down deep into the body of the watch until it is needed. This should not be often given the excellent timekeeping we observed on test – between 0 and +3 sec/day in all positions.

The titanium case back does not give any view of the watch internals and instead has a stylized four-pointed star moulding reminiscent of the NATO logo. What looks like a leather strap is actually heavy duty rubber with a leather insert. It connects to the lugless case quite high up the case leading to quite a gap between strap and wrist. The strap is also quite thick and stiff and like the case does not give the impression that it will be comfortable or easy to wear. Again, the M2 surprises with a comfortable and secure fit even though only half of the rigid strap is in contact with my wrist. The deployant push-button clasp is made from the same grey titanium as the case and while chunky, it is effective and suits the watch. I had no premature releases from the side-mounted push buttons while wearing the watch and the overall feel is of a well-engineered clasp. Unfortunately, it lacks any type of micro adjustment.

The Dial

The blue and white painted dial maximizes clarity with the main section in a matte finish and the two chronograph sub-dials in contrasting a gloss finish. Lume is plentiful with large rectangular plots in place of index markers and the entire hour and minutes hands covered. The printing is crips and the dial quality up to the standards we expect from this Glasshütte manufacturer, albeit seen through the lens of a military-inspired sports watch. Running seconds are recorded on the small sub-dial at 9 o’clock, chronograph minutes are recorded on the sub-dial at 12 o’clock and up to 12 chronograph hours are recorded on the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The Tutima logo and a date window at 3 o’clock complete the dial.

The sapphire crystal integrates into the case via a rather thin bezel giving the watch a minimal appearance in keeping with its military origins. The crystal does not appear to have much of an AR coating but the dial is quite matte so visibility was never an issue while on test.

The Movement

The Tutima 310 movement is a modified ETA 7750 and with 25 jewels and a 48 hour power reserve, the basic specifications are unchanged. The sub-dial configuration is also standard for the 7750 however, Tutima has removed the day complication that normally accompanies the 7750. The finishing of the movement is not on display, precluded by the closed caseback.

As with other 7750-based chronographs, the start/stop action is a little inconsistent at times but still perfectly workable. The action was not too stiff overall which is good, but there is some variation in just how much force was required to start the chronograph each time. The reset action is a delight though and I found myself starting the chronograph just so I could experience the soft, smooth and fast click back to 0. As with other 7750-based watches the action of automatic rotor is very noticeable. The free wheeling of the rotor is both loud – I am talking ‘audible across a room’ loud – and tactile – I mean ‘you can really feel it spinning away’ tactile. Whether this is good or bad depends on personal preference but deserves to be mentioned. I wonder if one of the modifications Tutima makes is to change the rotor to something with more mass.

Conclusions

I did not expect to like the M2 Coastline but it actually grew on me very quickly. It was impressive how a watch that looked so big and bulky was actually comfortable and practical to wear. I did not put the theory to the test, though I was tempted, I suspect the M2 is nigh-on indestructible. The qualities of the military chronograph do not seem to have been diluted much in the M2 Coastline. The military-grade titanium case is there along with its no-nonsense practical styling, as are the characteristically integrated chronograph pushers.

The watch is also good value when compared to other Swiss ETA 7750-based watches are typically in the $3000-$4000 range. Comparing the M2 Coastline to its more homegrown competition, it is 50% more expensive that a base Sinn 103 St but that is cased in stainless steel while the M2 is all titanium. If we compare the M2 to the titanium Sinn 103 Ti, the prices are much closer, with the M2 actually undercutting the Sinn by around $200. Combine the competitive price with the fact that the M2 is very much related to, and invokes the spirit of, the recent NATO standard issue mechanical pilot’s chronograph and I think you have a compelling argument for a modern, military pilot’s chronograph. Just try not to not judge its appearance before trying it on.

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