- Diameter: 43mm
- Thickness: 11.2mm
- Movement: Tutima Caliber 619
- Water Resistance: 100m
- Price: $19,500
Ask a watch enthusiast to name the most famous watchmaker in Glashütte, and that honour would likely be bestowed on A. Lange & Söhne. Or, maybe Glashütte Original. Or, if you like your watches modern, perhaps Nomos. I doubt many would answer Tutima. Perhaps that is because Tutima’s history took a very different path to those other, more famous Glashütte brands, after 1945.
At the culmination of the second war, most of the Glashütte facilities had been destroyed and what remained would soon fall under the jurisdiction of the Soviet regime as part of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) aka East Germany. Before the treaties were signed, Dr Ernst Kurtz, chairman of the Glashütte watchmakers managed to relocate himself and some of his workers to Ganderkesee in Lower Saxony in the West of Germany. However, watchmaking in Ganderkesee did not flourish in the subsequent years as it had in Glashütte before the war. However Tutima continued to make high quality watches and their Chronograph ref. 798 was even voted the official pilot’s watch of NATO in 1984, but mainstream success eluded them.
After German reunification in 1990, the other old Glashütte brands quickly regrouped in their previous watchmaking heartland in the old GDR. However, Tutima had an established business Ganderkesee and could not simply up sticks and move back to Glashütte at the drop of a hat. Therefore the move back took time, time in which A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original were busy re-establishing themselves. In 2008, a new factory was finished and Tutima finally relocated back to the region where it had all began and rejoined, the now reborn and increasingly successful Glashütte brands.
The Patria range is best described as Tutima’s formal line. The individual models vary in complication but all share the same beguiling classic casework. The case and lugs are all gracefully rounded and polished. You will find no utilitarian brushing here. The styling is definitely traditional but Tutima have brought it up-to-date in choosing a contemporary size for the watch and by minimizing decorative elements. Only the crown is spared this pared-down look and gets a whimsical stylistic flourish. The large onion crown is surrounded by two tight fitting guards that wrap around the ornate crown. Overall, the Patria has a solid, smooth, curvaceous puck of a case.
The strap is made from thick, high quality, chocolate-brown aligator leather. The substantial feeling of the case is thereby enhanced by the material choices in the strap which I find a perfect complement in both colour and character. The signed clasp is executed in the same 18k gold as the case. While Tutima describe this as rose gold, the colour is much closer to yellow gold, without any evidence of a pink hue.
Only the crown is spared this pared-down look and gets a whimsical stylistic flourish.
Upon strapping on the Patria, the initial impression is of high quality, due in part, to the sheer weight of the gold in the case now resting on your wrist. However, there is a little more to it than that. The minimal use of embellishment and detailing in the case design gives the Patria an air of purity and design simplicity that, when executed in the lustre of solid gold, invokes a feeling of pure luxuriousness. A more complex case shape, even when made in the same gold, would not have this feel.
All of Patria movements are designed and manufactured in-house by Tutima and come with a choice of complications. The Patria we have here contains the 619 movement which adds a dual-time complication to the 617 small seconds base movement. There is also an alternate Patria that comes with the 618 movement which adds a power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock.
The balance cock is well-finished and substantial albeit skeletonized. Location is via a single screw, again in the Glashütte style. It locates a compact screwed balance oscillating at 21000 vph and utilizing a Breguet hairspring. For the uninitiated, this is a hairspring where the outer coil loops up and over the rest of the spring on its return to the fixing stud. The ‘Breguet Overcoil’ as this loop is called, helps keep all of the coils concentric by reducing sideways thrust and reduces isochronal errors. These are the errors that occur due to differing torque loads depending on whether the watch is at full-wind or partially wound-down. This is important for a manually-wound watch which keeps time through more of its mainspring torque range than an automatic watch which is usually at full wind because of the wearer’s arm movements.
The Patria’s dial is large, open, clear and beautifully finished. The traditional Glashütte silver plated dial takes on more of a gilt colour with this dual time model. The faceted hour markers are applied in 18k gold and have a slight narrow arrow-head shape. The rest of the dial markings are printed in black and that printing is exceptionally fine. The umlaut in Glashütte below the Tutima logo is basically not visible to the naked eye, but under my 10x Bausch & Lomb loup the double dots are perfectly printed even though the entire letter is much less than 1mm in height.
The gold hour and minute hands evoke a traditional spear shape but as with the case, Tutima have modernised the look and removed anything extraneous. The resulting hands are elegant and the overall appearance seems neither old nor new. In that regard, are a great match for the modern classic feel of the rest of the watch. The minute hand hits precisely on the delicately printed minute track a fraction of a millimeter wide running around the outside of the markers.
A more complex case shape, even when made in the same gold, would not have this feel
The small second hand apes the minimalist styling of the spear hour and minute hands albeit on a much finer scale and then ups the anti with the most delicate needle hole at its end. The hole is so small, I am not sure how one would even go about machining that. The quality and finesse of that tiny second hand is a pure watchmaking flex by Tutima and it’s awesome.
The small seconds hand shares its subdial with the blued dual time hand. This hand is the same spear style as the other three but the relative scale of the point is modified. I appreciate the design cohesiveness achieved through the use of a repeated hand design that varies the scale, proportion and colour. Perhaps, because the finish is blued, another tiny scratch is visible on the hand, albeit, only under loup magnification.
The subdial is engraved into the silver dial with perfect concentric circles and printed with numerals every 2 hours representing the 12-hour day of the second timezone. The blue hand stands-out perfectly which meant I could check the second timezone instantly.
The quality and finesse of that tiny second hand is a pure watchmaking flex by Tutima and it’s awesome.
For me was the real standout feature of this watch. I’ve used GMT watches before with a fourth hand and 24 hour bezels, and while effective, they are not as simple or quick to use as the Patria. The combination of using the seconds subdial and a dark hand against the gilt silver dial is genius. My day job involves working with teams in Europe so with this feature, the Patria was an instant hit. A quick glance was all that was needed to check if my European teammates were at lunch, in their daily meetings or preparing to leave the office for the night.
I had no idea what to expect with the Tutima Patria before this review. What I discovered was an exquisitely made watch that espoused the design tradition and quality of Glashütte watchmaking. In conversation with others, it was clear that the watch instantly appealed, almost universally, to a traditional concept of a luxury watch.
The Patria also appealed at a deeper level after a longer aquaintence. Tutima have done a really good job of blending tradition with modernity in the Patria. The case is traditional but then pared-down to its basic elements with just one single decorative twist thrown in. The dial is traditional but the execution is absolutely modern in its precision. The handset also takes tradition as its jumping off point, but then rationalizes and aligns the design of all four hands to create something utterly modern in its cohesiveness.
A quick glance was all that was needed to check if my European teammates were at lunch, at their daily meetings or preparing to leave the office for the night.
The caliber 917 is a beautiful in-house movement in the Glashütte tradition that provides a useful complication with an understated, highly efficient dial-side implementation. I personally love that it is manually wound rather than automatic since I can see more of the movement finishing. I also appreciated the morning ritual of winding the watch, however with a 72 hour power reserve, the Patria will forgive the occasional forgetful or rushed morning routine.
Within the world of Glashütte, the Patria occupies a rather unique position. Choose the stainless steel case of the small seconds or the power reserve models and you will be buying a watch at a price that offers tremendous value. It will have the same quality and modernity distilled from a traditional approach that the dual time here has but at around one quarter of its price. However, I love the implementation of the dual time complication and for that reason, and my daily work, I can see one in my future one day.
The handset also takes tradition as its jumping off point, but then rationalizes and aligns the design of all four hands to create something utterly modern in its cohesiveness.
For anyone that has reached a certain level in business where a Glashütte watch is an option, then the Patria Dual Time is definitely one to look consider. This watch feels like it positively embodies serious decision making. It is around the same price as the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia but provides a dual timezone complication and a modern interpretation of Glashütte values absent from the more traditional Saxonia.
For me, the gold case puts it out of reach and I’m OK with that. Aspirations have to be worked towards right?