Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph
The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph is revered by watch enthusiasts. This pilot’s watch is an officially certified German Chronometer according to DIN norm 8319. Steve Ashby examines this sublime aviator’s timepiece at close quarters.
Those who understand the art of watchmaking will know that you don’t need to use a timepiece for its intended professional purpose in order to appreciate its many virtues. I haven’t been deep sea diving in my life, but I own more than one diver’s watch in my ever-expanding collection. Likewise, I don’t foresee a time in my life when I might learn to fly, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t spot a stunning pilot’s watch when I see one.
As anybody who identifies as a ‘watch person’ will agree, these sorts of timepieces don’t just offer functionality and style, they tell a story or imbue a brand with authenticity and heritage. The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph is a perfect example.
In recent years, Tutima has released a variety of contemporary watches that appeal to a wide audience. The company also has an impressive heritage dating back to 1927. In the 1940s, Tutima famously manufactured pilots’ watches for the German Air Force. Back in 1984, the Tutima Military Chronograph ref.798 was voted the official pilot’s watch of NATO. This experience has conferred notable legitimacy, a quality which has percolated through time from the firm’s legendary Flieger chronograph of 1941 to this present-day watch. The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph feels authentic and possesses a charming vintage quality.
Keeping things simple, the dial is presented in ‘velvet black’, features white poire squelette hour and minute hands and sports bold Arabic numerals. Everything coalesces wonderfully, granting peerless readability. The Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o ‘clock have been supplanted by two registers – also depicted in black and white. These two registers, a 30-minute counter and a 12-hour counter, are arranged on a north-south axis. A simple date window sits at the 3 o’clock position, while a small seconds display is positioned opposite at 9 o’clock. A splash of red provides a touch of colour, boldly embellishing the chronograph hands. While the ebullient tone is used sparingly, it’s more than enough to enrich the piece with additional character.
What’s interesting about the dial is that, despite having all of the aforementioned features, it does not appear cluttered. Nothing looks out of place beneath the domed sapphire crystal and readability is excellent, making it ideal for those individuals who may need to quickly glance at the dial e.g a pilot.
Surrounding the dial, Tutima has endowed the watch with a brushed steel case and fluted bezel, incorporating a single red reference marker. The bezel is bidirectional but, unlike most of its competitor counterparts, it glides in a smooth motion when rotated, rather than being restricted by a ratchet. It’s a nice touch and again it’s something rarely seen, which gives it a strong thumbs up from me.
The watch is supplied on a 7-rows bracelet, another seldom seen feature. It’s also available on a leather strap. Both options are visually appealing, but I cannot express just how comfortable the bracelet is to wear. The brushed steel links are small which not only gives the bracelet a great deal of flexibility, but also means that you can adjust it precisely for an exact fit, resulting in a watch that hugs your wrist in a delightful manner.
Powering the watch is a Cal. Tutima 320 which is based on the venerable ETA Valjoux 7750 calibre. Of course, the calibre has been meticulously regulated by Tutima and joins the elite ranks as an officially certified German Chronometer movement (DIN norm 8319). The automatic calibre has received some additional decoration – most prominently in the form of a custom Tutima rotor decorated with the brand’s gold seal – visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The watch is £3690 (RRP as at 8.10.2019) when supplied on the bracelet, or £3450 when presented on the leather strap. Considering everything the watch has to offer, the buyer can be rest assured each version represents excellent value for money. The brand does produce in-house movements but, in this instance, the keen pricing of this model precludes an in-house approach. However, after wearing this timepiece and feeling the quality of the watch, not to mention the chronometer certification of the movement, I certainly did not feel shortchanged. Indeed, in my opinion, the watch is worth every penny
As pilots’ watches go, this is one of my favourites. It has all of the quintessential qualities you might look for, along with a welcome dose of Tutima character and individuality. Indeed, the brand’s German roots certainly shine through.
Some watch brands embrace avant-garde aesthetics and bold designs which can prove very appealing. Nevertheless, the Tutima’s classical appearance and the firm’s rich heritage prove too irresistible to ignore. Quite simply, the Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph makes a strong case for acquisition.
- Model: Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph
- Reference: 6402-02
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43mm; height 16mm; water resistance 20ATM (200 metres) sapphire crystals to the front and back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
- Movement: Cal. Tutima 320; automatic movement; contains 25 jewels; power reserve 44 hours
- Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp.
- Price: £3,690 (RRP as at 8.10.2019)