Tutima has created a mouth-watering timepiece, a horological tour de force, the Hommage Minute Repeater in rose gold.
I have a predilection for watchmaking from Glashütte. Last year, I had the good fortune to visit the town near Dresden and was somewhat surprised. The birthplace of German watchmaking is smaller than I imagined. However, it is densely populated with watch manufacturing companies.
Glashütte is world renown for its high precision, quality timepieces, dating back to 1845. In recent decades, more companies have chosen to establish watch manufacturing businesses in the town.
Today, Glashütte is populated with watch companies offering models from the accessible to the financially elusive, attracting seven figure prices. However, despite the varied pricing of timepieces bearing the Glashütte name on their dials, ubiquitous traits of quality and virtue pervade watches from this locale.
Tutima is no new start. It can trace back its lineage to two companies, Uhren-Rohwerke-Fabrik Glashütte AG (UROFA) and the Uhrenfabrik Glashütte AG (UFAG), formed in 1926 and 1927, respectively, by Dr. Ernst Kurtz.
The finest horological fruit from these companies was named, Tutima, which is a Latin word for “secure, protected”.
The companies were proud residents of the town and in 1941 produced their legendary two-button pilot’s chronograph, marked “Tutima”.
At the end of the Second World War, with the town of Glashütte left in ruins, Dr. Kurtz took the bold step to relocate his watchmaking operations to Memmelsdorf, approximately 40 miles north of Nuremberg. Moreover, he took several of his former employees from Glashütte with him to continue the production of high quality timepieces.
In 1951, the company relocated once more, this time to Ganderkesee, 12 miles from Bremen, in Northern Germany. It was here that the company continued its operations, enjoying growth and prosperity. Nevertheless, “home is where the heart is” and Tutima’s ancestral home is Glashütte. It therefore, seemed inevitable they chose to return to the birthplace of the brand, where everything began for a young Ernst Kurtz back in 1927.
In 2011, Tutima created a new state of the art manufactory in Glashütte. Moreover, it marked this significant landmark in its history with the creation of the mouth-watering, tour de force, the repeating Hommage wristwatch. The assemblage of more than 550 components is an awe-inspiring piece of horological art.
The watch is available in two variants, a platinum model with an open-worked dial and a rose gold version with a 18-carat solid gold dial, finely silver-plated.
In reality, I vacillate between the two models, struggling to settle on my preferred model. Whilst they both share much in common, they have different characters. The platinum version, limited to only five pieces, freely discloses its inner thoughts with open-hearted expression of its mechanical prowess. Yet, on balance I think I would favour the rose gold version.
The particular appeal of the rose gold version is that it has a restrained elegance. It has an understated decorum which does not boast with grandiose gestures. There is nothing outré about this most majestic of timepieces. It is highly wearable, lending itself to daily use and does not conspicuously crave attention with excessive adornment.
The hour and minute hands are rose gold, delivered in the unique Tutima house-style.
Gold Arabic numerals, presented in a stylised italic font, reinforce the traditional aesthetic appearance of the watch.
At 6 o’clock a subsidiary seconds display is located. It has snailed detail and charmingly overlaps the central snailed area of the main dial. A gold hand, lithe in profile, with a beautiful counterweight, works in conjunction with small black strokes to convey the elapsed seconds.
A minute rail, presented in black, frames the dial and thanks to peerless legibility facilitates user-friendly read-off of the vital information.
Beneath noon, residing in the central snailed area of the dial, is the brand’s nomenclature proudly proclaimed and beneath this the special inscription, “GLASHÜTTE / SA”. These words are not freely used. Glashütte is a protected designation of origin and by law at least 51 percent of the watch movement’s value must be added in the town.
The dimensions of the watch are perfect. Measuring 43mm in diameter and with a height of 13.4mm, the watch proffers sufficient size to be legible, yet is not too large to be considered unduly cumbersome.
All surfaces of the rose gold case are highly polished, however, the absence of satin brushing does not result in excessive expression. The execution of the case, with flowing form and curving line, beautifully engages with light in a subtle exchange which is a delight to behold.
Along the eastern flank of the caseband, shoulders reach upwards to cosset the knurled crown, affording some protection for its exquisitely executed profile.
Those of observant disposition will have noticed the slide on the right hand side of the case. This activates the repeating mechanism and energises a dedicated spring reserved for the striking mechanism.
Two gongs are employed to aurally convey the hours, quarter hours and minutes. Arguably one of the most difficult complications to master, Tutima have achieved greatness, bestowing a sonorous striking rhythm to induce appreciative smiles.
There is much merit within the case of this watch and Tutima thankfully indulges the wearer’s eyes with a horological vista par excellence courtesy of a sapphire caseback.
One glance at the hand wound manufacture movement and you are blinded by the brilliance of the superb craftsmanship exhibited within.
The three-quarter plate, a speciality of this watchmaking region, is presented not in untreated German silver as one might expect, but gold-plated bloom. Moreover, this material is employed on the balance cock and mainplate.
The balance cock and the barrel cover of the striking-mechanism are presented in relief engraving, the product of an artisan’s adroit hand skills.
Bevelling is masterfully presented, reaffirming the competence of the company’s talented craftsmen and craftswomen.
Examination of the winding wheels reveals snailing with a spiral shaped motif. The movement features 42 jewels, four of which are set in gold chatons, set with mirror-polished screws.
Mirror polishing also features on the click which interfaces with the winding wheel as well as the hammers of the striking mechanism. I scrutinised the outcome of patient endeavour with diamantine and can report the resultant finish is sublime.
Beyond the fine finishing, the technical specification is equally impressive. The minute repeater draws its power from a dedicated spring so as not to adversely affect the rate keeping of the watch. The power reserve is an impressive 65 hours.
The balance wheel features 14 gold weighted screws with an additional four regulating screws. The pallet lever has domed pallets to mitigate friction as the lever interfaces with the escape wheel. All aspects are distilled to perfection and testament to the ambition of the Tutima brand.
Tutima has laid down the gauntlet to other brands with the Hommage Minute Repeater, signalling it can compete with some of the finest names populating the world of haute horology.
Only 20 pieces will be made in rose gold and just five pieces in platinum. To many the six figure price tag may prove elusive and the watch will remain confined to their dreams. However, readers should take comfort that this demonstration of the brands competence should permeate to more accessible timepieces and result in further choice being available to those watch buyers of discerning temperament.
The Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater in rose gold is wonderful, but more importantly it marks a new era in the company’s history as it returns to its ancestral home and imparts its skill to a new generation of timepieces.
Model: Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater in rose gold
Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 43.00 mm; height 13.4 mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.