Tutima M2 Chronograph

The Tutima M2 Chronograph Ref 6450-02 upholds the German company’s reputation for crafting exceptional military pilots’ watches. This particular model is equipped with the company’s Calibre Tutima 521.

This detailed review of the Tutima M2 Chronograph includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Tutima M2 Chronograph

Quite often when I travel to a European holiday resort, I observe street vendors selling counterfeit handbags, sunglasses and belts. These items may bear the name of a designer brand but sadly they are fake. The problem with fake products is they invariably lack quality, functionality and longevity.

There are some chronographs which while authentic, lack the necessary attributes for extreme conditions. They masquerade as something they are not. However, the Tutima M2 Chronograph features a tough titanium case, a soft-iron inner case and a maximum water resistance of 300 metres, making it the genuine article.

Tutima has an impressive track record making professional timing instruments. The brand from Glashütte developed the NATO chronograph in 1984, adhering to the requirements of the German procurement office. This watch is the official service watch of the German army’s pilots. The original NATO chronograph featured a Lémania 5100 movement. As the production of this movement has now ceased, Tutima have chosen to endow the M2 with its own caliber, the Tutima 521.

The dial

The white indices jump out from the black dial canvas. Adjacent each hour marker are Arabic numerals. The white hour and minute hands are functional, imparting information with clear, unambiguous tone.

Tutima M2 Chronograph

Unlike most chronographs, the Tutima M2 features two co-axially positioned chronograph hands; the seconds hand features a small section of red near the fulcrum of the dial while the central chronograph minutes hand sports a red arrow-shaped section. Reading off the elapsed seconds and minutes proves simple. Crisp white lines, positioned between each hour marker, augment the readability of each indication.

Where the various hands convene at the centre of the dial, they are presented in black. This creates the impression that each hand is floating above the dial epidermis and, in so doing, heightens their impact.

A 12-hour chronograph register is positioned above 6 o’clock. The display is framed with a red circlet and incorporates red Arabic numerals. The lone hand, circular dots encircling the register and the triangular index at ’12’ are presented in white. The triangular index at ’12’ mimics the hour marker found on pilots’ watches of the 1930s and aids interpretation.

A small seconds display is located at 9 o’clock, a 24-hour display is positioned at noon and a date display sits adjacent the crown.

Tutima has essentially upheld the layout of the original NATO Chronograph. The main difference is the absence of the day display on the Tutima M2 Chronograph and the use of slightly different typography. Overall, I prefer the appearance of the Tutima M2 Chronograph as it looks fresher and more contemporary. Both watches deliver a highly legible display, making them ideal for cockpit use.

The case

The case of the Tutima M2 Chronograph is fabulous. It is made of ‘pearlblasted’ titanium, conferring a muted appearance which mitigates the perception of scale. This is a large watch, measuring 46mm in diameter, with a case height of 15.5mm. However, the absence of lugs, once again, makes the watch appear smaller.

The profile of the case is barrel-shaped, providing the watch with a distinctive aesthetic. The watch pictured was supplied on a kevlar strap with a titanium clasp. The strap affords a comfortable union with the wrist. Tutima also offers a solid titanium bracelet which is equally as attractive, making it difficult to choose between the two.

Tutima offers another version of the M2 Chronograph, the M2 Pioneer. Essentially, this is the same watch but equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel. In addition, the bezel is adorned with 14 luminescent capsules, improving visibility in restricted light. Deciding between the Tutima M2 Chronograph and the M2 Pioneer, once again, may prove challenging. I would suggest the M2 Pioneer offers superior functionality, but does not look as eye-catching as the M2 Chronograph.

The Tutima M2 Chronograph is enriched with many delightful details. The chronograph pushpieces are rectangular and sit virtually flush with the case-band. Their discreet profile should help to prevent accidental actuation while granting a clean aesthetic. The vertical flank of each push button is adorned with black neoprene with a grippy, textured motif.

Tutima M2 Chronograph

The crown is positioned close to the case-band, sticking out only slightly. The unobtrusive crown offers two benefits, it is less likely to gouge the skin and its discreet profile makes it less vulnerable to impact damage.

Tutima M2 Chronograph

Consistent with its professional remit, the watch features a soft-iron inner case reducing the susceptibility of the movement to magnetic fields. It also has a screw-in case-back, adorned with a depiction of a biplane.

The movement

Housed within the handsome titanium case of the Tutima M2 Chronograph is the Tutima 521 self-winding movement. This movement is the brand’s ‘own caliber’, incorporating 25 jewels. When fully wound, the movement provides 48 hours of autonomy.

Owing to the solid case-back, no assessment of the movement finishing could be made.

Closing remarks

When Tutima created the NATO chronograph in 1984, it had to meet a raft of prerequisites. These included: ‘good legibility, reliable functionality, high comfort level, a large sweep minute counter, pressure-resistant for use up to 15,000 metres above sea level, and shockproofed for blows, vibrations, and acceleration up to 7g in all directions..’. The brand states the M2, ‘even surpasses these prerequisites’. Indeed, there is a palpable solidity to this timepiece.

While the Tutima M2 Chronograph is highly practical, it could never be described as utilitarian. It is too handsome for such a description. The barrel-shaped titanium case is exquisite. The dial is functional and attractive. The chronograph push-pieces are a tactile delight.

This watch is the product of an exacting military procurement process. Tutima’s expertise at making military watches has trickled down to the civilian market. The Tutima M2 Chronograph is an exemplar of German engineering prowess and could only be ever described as the genuine article.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Tutima M2 Chronograph
  • Case: Titanium; diameter 46mm, height 15.5mm, sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback; water resistant to 30 ATM (300 metres).
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: Tutima 521; Self-winding movement; 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
  • Strap: Kevlar strap with titanium clasp.
  • Price: €4500 (RRP as at 25.6.2018) 

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