Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

Tutima has a long tradition of making robust, reliable pilots’ watches. Indeed, the brand was entrusted to make a chronograph for the German Army. One attribute which differentiates some of Tutima’s chronographs from most rival watches, is the addition of a central chronograph minutes hand. Recently, Angus Davies spent two weeks wearing one of the German brand’s watches, appraising its specification at close quarters.

This review of the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03 includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

The creation of the Tutima UROFA Calibre 59 in the 1940s was a significant milestone in the company’s history. This watch provided the basis for the Flieger Chronograph, a model that has since achieved legendary status.

In 1985, the German marque unveiled the Tutima NATO Chronograph. This was a civilian version of a watch originally designed for the German Army. The chronograph featured three sub-dials: a 12-hour chronograph register at 6 o’clock, a small seconds indication at 9 o’clock and a 24-hour indicator at noon. Day and date indications were positioned at 3 o’clock and bold indexes were located on an inner flange. 

Most notably, the watch incorporated a central chronograph seconds hand as well as a central chronograph minutes hand, which had a red jet-plane-shaped tip. Having secured the German Army contract, the watch was worn by German Air Force personnel as well as NATO pilots.

With its magnetic resistance and anti-shock properties, this stainless steel watch was substantial, measuring 14.5mm in height. Unfortunately, the civilian version of the watch did not subscribe to the ‘ultra-thin’ trend prevalent at the time. Furthermore, with the arrival of quartz watches, the high-street consumer considered mechanical watches passé, impacting on sales. Thankfully tastes changed.

In 2015, the German company launched a new chronograph, the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph. While this timepiece exhibited a more refined appearance than its military-spec forebear of 1985, it harnessed several of the details found on the NATO-issue watch.

Recently, I spent two weeks wearing the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03, equipped with an ‘opaline anthracite’ dial and matching alligator strap.

The dial

The Tutima Saxon One Chronograph is available in a selection of dial colours, including ‘opaline silver white’, ‘Royal Blue’ and the aforementioned ‘opaline anthracite’. Each variant has a becoming complexion, however, I prefer the latter option. This hue exudes sophistication, making it an ideal accompaniment to designer jeans or formal attire. Indeed, versatility is a key attribute of the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

The hour and minute hands have spear-like tips which point to the indexes and chapter ring with laser-like precision, articulating time with extraordinary clarity. The indexes are faceted and applied to the dial epidermis.

Unlike the previously mentioned Tutima NATO Chronograph, the Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03 eschews a day display, presenting merely the date at 3 o’clock. Consistent with the historical military watch of 1985, the dial includes three subdials: a 12-hour chronograph register at 6 o’clock, a small seconds indication at 9 o’clock and a 24-hour indicator at noon. Tutima has cleverly differentiated time indications from the chronograph functions by suffusing the hands with silver/white and red hues.

A chapter ring encircles the flat plane of the dial, while an additional scale is presented on the adjacent dial flange.

However, the pièce de résistance with this chronograph can be seen centre stage. Although not immediately obvious, the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03 features two central chronograph seconds hands, one superimposed upon the other. Initially, I thought this watch was a rattrapante, however, this is not the case. The upper hand is a central chronograph seconds hand, while the lower hand is, unusually, a central chronograph minute hand. I don’t know why other brands don’t offer this means of recording elapsed minutes, it is clear to read and simple to interpret.

The case

The 43mm stainless steel case is a fusion of square and rounded profiles. The angled corners of the case elicit shadows, juxtaposed with gleaming facets. This collocation extends to the highly polished rotational bezel sat atop the satin finished upper case surfaces.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

At first glance the case appears symmetrical, save for the crown. However, just peeping out from the right hand side flank are two pushpieces. These operate the chronograph functions. The upper pusher starts and stops the chronograph, while the lower pusher resets the registers. The discreet nature of the chronographs reinforces the elegant and refined character of the watch.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

While the NATO Chronograph was a utilitarian object, the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03 brims with sophisticated grace and eye appeal. However, the Glashütte based firm has not abandoned practicality. For example, the crown nestles within an inconspicuous crown guard. Likewise, the bi-directional bezel, featuring a soupçon of red, proves ideal for measuring periods of time.

The watch is available with an attractive steel bracelet incorporating a distinctive H-shape link design. However, my press loan was fitted with a sumptuous grey alligator strap with folding clasp. The strap and clasp ensemble conferred a pampering wrist-feel.

Tutima has chosen to fit this chronograph with an exhibition caseback, according views of the automatic movement. Despite its graceful and sophisticated appearance, it is remarkably robust. ‘The case protects the movement against shocks and remains watertight to 20 atm’.

The movement

The Tutima NATO Chronograph (1985) featured a Swiss calibre, the Lemania 5100, a movement renowned for its hardiness. Upholding this reputation for robustness, the German firm created the rugged Calibre 521 as an alternative. This movement features the venerable ETA Valjoux 7750 base, modified to incorporate a Tutima mechanism for the central chronograph minutes hand.

Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03

Côtes de Genève adorns the openworked oscillating mass and the automatic device bridge. Circular graining (perlage) is visible on some movement components and the oscillating mass is embellished with the brand’s ‘gold seal’. It is functional rather than pretty and should not be confused with the German brand’s high-end ‘Manufacture’ movements. Nevertheless, the movement finishing is consistent with similarly priced chronographs from rival brands.

The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the power reserve is sufficient to deliver 44 hours of autonomy.

Closing remarks

In the sphere of pilots’ watches, Tutima has an enviable reputation. It fulfilled the procurement requirements of the German Army with its impressive NATO Chronograph and its watches continue to adorn the wrists of many members of the military. The importance of functionality and reliability are prerequisites for any ‘tool watch’, a fact that Tutima clearly understands.

With the Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 6420-03, the German firm has maintained its reputation for practicality and robustness. However, it has also embraced elegant aesthetics and employed luxurious materials. The dial, hands and case exude a palpable degree of excellence. Everything feels refined and sumptuous.

When a brand incorporates a long inventory of functions, the dial can become cluttered. Thankfully, no such criticisms could be directed towards this Tutima model. Despite the number of indications, the dial proves effortless to read.

The central chronograph minutes counter is intuitive to use. I have never worn another watch equipped with this feature, which is surprising as it makes so much sense.

The styling of this watch bestows practicality and elegance. The discreet pushpieces, neat crown design and numerous case facets imbue this model with a refined aesthetic which would not look out of place with cocktail attire.

Surprisingly, this virtuous horological entity has a modest asking price of £3900 (RRP as at 10.6.2019). Based on its long list of attributes, this watch represents incredible value for money and is deserving of a place on any chronograph lover’s wish list. 

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Tutima Saxon One Chronograph 
  • Reference: 6420-03
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43mm; height 15.7mm; water resistance 20ATM (200 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; 24-hour indicator; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre Tutima 521self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); power reserve 44 hours
  • Strap: Matching hand-stitched alligator strap with folding clasp
  • Prices: £3900 (RRP as at 10.6.2019)

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