The Tutima x Revolution M2 Coastline Chronograph is now available for purchase on Revolution Shop.
Several years ago, my good friend Michael Stuffler, German pilot’s watch expert, told me the reason contemporary pilot’s watches are so popular is that they still breathe the “kerosene tainted air of former times.” Indeed, a pilot’s watch has a special aura, apart from its characteristics such as readability, robustness and utilitarian appearance. And it is this aura that makes them somehow immortal and more desirable.
Modern Bundeswehr Chronographs
In 1949, at the beginning stages of the Cold War, the United States and its European allies created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance to counter Soviet influence. In the mid-1950s, West Germany established their armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr were issued three German pilot’s chronographs beginning with the Hanhart 417 in the late ’50s, followed by Junghans’ J88 in the ’60s, and finally Heuer 1550 SG for most of the ’70s. While these three chronographs are highly collectible and legendary, I consider them predecessors to the modern Bundeswehr chronograph design code. All three watches also had complicated hand-winding movements that were expensive to purchase and service.
At the end of the 1970s, the Bundeswehr decided to open the bid to German companies for a new pilot’s chronograph. According to author Konrad Knirim, the foremost authority on German and British military timepieces, in 1979, Orfina Porsche Design manufactured the first automatic watch used by the Bundeswehr. The chronograph was fitted with a Lemania 5100 movement. The Orfina Porsche Design 5100 BW was manufactured in Switzerland by Orfina S.A., based in Grenchen, on behalf of Porsche Design.
Even though the Bundeswehr selected the watch in 1979, the Orfina Porsche Design Chronograph had, in fact, been around since 1973 and was sold to both civilians and militaries, including NATO. It was designed when F.A. “Butzi” Porsche was responsible for the Porsche design studio. The round and chunky case shape with short lugs started the era of modern Bundeswehr chronographs. However, Tutima would come to improve on this design just four years later.
The Bundeswehr automatic watch era also elevated the status of Lemania’s 5100 movement. According to Cheryl Chia, Revolution’s resident technical expert, the Lemania 5100 was designed in 1974 during the thick of the Quartz Crisis, which had led to a perceived need for cost-efficient yet better performing mechanical movements. The Lemania 5100 featured a vertical clutch system, which made it sufficiently robust for military applications. In contrast to a horizontally coupled chronograph mechanism where the chronograph seconds is driven by an intermediate wheel, a vertical clutch is typically integrated with the fourth wheel, which directly drives the chronograph seconds. As a result of having a directly driven chronograph seconds, the 5100 was said to have excellent shock resistance when compared to horizontally coupled movements of the time where the seconds hand was prone to stopping when subjected to shocks.
The movement plate and bridges of Lemania 5100 were held together by pillars sandwiching the moving parts. This significantly reduced construction costs as the parts were able to be stamped, as opposed to a conventional movement in which the baseplate is milled so as to create recesses to hold all the gears inside. Additionally, parts of the movement such as the column wheel, clutch plate and calendar wheel were made of Delrin, a high-tech, self- lubricating plastic.
The second automatic watch the German Federal Ministry of Defence commissioned in 1982 was produced and delivered by Arctos Uhrenfabrik, based in Pforzheim. Arctos chronographs became official standard equipment of NATO and the German Armed Forces under the NATO reference and supply number 6645-12-194-8642. These chronographs were also powered by the Lemania 5100 movement.
Tutima Ref. 798 “NATO” Chronograph
In the early 1980s, when the market was flooded with quartz watches, the German Armed Forces’ central procurement department developed a set of stringent criteria for a mechanical pilot’s chronograph and solicited bids from German watch companies. The story goes that they wanted a mechanical watch to avoid the uncertainty of a dead battery in a quartz watch. Tutima bid on the contract and begin developing what would become known as one of the toughest pilot’s chronographs to date.
Tutima won the contract by not only meeting the strict criteria, but also beating them with some impressive features. The most notable feature were the large chronograph pushers integrated into the case, that were functional for a pilot’s use with gloves — although it is more likely they were designed to avoid protruding buttons that may cause injury in turbulent situations, or worse break off. The case design really stood out from other military chronographs like the Orfina Porsche Design and Arctos. It has become the cornerstone of Tutima’s design for modern pilot’s chronographs.
The Tutima Chronograph ref. 798 became official standard equipment of NATO and the German Armed Forces under the NATO reference and supply number 6645-12-194- 8642 in the early 1980s and is in use as such to this day. The German Bundeswehr still have their own workshop for service and repair of this Tutima NATO Chronograph.
Dieter Delecate, owner of Tutima, tells us: “After the Flieger Chronograph which Tutima developed in the early 1940s for the pilots of the German Air Force, the official NATO chronograph of the German Bundeswehr became the symbol for our family owned brand Tutima. Pilots and clients from all over the world have admired its robustness, reliability and unique design for almost 40 years. This timepiece will always be an important figurehead of the Tutima collection.”
Some of the other features included the center chronograph minute counter with red plane-shaped tip, which is far easier to read than the small 30-minute subdial; a central red chronograph seconds hand; a 12-hour chronograph counter at six o’clock; and a 24-hour counter at 12 o’clock.
The Tutima ref. 798 had a 43mm stainless steel case with 14.5mm height. The case was built to protect the Lemania 5100 movement from magnetic fields of up to 80,000 A/m and shocks up to 7 G’s. Tutima called this watch “a vault on the wrist,” because the movement of the watch was so well protected, it was as if it were stored in a vault. A little known fact about the NATO chronograph is that, in 1992, German astronaut Klaus Dietrich Flade wore his Tutima chronograph on a Soyuz TM-14 for his mission to Mir space station.
When Lemania was acquired by Breguet, it eventually ceased production of the caliber 5100. Tutima and other watch companies using Lemania either stopped producing their military chronographs models or switched over to modified ETA/Valjoux movements.
Tutima returns to Glashütte
It was a dream of Dieter Delecate to return Tutima manufacture to its birthplace in Glashütte. It took him several years to realize that dream as he saw other historical watch companies rebuild their manufacturing in Glashütte. In the 2013 Baselworld, Tutima presented the new M2 series, a modern interpretation of the NATO chronograph, made in Glashütte.
The M2 had a massive 46.5mm titanium case, a soft-iron inner case for magnetic protection, 300 meters of water resistance, and a modified ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement. It featured all the functionality of its predecessor, with a modern movement. Even though the watch with titanium case and Kevlar strap was super light, it was still a massive presence on the wrist. There was certainly a desire from the watch enthusiasts for an M2 that was made in a reduced case size.
Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph
In March 2019, that prayer was answered by Tutima with the release of the M2 Coastline Chronograph series. It featured a 43mm solid brushed titanium case with 15.8mm height, and a 200 meters water resistance rating. The modern Tutima caliber 310, based on the ETA/ Valjoux caliber 7750, did not require a soft-iron inner case since most of the modern movements offer decent protection against magnetism, unless your office cubicle happens to be inside CERN in Geneva.
The chronograph pushers are ergonomically integrated into the rounded contours of the case. Tutima enhanced the pushers with additional black PVD coating and finished them off with a non-slip surface for a perfect grip. Like its predecessor NATO chronograph, the case design is free from any angular corners and sharp edges.
The dial layout of the M2 Coastline Chronograph offers perfect legibility and is achieved by the clear arrangement and linear design of all elements. It has a traditional chronograph function with a red central sweep seconds hand, a 30-minute counter and a 12- hour counter. The hour and minute hands as well as the indexes are coated with Super-LumiNova. A well-balanced placement of date at three o’clock is adjacent to the Tutima logo.
Tutima x Revolution M2 Coastline Chronograph
The M2 Coastline Chronograph provided an ideal canvas for our special limited edition of the timepiece. The new watch evokes the same spirit as the original ref. 798 “NATO” chronograph, but with enhanced wearability in titanium. The very first thought that came to our minds when we wore the M2 Coastline Chrono on our wrists is that it is super lightweight, extremely legible, highly functional — a perfect utilitarian military watch.
The forest green color has been favored by armed forces around the world because its muted tone helps soldiers blend into their surroundings. Khaki, aka “olive drab,” was the color of the standard uniform for U.S. soldiers during World War II and the Vietnam War, and it was also used on weapons and tanks. It was later replaced in 1981 by a camouflage pattern called “Woodland” that features flecks of sand, brown, green and black. Today, the armies of several countries still wear olive drab uniforms.
Elements of forest green color, when paired with overall dark PVD coating, make a winning combination, and we mean like pairing the rarest A5 Tomahawk Wagyu steak with a vintage Romanée-Conti, topped off with a Cohiba Behike 56 — perfect.
For that utilitarian edge, we gave the solid brushed titanium case a black PVD coating and matched the integrated pushers with black PVD finish. The dial remained velvet black with Super-LumiNova coated indexes for perfect legibility. The hour and minute hands are also Super-LumiNova coated, the seconds hand is in white, and the chronograph hands are in forest green.
A custom-made rubber strap is equipped with Kevlar on the topside with matching forest green stitching. The deployant clasp has an easy adjustment mechanism, and the clasp is also PVD coated to complete that stealth military look.
The chronograph is equipped with Tutima’s caliber 310 (with base caliber ETA/Valjoux 7750). To showcase Tutima’s handmade rotor seal in 18K rose gold, we included a screw-in caseback with sapphire crystal.
Alexander Philipp, director of sales and marketing of Tutima, remarks, “For the new Revolution limited edition, Tutima Glashütte reinterpreted the legendary and official watch of the Bundeswehr pilots in a strict military look. The typical features, such as the large push-buttons integrated into the case with a non-slip surface, offer great comfort even when using gloves. The readability and the useful features make this watch a reliable companion in all situations.”
Tutima X Revolution M2 Coastline Chronograph Ref 6430-99
Movement: Self-winding caliber Tutima 310 (based on ETA/ Valjoux caliber 7750), seal of rotor handmade in 18K rose gold; 48-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date
Case: 43mm; brushed grade 2 titanium with black PVD coating, sapphire crystal caseback; water resistant to 200m
Dial: Velvet black with chrono hands in forest green; Super- LumiNova filled indexes
Strap: Rubber with Kevlar on topside with forest green stitching; black PVD coated titanium folding clasp with easy adjustment mechanism
Price: EUR 2,850
Availability: Numbered and limited edition of 100 pieces