Full Force: Reviewing the Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph

The Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph is ready and able to continue the successful heritage of its predecessor, the Tutima Military Chronograph. The new M2 edition exceeds the specifications set for the earlier model by the military and is now available to civilians and professionals alike. Read on for an in-depth review from the WatchTime archives.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - side
The Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph carries on the tradition of the renowned Military Chronograph from the 1980s.

Whoever chooses an M2 Pioneer Chronograph will own a professional time measuring instrument – one without compromises or extraneous design features. This streamlined timepiece emphasizes pure function and reliability, both in its technological features and design.

Excellent legibility, good wearing comfort, superior water resistance, a large central chronograph minutes counter hand, pressure tested for use up to 15,000 meters above normal, and shock resistance to impacts, vibration and acceleration up to 7 Gs in any direction – those were the specifications for the Tutima Military Chronograph in 1984 and were also accepted as appropriate standards for the M2 Pioneer Chronograph.

The Military Chronograph was first created in stainless steel. The new M2 Pioneer Chronograph is made of pure titanium – a material that is often used for professional watches as it is about 50-percent lighter in weight than stainless steel. Titanium is also antimagnetic and resists rust and temperature fluctuations. Modern machining methods can process titanium in many different ways. The M2 Pioneer Chronograph has a matte, bead-blasted finish that gives it a decidedly indestructible appearance, which is an accurate reflection of the true qualities of the 46-mm case.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - angle
The grooved rotating bezel, large pushers, screw-down crown and Kevlar strap offer superior functionality.

With a solid threaded caseback and screw-down crown, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters. The distinctive rotating bezel has eight deep grooves, which make the rotating ring easy to grasp and turn in both directions. The audible minute-increment ratchets are clean and crisp.

Arabic numbers and luminous dots mark the bezel in 5-minute increments. The zero position is highlighted both by a double-dot marker and a larger luminous orb. Despite the excellent lineup of features, the M2 Pioneer Chronograph is not suited for diving – the rotating bezel can be turned in either direction and is not scaled in minutes increments. The M2 Pioneer Chronograph is clearly meant to be a pilots’ watch, not a dive watch.

The rotating bezel encircles a thick sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides. It underscores the robustness of the case and also provides a clear view of the dial. An additional inner case made of Mu-metal – a nickel-iron alloy – binds magnetic currents and protects the movement from magnetic charge.

The generously sized chronograph pushers are exceptionally easy to use and are adapted from the Military Chronograph in both their size and shape, with especially good traction thanks to their textured neoprene inlays. Starting and stopping the chronograph is always precise and reliable, though the reset action requires a bit more concentration and effort.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - back
Caliber T 521 sits securely beneath a protective inner case and solid titanium caseback.

Tutima Caliber T 521 is notable for a special stopwatch function. Like the Military Chronograph, the stopwatch minutes are displayed from the center of the dial. This has two advantages: the display extends over the entire radius of the dial and is read intuitively, like a regular 60-minute display (instead of 30 minutes on a small subdial).

But there was one problem. Lemania Caliber 5100, which shows the elapsed minutes from the center, was used in the Military Chronograph. And while its production began in the early 1970s, it was halted at the end of 2002. This practically designed movement was used by Omega, Heuer, Fortis, and Sinn as well as by Tutima.

For the M2 Pioneer Chronograph, Tutima chose the reliable ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber and modified its offset elapsed minutes indication. This configuration is a patented in-house design, executed meticulously by Tutima in its new Glashütte factory. The result: both hands (elapsed seconds and minutes) turn from the center of the dial. But because they have almost the same shape and length, they are distinguishable at first glance only when they move. The hand for the elapsed seconds advances in small increments, following the 4-Hz rhythm of the base movement, while the elapsed minutes hand stands still.

But actually, that’s not the case. Closer inspection shows that the elapsed minutes hand is also in continuous motion, just like a normal minutes hand, which is another clear difference from the original movement. The ETA Valjoux 7750 has a minutes counter hand on a subdial that advances one position as the elapsed seconds hand passes the zero point. In addition to the pointer mechanism, which was adapted from an offset to a central elapsed minutes display, Tutima has also intervened in the chronograph mechanism. The display of the chronograph hours at 6 o’clock, which also runs continuously, has remained the same.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - front
The time and the elapsed time displays are easy to see during daylight hours.

Close examination also shows that the two center hands differ in their pivot points. The hand for the elapsed minutes sports two red airplane wings, while a portion of the elapsed seconds hand is simply marked in red. When the two hands cross each other, the red sections come together to form the shape of a complete airplane. Naturally this image also appears when the chronograph is in its zero starting position.

Tutima Caliber T 521 shows exceptional rate results. It runs very consistently – both in the various individual positions and in different situations. Its best performance is on the wrist, just as you would want and expect. There is hardly any deviation in the average rate when the chronograph is engaged. Another rather rare feature is the intensive illumination of the M2 Pioneer Chronograph, which was also adapted from the Military Chronograph. Only the permanent seconds at 9 o’clock and the 24-hour display at 12 o’clock retreat to the background. Everything else shines brightly in the deep green of Super-LumiNova. This makes it possible and easy to operate the chronograph functions and rotating bezel settings in the dark. Apart from the somewhat exaggerated illumination of the chronograph hours display, everything seems quite legible.

The M2 Pioneer Chronograph comes with a titanium link bracelet with a safety folding clasp. The set also includes a Kevlar strap, which is how our test piece was equipped, with a single-sided, titanium folding clasp. Kevlar is an extremely lightweight and durable fabric that is used for protective clothing for motorcycle riding, sailing and even space travel. The strap attaches to the case along the width of the tonneau-shaped center section of the dial of the M2 Pioneer Chronograph. It angles sharply downward thanks to integrated reinforcements. And although this provides a great ergonomic fit, the size of the M2 Pioneer makes it suitable only for men with larger wrists. But for these, with all its features, it is especially well designed.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - lume
All functions and features are easy to use, even in the dark.

SPECS:
Manufacturer: Tutima Glashütte, Altenberger Strasse 6, 01768 Glashütte/Sa., Germany
Reference number: 6451-2
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph (60-second and 60-minute central counter, 12- hour counter) 24-hour indicator, bidirectional rotating bezel, anti- magnetic protection with Mu-metal cage, screw-down crown
Movement: Tutima T 521, based on ETA/ Valjoux 7750, automatic, 28,800 vph, 44-hour power reserve, Glucydur balance, Nivarox hairspring, two-part fine adjustment, Incabloc shock absorption, 25 jewels, diameter = 30.0 mm, height = 7.90 mm
Case: Pure titanium, bead-blasted, sapphire crystals, double-sided antiglare coating (top), water resistant to 300 meters
Strap and clasp: Kevlar with titanium single-sided folding clasp
Rate results (Deviation in seconds per 24 hours, Fully wound/after 24 hours):
Dial up: -0.3/ +1.7
Dial down: +1.0 / +3.6
Crown up: +3.5 / +4.3
Crown down: +4.3 / +6.0
Crown left: +4.3 / +4.8
Greatest deviation: 4.6 / 4.3
Average deviation: +2.6 / +4.1
Average amplitude:
Flat positions: 321° / 292°
Hanging positions: 290° / 262°
Dimensions: Diameter = 46.01 mm, height = 16.07 mm, weight = 128.0 grams
Variations: With titanium bracelet ($6,700)
Price: $6,100

Vintage Eye for the Modern Guy: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. IW377724

About a month ago, via the Instagram of its CEO, Christophe Grainger-Herr, IWC Schaffhausen casually released the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. IW377724 to the market. This new watch is a conglomeration of historical designs by the brand, taking its foremost influences from the legendary WWII-era Mark 11 military watch, the early-1990s IWC Doppelchronograph reference 3711; the Mark 11-influenced 1994 Fliegerchronograph Reference 3705/6; and also from more modern styles developed by the brand, most notably in the contemporary Mark XVIII and the accompanying “Tribute to Mark XI” watches released last year. This might all seem a bit complicated, so to break it down, it’s basically a modern re-creation of a 1990s derivation of a 1990s watch inspired by the vintage Mark 11— simple, right?IWC Pilots Chronograph - front

To offer you a brief history on each of these historical watches, let’s begin with the vintage model (pictured below). The original Mark 11 was a utilitarian pilot’s watch first developed for the German military in the late 1930s, but then brought into the fold by British military in the early 1940s. It was easy to read and quick to produce, it could take a beating like few other pieces of the time, and — like so many other watches that have clung to soldiers’ wrists and changed the world — it has since been repackaged and re-imagined with luxury finishing for the modern market.

IWC Mark 11 - vintage

The original Doppelchronograph Ref. 3711 (“Double Chronograph” in English; pictured below via Christie’s) was not a military timepiece, but rather an innovative split-seconds chronograph designed by Richard Habring in 1993, able to time multiple events or multiple splits of one event at once. The double-chronograph mechanism (sometimes known as a “rattrapante,” from the French rattraper, for the act of recovering and recapturing) wasn’t innovative because it was a new innovation for the time — having first been created in the 1830s and first brought into a wristwatch by Patek Philippe as early as 1923— but because Habring was able to redevelop the complication through a complex series of modifications on a common Valjoux 7750 movement.

 IWC Doppelchronograph 3711

Finally, the 1994 Fliegerchronograph for which the newest Pilot’s Watch draws its most direct inspiration (pictured below, in ceramic), it was a watch almost identical in style to the Doppelchrono, yet critically differed in its lack of a double-chronograph mechanism in favor of the humble single chronograph. In the series’ run, it spanned two references (3705 and 3706) and alongside the Doppelchrono was a foundational model in the IWC Pilot’s Chronograph line.

IWC Pilots Chronograph - Ceramic - 1994
Heinz-Ruedi Rohrer, Zurich

 

The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. IW377724 has elements of each of these watches in its design, alongside a number of modern liberties more common in the brand’s repertoire today. The 43-mm flieger-style case, with its use of brushed steel, has a clear military aesthetic with an unadorned, solid caseback, the familiar Pilot’s Watch Chronograph pushers, and a dark green canvas strap. The black dial of the watch clearly distinguishes it from its IWC boutique counterparts, with its subtle outer minute ring reminiscent of a tachymetric scale, faux-patina-accented quarter-hour markers, and thinned Arabic numerals for the rest of the timing positions. Toward each quarter-hour is a different display, with a 30-minute counter at midnight; the day, date, and corporate logo toward 3 o’clock; 12-hour counter at the bottom of the dial; and running seconds at the 6 o’clock position. Displaying the time are Mark 11-inspired and faux patina-filled hour and minute hands, with a simple white pointer used as the chronograph seconds counter.

 IWC Pilots Chronograph - angle

Inside the IW377724 is the automatic IWC Caliber 79320, capable of a 44-hour power reserve, which— like its ‘90s predecessors — uses a Valjoux 7750 base movement. Accompanying its unorthodox arrival to the market is its an equally unusual limitation: the watch will not be made in a limited-edition quantity, but rather will only be available for a limited period of time (until October 2018) through IWC’s online boutique.

 IWC Pilots Chronograph - back - strap

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered the Mark 11 and its modern derivations for “Vintage Eye” (you can check out our first coverage of the Mark XVII from 2015, here), but this is the first time we’re seeing a watch not labeled as a “Mark” watch explicitly take on its vintage influences. More commonly, modern pilot watches with clear World War II vintage-style attributes are credited to the B-Uhr style like that seen in IWC’s Big Pilot series, which itself heavily influenced the development of the historical Mark series in the late 1930s. Nonetheless, in the style of hands, quarter-hour markers, Arabic numerals, and in nods to both utility and history via an undecorated caseback and faux patina, the influences of the Mark 11 are obvious on this modern watch.

However, it would be an overstatement to call the IW377724 a direct descendant of the vintage model, as it is much more the “re-creation of a 1990s derivation of a 1990s inspiration,” as stated prior. In comparison to the Doppelchrono and Fliegerchrono — two watches similar in all attributes but complications and size — the newest Pilot’s Watch Chronograph shares most of their traits. Between the flieger-style case, with its trademark pushers, and the dial configuration, with its hour markers, Mark 11 hands, and vertical subdials, the modern watch’s retro design distinguishes it from all its contemporaries in the series.

IWC Pilots Chronograph - dial CU

Of course, there are some differences: notably, the Doppelchrono was 42 mm in diameter and the Fliegerchrono 39 mm, while the IW377724 is 43 mm. And while the two retro pieces are still appreciated today in collectors’ circles, the contemporary piece benefits quite a bit from the past 20-plus years of improvements in finishing; this likely owes more than a bit to the luxury status Richemont has sought to bring IWC since acquiring the brand in 2000. These two traits have led the dial and case to appear cleaner, with less wording and more prominent subdials, and have allowed the watch to stand well on its own not simply as a 1990s watch re-creation, but also as a Mark 11 homage and an interesting piece in its own right.

IWC Pilots Chronograph - buckle

The newest IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is the kind of piece that vintage-watch writers love; a type that makes me feel like some sort of music guru, breaking down modern songs and pointing out that they’re little more than remixes of remixes of remixes. I would go so far as to say it’s the kind of piece, considering its unique features and unusual release strategy, that one would normally expect to see produced through some partnership between a brand and a specific boutique. (Or, as is becoming increasingly common these days, a partnership between the brand and a horological publication to create a limited run). However, and fortunately, it was released to the public directly by the brand for us to discuss; even more fortunately to some, it is priced the same as the non-limited, time-only Pilot’s Watch Chronographs at $4,950 — though who can say what its resell value might be come November? The limited-edition (and undoubtedly more significant)  Mark XVIII “Tribute to Mark XI” (below) is now sold out by the brand, and available secondhand for close to $2,000 above retail.

IWC Pilots Watch Tribute

For the most recent article in the “Vintage Eye” series, in which we compare the Seiko Prospex Diver 300m Hi-Beat SLA025 to its historical counterpart click here.

Caleb Anderson is a freelance writer with a primary focus on vintage watches. Since first discovering horology, he has garnered extensive knowledge in the field and spends much of his time sharing his opinions among other writers, collectors, and dealers. Currently located near New York City, he is a persistent student in all things historical, a writer on many topics, and a casual runner.

Winner Announced: Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Giveaway

Winner Announced: Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Giveaway Giveaways

We want to congratulate Seraphim M. from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who is the very lucky winner of May’s Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic watch giveaway. Congrats Seraphim, and thanks for being a valued aBlogtoWatch reader. We look forward to seeing your Traser out on an adventure! For all our other readers, there’s still plenty of time to enter to win June’s giveaway where we will select not one, but two winners to receive a Zelos Mako Bronze 500m Dive Replica Watch. The odds are in your favor!