While the Swiss watch industry has the largest exports, and rightfully garners most of the attention, Watchuseek fora and editorial team has an avid interest in the German watch industry. Unlike extravagant events, sponsorships, and personalities of Swiss brands, German brands remain low key. This also means they offer a much better price to value ratio than the Swiss brands, while remaining on-par in terms of quality. In 2019, we observed that the Swiss brands dipped one too many times into the heritage well for inspiration. German brands on the other hand moved the dialogue forward with fresh designs and innovative movements. We selected ten of our best German watches of 2019. We did not include any Flieger watches, since we recently brought you the Best Pilot Watches of 2019.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Red Gold
In 2009, Glashütte Original presented the first generation of Senator Chronometer. Now ten years later they have improved the watch with a slimmer bezel (like PanoMaticLunar) in a Red Gold case and silver-grained lacquer dial. The hand winding movement retains the functions of predecessor with day/night indicator, Panorama jumping Date, and reset to zero mechanism. The 42mm Red Gold case has a matching dark brown alligator strap, and it is priced at $24,300.
The German Calibration Service performs Chronometer tests at its lab in the Glashütte Observatory. Every Senator Chronometer is tested here for a period of 15 days. Unlike Swiss COSC certification, where uncased movement is tested, Glashütte movements are mounted in the case, and tested in five different positions and at three different temperatures, ranging from 8 to 38 degrees Celsius. The watch only receives the relevant certificate if it performs within an average maximum daily rate deviation of two seconds.
Max Bill Chronoscope 100 Jahre Bauhaus
Junghans celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus with three limited edition watches, the more noticeable one being the Max Bill Chronoscope in White Gold for $8,995. The anniversary Chronoscope reflects the Bauhaus philosophy of Form follows function. The dial layout is minimal with 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, and 12-hour-counter at 6’o clock. The date is perfectly visible in red text and hour markers are extended to be prominent, while minute markers follow the edge of the dial.
Max Bill Chronoscope has 40mm dial in White Gold with a convex sapphire crystal. The watch is powered by modified Valjoux 7750 automatic movement. On the case back is the Dessau building designed by the founder Bauhaus movement, architect Walter Gropius. Chronoscope is limited to only 100 pieces. The creative philosophy of Max Bill lives on!
Nomos Club Sport Neomatik 42 Date Black
In 2019 Nomos focused on sports watches with a new metal bracelet. Just when you think how can a Bauhaus design be used in a sports watch, Nomos design studios in Berlin not only figured it out, but delivered a great sport watch. We selected Club Sport Neomatik version since it is contemporary, and with bold fonts, thick layer of luminous coating, it delivers better visibility under water. It is a large 42mm case and water resistant to 1000 feet. The new bracelet consists of 145 individual parts screwed together by hand, and a specially developed deployant clasp.
Club Sport Neomatik is powered by in-house Durowe 6101 automatic movement with swing system with tempered blue balance spring, date with bi-directional quick correction feature, and stop-second mechanism. A nice feature of the screwed-down crown is a red ring, if it is visible indicates that crown must be screwed-in properly. The retail price of Club Sport Neomatik is $4,060.
Tutima Patria Admiral Blue
Sleeper hit from Basel 2019 which flew under the radar in the hidden Tutima booth. We had a tough time finding the booth, as it was eclipsed by the giant Citizen booth (perhaps an appropriate metaphor). Like the classic rose gold models of the Patria series, Admiral Blue is powered by the finely gold-plated manufacture caliber 617 which can be viewed with the transparent crystal back. The in-house manufactured hands, which remind me of the Laurent Ferrier hands, complement the dial very well. The watch comes on a stylish hand stitched blue alligator leather strap.
Tutima has got everything right with this watch – Blue enamel dial, manufacture hands, manufacture movement, nice strap – and all offered for $6,500. Even though 43mm case seems large for a dress watch, it fit well on my wrist (I am used to 40mm watches). German watches in general have a good price to value ratio, but this watch has certainly raised that bar.
Lang & Heyne Georg Galvanic Black
Lang & Heyne surprised us this year with the departure of Marco Lang, even though they immediately announced that Jens Schneider will instead take over the technical development. Mr. Schneider is known for his work with Moritz Grossmann’s Benu collection, and A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk watches. Georg was originally presented during Baselworld 2018, and it won accolades for its bold rectangular case design, and the in-house movement. This year the brand introduced a new silver black galvanic dial in 960 Platinum and 18k Rose Gold. The Platinum version dial has just a hint of blue on the 12, 3 ,6, and 9 hour markers, which really makes the whole watch come alive.
The Platinum version has steel lancet hands and a huge eccentric seconds hand measuring 14.5mm. Georg has a manual winding Caliber VIII movement with 55 hours of power reserve. The retail price of Platinum Georg Galvanic Black is 38,800 Euros (Rose Gold is 29,050 Euros).
As part of AHCI exhibition in Basel 2019, Stefan Kudoke showcased two watches with new movements, both without his trademark skeleton work. Kudoke 1 is an understated three-hand watch. As they say that less is more. The small second at 9 o’clock balances the dial with the Kudoke nameplate acting as a counterweight. The bright frosted two-layer dial contrasts beautifully with the thermally blued steel hands. The hands themselves are unique in both the watches. Stefan designed the Infinity hands has his signature for the Kudoke watches. Through the sapphire crystal on the back you can see the hand-finished movement inspired by a historical English pocket watch.
Kudoke 1 case is 39mm polished stainless steel, though rosé, white and yellow gold cases are available on request. A Louisiana Alligator or calf leather strap is offered with a stainless-steel buckle. The old-world movement co-existing with a German minimalist dial design is worth the price of admission. The price for Kudoke 1 is 6,303 Euros (excluding tax).
MeisterSinger Metris Bronze
MesiterSinger presented their Metris watch series last year in Basel, and this year they made it more interesting with the Bronze Metris with blue dial. The watch has a contemporary 38mm slim retro case; a saddle leather strap; and a Swiss automatic caliber. It is fitted with a domed sapphire glass and a steel back secured with six screws. The contrast between bronzed patina and the sunburst blue dial, makes for a retro chic sports watch.
The magnified date window at 6 o’clock with red numbers is blends in well with the unique typography of the hour digits. Metris Bronze is not just meant to be a city slicker, it is perfect for outdoor activities with water-resistant up to 200 meters. The retail price is $2,295.
Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia IV Mondphase
This year Mühle-Glashütte is celebrating its 150th anniversary. To commemorate this special year, Mühle presented new watches in Basel 2019. The Teutonia IV Mondphase center of attention is the large moon phase display above the 6 o’clock marking. Under the dial, a 10mm lunar disc completes a full rotation in in 59 days. The period from a new moon to a full moon and back to a new moon of 29.5 days is portrayed on dial. The 41mm case has a white dial with applied indices and minute tick marks with small blue second and minute numerals. Another blue feature of this new watch is its lance-shaped hour and minute hands and thin second hand, all of which extend to the perfect length for clear readings on their respective time scales.
The movement is modified Sellita SW 280-1 automatic movement. Mühle uses its patented shockproof woodpecker neck regulation. The blue rotor has the engraving of the 150th anniversary of Mühle watches. Teutonia IV Mondphase has a retail price of $2,699 on the leather strap, or $2,799 on steel bracelet.
Sinn 6060 F.A.Z World Time
Sinn has been known to collaborate with various entities when it comes to their military and pilot watches. The 6060 FAZ Work Time is collaboration with Frankfurt newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) to commemorate its 70th anniversary in 2019. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in English translates to Frankfurt General Newspaper. It has been in circulation since 1949 and is considered one of the high-profile national newspapers in Germany. The anniversary edition 6060 FAZ is characterized by three simultaneously readable time zones on a 12 and 24-hour basis. It is perfect for people who are at home in the networked world of business and finance. This special edition is limited to 70 copies and the price is 2,770 Euros including tax.
6060 FAZ has a 38.5mm polished steel case, a deep blue satin-matt dial, applied appliqués, and double-sided anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It is powered by ETA 2893-2 automatic movement with time zone complication. On the rotor are the years 1949 and 2019, the limitation number and the FAZ logo “Kluger Kopf”.
Stowa Partitio Grey
Stowa is well known for their pilot and sports watches, but Partitio is a hidden gem with restrained size and features. Partitio is also the only Stowa watch to be sold in the Manufactum retail stores in Europe. The grey sunburst dial gives Partitio a more modern-day appearance, rather than vintage vibe of white or black dial. Yet with the 37mm polished steel case, and height of 10.8mm, it remains a discreet watch. The syringe hands work very well with the dial fonts. A simple change of strap can transform this watch from casual to semi-formal.
Partitio Grey is powered by ETA 2824-2 Top automatic movement. Interestingly, even though Stowa has changed their logo few years ago, this watch bears the old logo. The watch is limited to 100 pieces and the prices is 824 Euros excluding tax.
Please comment below to tell us if you agree, or tell us about your favorite German watch from 2019.
Photo Credit: Respective watch brands
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