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During our summer vacation in South Tyrol and whilst sunbathing at the pool of our lovely residence in Caldaro sulla strada de vino, Windegg Residence, I was flicking through new Instagram posts and came across a new German dive watch, the F-1253 by Findeisen.
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A new dive watch, even if made in Germany, is nothing special in and of itself. Nevertheless, as a Damasko aficionado, I immediately noticed that the Findeisen F-1253 is equipped with a movement from the Uhrenmanufaktur Damasko, the A26. The A 26 in another manufacturer's watch? That immediately piqued my interest. When checking the first pics on the www the bezel of the F-1253 to me looked to me like the reincarnation of the 2014 Mühle Kampfschwimmer bezel. However, the bezel of the Findeisen F-1253 is visually more pleasing, less „martial“ compared to the Kampfschwimmer.

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This and other technical properties of the F-1253 made me wish to get the possibility to take a closer look at this watch in person. In August the watch was not yet available, initial reports on the Internet showed prototypes of the F-1253. First deliveries were scheduled for October 2021.
In the following time had some contacts with Martin Zettl and his wife Birgit and as a result I could take a closer look at one of the very first F-1253 models out of their current production. I chose for the blue dial F-1253 on a blue rubber strap.

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The brand

FINDEISEN is a new German manufacturer of mechanical wristwatches and is based in Leesten (Bavaria), a small village close to Bamberg.
However, production and sales take place in Nuremberg. Nestled into the old quarter of Nuremberg you will find watchmaker Andreas Wünsche being bend over Findeisen watches (www.uhrenwuensche.de).

The company was founded in 2017 by Martin Zettl. The name FINDEISEN goes back to Karl Ferdinand Findeisen (* 1869 in Hertigswalde † 1956), the great-great-grandfather of the Martin Zettl.

According to the website, Karl Ferdinand Findeisen wanted to design a pocket watch himself with his last name. But that was never realized.
Max Findeisen, son of Karl Ferdinand, only dismantled a wristwatch in the 1960s and redesigned the dial with a corresponding engraving.

The watchmaking idea was picked up again around 2014 and finally resulted in the first two model series, named „Königsberg“ and „Allenstein“.

The adaptation of a historical city history behind each Findeisen model is the characteristically feature of every Findeisen watch.

That’s why the new Findeisen diver's watch bears this somewhat cryptic name F-1253 - based on the founding year of the city of Memel or Klaipėda, a port city in Lithuania.

History nerds will find background information on the name giving cities of Königsberg, Allenstein and Memel on the website. The information has been compiled by a renowned Berlin historian.

The Findeisen F-1253

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While writing this review, I noticed one thing. Somehow the pictures of the F-1253 don't do the watch justice. This is often the case, and it is also true here that you cannot replace a direct personal visual inspection with pictures, no matter how good they are.

Martin Zettl did a lot of things right.

The 41,5 mm full stainless steel F-1253 is equipped with the Damasko A26-2. I am particularly pleased with the choice of this movement. Since long I wished for such a step taken by other German watch manufacturers such as Stowa, Laco, Archimede.

Laco had put out his feelers once (or twice), but unfortunately the result was not a „German watch with a German heart“. As a Damasko aficionado I am all the more pleased that Findeisen has taken this exact path. Findeisen advertises the movement as caliber FW 4251.

However, the logo on the base plate clearly indicates where the movement comes from.

Like the Damasko A26-2 the FW 4251 features the so-called bearing-in-bearing principle: The pawl-winding is guided in a ceramic ball bearing on a circular path and is itself mounted in the ceramic full ball bearing. All components of the FW 4251 are hardened, wear-free and low-maintenance. To minimize wear, the tungsten rotor is also equipped with a ceramic ball bearing.

The F-1253 is equipped with an inner soft iron cage which we all know from Damasko's martensitic ice-hardened stainless steel cases.

Findeisen added some interesting features to pimp Damasko’s A 26-2.
  1. The rotor is made of tungsten. Since a heavy weight makes sense for the rotor in order to make the winding as efficient as possible, tungsten with a weight of 19 g / cm³ is of course a good choice.
  2. The F-1253 is fitted with an Anachron hairspring. Anachron is said to be a better performing alloy than any Nivarox incarnation which is why it's used in Top and Chronometre grades.
  3. The barrel is made of Nivaflex, an iron, nickel, chromium, cobalt and beryllium alloy.
  4. The caliber FW 4251 is also regulated to 5 positions, with the aim of achieving an accuracy of +5 seconds per day as a max.
  5. The movement is „imbedded" in a special ethylene-propylene-dien rubber (EPDM) which is said to exceed the technical standard for shock protection, DIN 8308. EPDM rubber is considered to be extremely resistant to humidity and heat; the material is - for example - used in the construction industry (car-and equipment manufacturing, construction industry, seals of all kind).
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Technical specifications:

Case:
Stainless Steel 316L (1.4435), pearl-blasted
Diameter 41.5 mm, height 12.5 mm, L2L 47 mm, lug width 20mm
Inner soft iron cage (antimagnetic shield)
Water resistance: 20 bar
Weight 198 grams (on the steel strap) or 145 grams (on the rubber strap)
Screw down crown
Bezel with „turbine cut“ (Findeisen direct quote), I tend to say saw tooth bezel

Dial and hands:
Blue or anthracite
Applied indexes
Super-LumiNova®

Crystal:
Sapphire crystal, colorless anti-reflective coating on both sides

Strap(s):
Rubber strap with deployant featuring a quick adjustment and diving extension
Stainless steel bracelet with deployant
Nato straps with pin buckle are also available

Movement
Made in Germany caliber FW 4251 (basically a Damasko in-house A26)
"Top" with gilded Glucydur balance, Anachron, Nivaflex, 42 hours power reserve, adjusted to 5 positions, regulated to max +5sec/24hrs.

Price: € 2700 on rubber strap, € 2900 on steel bracelet

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Put to the test

After unpacking the F-1253 I immediately noticed three things.

(1)
The F-1253 is a solid chunk of steel - no wonder, the weight is almost 150 grams on the rubber strap.

For comparison:

Stowa Prodiver: 118 gr (on rubber with deployant)
Damasko DSub3: 137 gr (on rubber with folding clasp)
Sinn U1 S E: 127 gr (on Canvas)
Mühle Seebataillon: 131g (Titan case on rubber with deployant)
Rolex Submariner: 121 gr (on RubberB with original clasp)

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(2)
The bezel shows a pleasantly different design, a bit away from the usual design. As I already mentioned in my intro that the bezel to me looked like the reincarnation of the 2014 Mühle Kampfschwimmer bezel. However, the bezel of the Findeisen F-1253 is visually more pleasing, less „martial“ compared to the bezels of the Mühle Kampfschwimmer or Armida Sawtooth. However, larger than the saw tooth bezel of some Seiko watches and therefore easy to operate.
In any case, the bezel is an eye-catcher.

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(3)
The other eye-catching factor, if I may say so, is the dial, especially the dial color. With Prussian Blue, the color of great waves and starry nights, Findeisen has given their new F-1253 an excellent dial color.

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And here are my impressions after the F-1253 was on my wrist for a couple of days:

I already wrote about the dial and the Prussian Blue.
Only when you take a second, perhaps more intense look, you realize how nice the fit and finish of the applied indexes is. They are riveted, additionally glued and got a silver frame filled with Super-Luminova® .

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It should not go unmentioned at this point that the date disc is kept in the same blue as the dial. A very good idea in my opinion, and one that many watch manufacturers disregard.

Particularly eye-catching are details such as the sculptural, curved Findeisen “F” and the 12 o’clock index which reminds me of one of those uncountable coat of arms I have seen when living in the UK for a couple of years (My favorite pub in London was the Red Lion in Barnes). An interesting way to mark the „12 o’clock“ position.

The hands are nicely proportioned as member Nokie already mentioned.
Hour and minute hands hit exactly the hour and minute markers, readability is guaranteed at all times thanks to the size of the hands, the lume filled orange triangle on the tip of the second hand is another proof how many thoughtful ideas went into the design.

The sapphire crystal has a colorless anti-reflective coating on both sides. The double ar-coating does not affect the clear view onto the dial. Good readability is always guaranteed. This might not be that relevant for desk divers but for those under water it is.

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To emphasize on the tool(ish) character of the 316L stainless steel case Findeisen decided to completely bead-blast the case, something Damasko aficionados do appreciate. The use of beads creates a silky, shiny surface and ensures a fine structure. Interestingly Martin Zettl chose for 1.4435 stainless steel because of its better properties (corrosion, magnetizability )compared to 1.4404 stainless steel. Let me quote Martin Zettl here: „1.4404 is a „Butterstahl“ (soft as butter).

With a diameter of 41.5 mm, 12.5 mm in height and 47mm L2L, the Findeisen F-1253 offers quite common dimensions.

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The F-1253 is in good company though:

Stowa Prodiver: 42,00 mm, height 15,60 mm, L2L 50,30 mm
Damasko DSub: 43 mm (44.20 with bezel), height 12.6 mm, L2L 49 mm
Sinn U1: 44 mm, height 14,7 mm, L2L 51mm
Mühle Seebataillon: 45mm, height 12,7 mm, L2L 50mm
Rolex Submariner: 40mm, height 13,00 mm, L2L 47,2 mm

At this point I would like to draw the readers' attention to the lugs. The lugs are kept short which benefits to its wearing comfort. The attention to detail is also evident here. Beveled lugs are not uncommon. However, multiple beveled lugs are rarely seen, for example on the F-1253. The bevel begins narrow at the case and becomes wider towards the head of the lugs. The lug head itself is also beveled towards the outside.

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When I began handling the Prussian blue rubber strap I immediately liked it. The material is not sticky or grabby like some other rubber straps are. It is smooth and has a high quality feeling to it, the case adaption is perfect. On the wrist it wears very comfortably. No irritating smell.

The deployant is exactly the same Findeisen applied to their stainless steel bracelet.
In addition to a 20mm diving extension we already know from other bracelets the Findeisen deployant also comes with a quick adjustment feature. Inside the deployant there is a sliding mechanism. You operate this mechanism by a small button. You unlock the button and you can move the integrated slide forwards/backwards.

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The fluted crown is large enough to warrant easy operations, as a matter of course the crown is screwed in, protected by restrained crown guards. Crown guards normally don't get much attention but it is important to have them on a diver*s watch. So another box is ticked.

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Thanks to the saw tooth design the bezel is easy to operate, even with gloves (60 klicks). The bezel works precisely, without play. At the 12 o’clock position the bezel has got the typical lume pip inserted in the typical triangle which I already knew from the Stowa Prodiver and Damasko DSub.

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The markings are somewhat more reserved than is the case with other diving watches. In my opinion, Findeisen made a good choice here. The bezel perfectly matches the character of the watch, making the watch a coherent whole.

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Conclusions

For a young brand Findeisen already did a lot of things right. Almost all boxes have been ticked. As far as I am concerned Findeisen stands out benevolently from a large number of microbrands and established competitors.

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Findeisen certainly isn’t everybody’s darling. However, Findeisen is a German brand with aspiration, their products are technically more demanding than the vast majority. Owner Martin Zettl set the hurdles high.

It surely has not escaped your attention that the F-1253 isn’t cheap and this is exactly why I put the F-1253 in context with other dive watches in a comparable price bracket (forget about the Rolex Sub here).

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The F-1253 does not need to hide with the dive watches I already own. The F-1253’s functional specification document can easily compete with those of Stowa and Laco, it is even more demanding and - to me - seems to be on par with Damasko’s techniques; all in all the F-1253 confirms being an equal competitor.

As a German watch nut I appreciate that Martin Zettl chose for a Damasko movement and applaud him for choosing quality parts from Swiss component suppliers with a sure eye.The saw tooth bezel (Findeisen: „turbine cut) is just one example proving that, case finish is top notch as is the elaborately manufactured dial. Martin Zettl has left nothing to chance, everything is well thought out and, taken as a whole it justifies the price.

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If you are looking for a German dive watch, with excellent fit and finish and outstanding design, which also features some interesting technical gimmicks - and beyond - equipped with a German manufacture movement adjusted to five positions, don’t look any further, you already found it.

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Mike
www.fliegerfriday.com
 

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Very sharp watch and a comprehensive review, thanks for that!

I do like the color matched date wheel, and agree with you 100% - too few watch companies pay attention to little details like that.

When I look at the bevel on the lug, to my eye it looks like it was cut that way to match the teeth on the bezel. Really nice little detail.

If there was any niggle it would be the color of the hands. I think I would prefer if the hands were all white, rather than blue. Yes, the lumed parts of the hands are white, so readability should be very good. But all white hands would be just a bit more readable, taking it from very good to excellent.

Very nicely done watch though!
 

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Thanks for the review. That is a cool watch and I don’t think the price is bad. But the manufacturer should include both rubber and bracelet.

The only detail I would change is that hands. They are too similar. A thinner hour hand would be better.
 

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Great write up and photos.
 

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Wow, I really like this piece! The blue looks like a nice matte shade (no sunburst - yea!) and case dimensions are right on for me. Nice bold easy to read hands, bezel is unique.
I'll have investigate further, dial colors, etc. but the blue is nice. Also like the rubber clasp ratchet adjust, need more pics of the design.
 

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Very good looking watch! Nice bezel!
The only thing that i noticed immediatley were the hands which looks like IWC pilot's hands without enough distinction. Unfortunately it happens sometimes that some small detail distract otherwise superb watch design.
 

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I like many things about this watch. It would be nice to have a display case back, but not totally necessary. The only thing I don't like is the sawtooth bezel, which is kind of funny, because this is something that has drawn you to this watch.
 
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