In 2013, Topper’s first year as a Mühle Glashütte dealer, our best selling watch of the brand was the Seebatallion. For those unfamiliar with that watch, the Seebatallion is Mühle Glashütte’s extension of their popular S.A.R. Rescue-Timer. Its most signature aspect was the way that it combined the features of a dive and pilot watch. It also featured an attractive and somewhat conservative blue dial. This year, Mühle Glashütte has come out with another dive watch, called the “Kampfschwimmer” (“Combat Swimmers”). The watch is named for the German Navy’s oldest and most highly-trained special unit which operated missions at sea, on land and by air. While the watch shares much in common with the Seebatallion, it features many unique design aspects and a sawtooth-like bezel that is inspired by its namesake.
Before we get to that bezel, I wanted to talk about what it has in common with, and how it’s physically different from the Seebatallion. In general, it shares the same foundation, but is much simpler. Both watches feature 44mm cases although the SeeBataillon is in titanium and the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer is in stainless steel and 2.4mm thicker. They also both have an external bezel, crown at four o’clock, and 300m of water resistance. The Kampfschwimmer sheds most of the instrumentation features: The chapter ring is bare, it features thin stock hands instead of pilot style hands, the bezel does not have any Arabic numbers and relies exclusively on stick markers. The Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer also features a unidirectional bezel versus bidirectional on the Seebataillon, and its lugs are wider and longer. The shade of blue on the dial is a vibrant cobalt, while the Seebatallion features a navy dial. Instead of utilizing the Seebatallion’s Indian Rubber strap which features endpieces that perfectly fit the contours of the caseline, the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer features a synthetic “sailcloth” fabric strap that is similar in composition to the strap found on the Longines Legend Diver or the Omega Dark Side of the Moon. Instead of featuring a deployant clasp it features a light tang buckle.
The 2013 Seebataillon (left) is slightly thinner at 12.7mm than the new Kampfschwimmer (right) at 15.1mm.
Another view of the Muhle Glashutte Kampfschwimmer.
A close up shot of the bezel.
The “sawtooth” bezel is, of course, the watch’s most dominant attribute. While most dive watches feature a bezel with ridged edges, the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer takes it to a whole other level. The design cue seems both taken from the sawfish that is at the heart of the both the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer’s 50 year anniversary logo on the caseback, and from watches such as the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf.
The sawfish on the back of the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
As would be expected by its design, the 60-ratchet bezel is incredibly easy to grip and turn. Also unique, are its markers. Instead of featuring five-minute spacing that lines up with the hour markers, they are placed every three minutes. Muhle’s press release describes this as a feature to match the typical tasks and training language of the actual Kampfschwimmers. How will it affect those outside the German Special Forces? After a moment of getting used to it, it’s really the same as any other sixty-minute bezel as it features long and easy to distinguish quarter-hour markers.
As it is with the more robust Rasmus 2000, mechanically, the watch features a modified Selita SW200. Muhle adds some of their signature components such as the blued screws and their own regulator system. These modifications have been well covered in other posts on aBlogtoWatch, with my favorite being in Ariel’s review of the Terranaut Trail III. The Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer retails for $3,899.
I’ve probably had a half dozen conversations with friends about the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer’s unique bezel, and everyone has had their own take. More than any watch I can recall seeing, the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer seems to screams out. How do you feel about this bezel?
The raised hour markers on the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
The nine o’clock portion of the dial and bezel edge of the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
The black date display and slight sunburst pattern on the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
The sailcloth strap of the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
The light tang buckle at the end of the sailcloth strap.
Another view of the sailcloth strap of the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer.
Rob Caplan is a fourth generation watch retailer whose family owns Topper Fine Jewelers on the edge of Silicon Valley in Burlingame, California. Topper is an authorized dealer of Muhle Glashutte, Nomos, OMEGA, Glashütte Original, Longines, Zenith, Ball, Bremont and other fine Swiss & German watch Brands.