Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Among the most collectible historic military pilot watches in the world are those produced in Glashütte, Germany, during World War II. Many of them were produced by Tutima, who seemed to more or less start out in the business of making aviation watches. Many of their vintage models require a keen eye to spot as they only say "Glashütte" on the dial, with the small Tutima "T" above it. Today, Tutima continues to make professional-themed pilot and aviation watches, with the Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph 6402 being among the most classic-looking of their modern models.

Flieger (pilot) watches continue to be so popular for a few reasons. First is the tendency for these watches to exude "purpose." Legibility ranks very high on their list of priorities, as does wearing comfort and durability. In my opinion, pilot-style and diving-style watches together probably represent the most popular types of timepieces sold today. This is, of course, despite the fact that few people who wear these watches are actually taking them into the air (as an aviator) or under the water.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A few years ago, Tutima reshaped itself, and with that came the reference 6402-01 (leather strap) and 6402-02 (steel bracelet) Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph models. Note that Tutima also produces the 6102 Grand Flieger Classic Automatic watches which eschew the chronograph complication for a day/date indicator on the three-hand dial. Larger and a bit more visually bold than actually more classic models, today's Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph watches are mid-range priced for Tutima, and offer aficionados a lot of modern features in addition to a handsome historic look.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Several years ago, I reviewed the Tutima Grand Classic Power Reserve watch here, which I would consider to be a modern ancestor of this 6402 Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph. Not too much has changed, and you can see that Tutima is evolving a core look that many collectors value. That look begins with hands which say "vintage tool watch." I don't know if these traditional-style hands began on aviator watches, but you see them often represented in historic tool watches for a few good reasons. First, they offer a lot of space to paint luminant so that you can read the time in the dark. Next, they are reasonably legible. Finally, the hour and minute hands are visually distinct, which further increases readability.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While somewhat cut off by the chronograph subdials, the dial is also given a full ring of purposeful-looking Arabic numeral hour markers. With this 6402 version of this classic pilot watch, Tutima decided to go for a flatter dial. Others had more raised, applied hour markers. Visual distinction is provided through different textures and shades. For example, most of the face is a matte dark gray, whereas the two chronograph subdials are a deeper black with a slightly different texture.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Red accent colors are also an important style cue, and the color is thankfully used rather sparingly. Red is used on the dial for the chronograph seconds hand and minute hand, but not the chronograph hour hand. I am sure there is a good reason for that, but typically when it comes to color coding hands, the hands for the time are one color, and the chronograph hands are another. Thus, while it probably aesthetically looks better the way Tutima rendered the dial of the Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph, my OCD tells me that the chronograph hour counter hand should also be red.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Red is further used for the "0 marker" on the bi-directional rotating coin-edged bezel. Tutima continues the tradition of making this somewhat archaic style of rotating bezel. I say archaic as they only have a single reference point (the red mark), and are thus theoretically less useful than a rotating bezel on, say, a dive-style watch that has more markers. The bezel has a pleasant, fluid operation to it. I don't think many people will use it, but it is a nice extra to play with.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The overall dial design is classic but veers just enough from the norm to be considered different. As I said, Tutima dutifully used traditional elements such as familiar hands and hour makers, along with the overall core look of the watch. But the contrasting subdials that overlap on the hour markers a bit are a more modern design element. Also notice that, akin to other modern Tutima watches (such as the Tutima M2 reviewed here), the running seconds subdial is small and de-emphasized. This creates the look of a two-subdial chronograph watch (which itself is a bit more classic than three subdials). The dial also has a relatively non-distracting date window, which is fittingly given a dark-colored disc to match the dial.

Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

On the wrist, the Tutima Grand Flieger Classic Chronograph is extremely comfortable and the case is made very well. In steel, the case is 43mm wide, 16mm thick, and durable with 200 meters of water resistance (crown screws in). Over the dial is a domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, and over the rear of the case is an exhibition caseback window. The case wears a bit larger than 43mm given the thickness as well as the prominent spacing of the lugs to accommodate a nice, wide strap or bracelet. Most of the case is brushed, and the finishing is excellent, on par which what you would expect from a modern German tool watch in steel at this price.

What do you think?
  • Interesting (3)
  • I want it! (3)
  • I love it! (3)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • Even with the Glashutte label required enhancements, this is still a pretty penny for a 7750 based watch. The bracelet does look comfortable but vintage hands seem so common and derivative. The bezel, while traditional is pretty worthless with just an index indicator. Certainly not a bad watch, and while I’d wear it for free I don’t know that I’d cough up $5.5K for one. I do like that they de-emphasized the running seconds to give it more of a “bix-compax” layout (even though that term is not strictly not appropriate on this watch).

    • Bill W

      Cathedral hands aren’t my favorite, but I like them more than Mercedes hands.

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Yup.+1_

      • SuperStrapper

        Amen

  • Word Merchant

    Not the most exciting start to 2017.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I like these toolish type chrono’s. But in this case, although I quite like its vintage-y touches like the bezel, I’d prefer, for example, the Sinn 358 Diapal from the other day.
    I like bracelets, and engineer type bracelets. But I really don’t like how these beads of rice type look.

  • IG

    Another 7750 chrono, exciting… Luckily they’re smart and subdued the subdial at 9, so the dreaded 6-9-12 layout is not so obvious. 7/10 for the design effort.

  • Marius

    First things first: let`s look at the brand name. Tutima sounds like the name of a cheap fashion brand popular amongst evil & nasty housewives. You know, the type who think that “Judge Judy” is the best.

    Let’s look at the movement. 7750. In other words, microwaved garbage. The article argues that Tutima is “…famed for their meticulous regulation and decoration of the movements.” Looking at the photos, I can see absolutely no decoration whatsoever. In fact, I would say that the 7750 is the Jerry Springer of watch movements — it’s ugly & unpolished but every brand seems to use it.

    Let’s look at the price. $5,500. Considering that we are talking about an unknown brand and that the case & bracelet look like they were assembled from old BMX parts by Paul Pluta himself, I would say that the price is rather high. At the $5,000 mark there is really only one iconic chronograph worth considering — the Omega Speedmaster Man On The Moooooooooooon! Available at most grey market dealers for around $4,000.

    • commentator bob

      The Valjoux 7750 is a fine movement that will run decently much longer than most chronograph movements will run. But it should definitely not cost $5K. Especially when manufacture versions can be had from Longines (a company with a better aviation history) with column wheels and proper 3-6-9 register layouts (7753) for less than half the price grey.

    • mattron

      Please stop comparing MSRP to grey market prices. Make it your New Year’s resolution.

      • commentator bob

        Even at the ~$3,500 this will likely cost grey it is overpriced for a 7750 watch. Hamiton versions go for under $1,000 and even the aguably nicest 7750 on the market, the Tudor Fastrider Blackshield, in all ceramic with Rolex/Tudor finishing and the better 7753 layout, goes for roughly the same ~$3,500 grey.

        • mattron

          Still a bit higher than what I found ($1800 – $3000 new). But at least there is now a useful metric to go with your opinion. It’s vexing to continually see comparisons between grey market and MSRP (which happens regularly, especially from Marius) because it is less than accurate and speaks to a potential misunderstanding of how grey markets work and their purpose. As to the overpriced part, that’s pretty subjective and should likely be left to the market to decide.

          • commentator bob

            If you are seeing this watch go for $1,800, or 66% off, then the market has spoken. Grey prices should be compared with grey prices, but grey prices are more legitimate than MSRPs when many watches are regularly selling at 30 – 40% discounts, and apparently 66% discounts for Tutima.

          • mattron

            Not sure what your point is at the end of your comment (no worries, I can be pretty dense). I will say I was surprised by the prices, however I wouldn’t pass judgment too soon on its success. There is still plenty of profit on the 7750 at $1800 (as Hamilton’s prices show).

      • Marius

        My New Year’s Resolution is to be meaner, nastier, and ten times more vicious than I was in 2016. Also, in 2017, I would like to acquire even more expensive watches with which to humiliate my friends, family, and colleagues.

        • mattron

          Shouldn’t be too hard, you are pretty tame. Though you might struggle acquiring more watches because there are only so many JLC and ALS models. Surely you have gotten all the good ones already.

  • SuperStrapper

    Always want to like Tutima but the. Designs usually fall flat with me for one reason or another. I think they are a better ‘3 hand’ brand than chronograph brand. Funny that they painted the tips of the hands white, but not with lume. The white is a different shade than the lume, and then of course doesn’t bloom in the dark. Strange. I like the idea of the bracelet, but out it a bit much visually, and when taken in alongside the similarly-styled bezel, it’s a bit of an overload. Sizing and finishing look decent, but I’m not going to pay $5k for this. I don’t know of a Tutima AD but I assume standard industry discounts can be achieved, bringing this into the neighbourhood of $4k, still too high.

    There is a Toyota dealer somewhere in Ontario and the dealership logo is a dead ringer for the cursive Tutima ‘T’. Whenever I see it on a can I wonder if the driver is an obscure WIS of some kind.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I was hoping the first watch of the year would have the wow factor and not the wonder why it was even made factor.
    Ok, it does what it says on the tin and clearly tells you the time, which is always an added bonus but boy is it super boring.
    I would wear it if it was a gift, but i aint paying 5k ,…….ridiculous.

  • BNABOD

    ok so this is very 80s to me, bid of rice bracelet which is in my book a huge fail then the bezel which I get it looked like that historically but not for me (Hanhart imho does a better job).
    you want a tutima get one of the 80s model w the Lemania 5100 in it for 2k get it serviced and call it a day and the Lemania is pretty bullet proof.

  • They do a UTC version with a white dial, too, which is far more interesting looking, to my eye, anyway. Goes for about $3000 new online: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ab82a8fb2ee406fc30186340b8697b6ad9c77d79cbdaef786c0fe3e5437ccbc.jpg

  • Bill W

    I thought this part was amusing:

    {“In my opinion, pilot-style and diving-style watches together probably represent the most popular types of timepieces sold today.”}

    That’s like saying “In my opinion, water probably freezes at 50 degrees.”
    Care to look that one up?
    And what’s a “modern ancestor”?

    • OK, I’ll bite. What styles of watch do you think are more popular then diving and pilot styles?

      • commentator bob

        I see a lot of people wearing dead seconds watches.

      • Bill W

        It could be true that diver/pilot watches are the biggest sellers. I don’t know (and I suspect neither does AA), that was my point. If you see a lot of white cars on the road where you live that doesn’t mean that white cars are the most popular. You’ve gotta look at the sales numbers. Unless he meant those two styles are liked the most, that people are the most enthusiastic about them regardless of sales…and I don’t know how that would be quantified. I think his wording was a little sloppy with no research to back it up.

  • Bert Kanne

    Terribly overpriced. It’s at most a $1500 watch.

    • mattron

      Pointless price comments are pointless. It’s worth what someone will pay for it. That’s the central tenet of capitalism. The watch company’s sole purpose is to sell you a product for more money than it costs to make it, meaning all watches are overpriced.

      • Tom Erne

        Pointless remarks to pointless price comments are pointless…
        Overpriced is indeed an subjective term, and which was given in a subjective mode however made to sound objective.
        But to call a product essentially overpriced for including a margin is…pointless;)

  • Svetoslav Popov

    And why should I pay more than double the amount Hanhart asks for their somewhat more attractive and historically rooted models?

  • TrevorXM

    Here’s a good example of the abuse of “Made In _________” labels on a watch. It is a Swiss / German hybrid. As many have stated, the price is ridiculous. At $5500 from a C level brand name, it should be an in-house movement. That’s where the market is now.

  • Grumpy Cat

    Gaudy looking. I don’t see a German or Austrian military pilot wearing one of these while flying Mach.

  • JF Schnell

    2017 started and I am already being tempted to get a new wrist machine. The only problem is the price… but still a watch I would by if the money tree was full of leafs to pay

  • The Reclusive Boogur T. Wang

    Good review of a well-made and well designed time piece
    Severely over-priced as well.
    While it does offer the possibility of a “retro” styling; IMO it also suffers from ‘too much hoped for and too little delivered.’
    It appears to be a 3-hander that took a wrong turn on the assembly line.

  • Omegaboy

    Really like this watch, but am shocked at the price. A new Speedmaster or an Explorer can be on your wrist for $5500.

  • otaking241

    Hate to start the year on a sour note but everything on this watch looks cheap and half-baked. Especially bothersome are:

    – Crappy stamped endlinks on the bracelet
    – Weird white halo on the handset
    – Paper-like texture on the dial
    – Chintzy chrome-like finish on the bezel
    – Weird mismatch of polished and brushed finishes on pushers, case and parts of bracelet
    – Date window looks like it was created with a hole punch

    And the punchline–$5500 for a 7750-based chrono! Tutima has a great legacy but they need to choose: either be a tool watch with prices to match or up your fit and finish game to compete with serious watchmakers in this price bracket. Yes IWC charges $10K+ for a watch with the same base calibre but they’re in a totally different league in terms of quality and design.