November 2, 2013
While I’ve been content (so far) to view the vintage watch world from afar, I do have a soft spot in my heart for watches that draw direct inspiration from an earlier model in a company’s history. Just recently, Mühle-Glashütte introduced a watch in that very vein – the M29 Classic, and I quite like it. More good news is that price is pretty good for a Muhle Glashutte timepiece.
Interestingly, they didn’t just take inspiration from their own watches. They also delved into their earlier history when Robert Mühle was making precision measurement instruments for the watch industry in Glashütte. From this part of the back catalog, they settled in on the Model 29 indicator gauge. While this sort of gauge looks simple, readability is of the utmost importance – especially at the tolerances and scale involved. While I’ve not used this particular gauge, I’ve used others in my past working in an aerospace machine shop, so I know that accuracy and clearness are of the utmost importance.
This then informs the dial of the new M29 Classic – another spot where I find myself prizing instant readability. The cream dial reflects this attribute the most clearly (though the black-dialed version is handsome in its own right). The red indices, along with the simple numerals in black, call to mind the general layout and scheme of the indicator gauge. It’s almost a shame though, that they didn’t include sub-seconds on the dial, as that would really mimic the gauge.
They did, however, carry over the narrow hands you commonly see on measurement tools. While these aren’t as wide as some may like, they are of the appropriate length, and allow you to easily read out the hours, minutes and seconds as they extend precisely to the track you need to read from.
This brings us neatly to their specific horological inspiration. For this, they looked to their 29 Big, which was a nautical timepiece, built for (and inspired by) use on the waters, and all the robustness that this required. It’s from this watch that the design of the polished 42mm case comes to reside in the M29 Classic. Topping the case off, we have a sapphire crystal (AR coated), which works in concert with the screw-down crown to net a 100m WR rating.
All this protects the movement inside, which is the Selitta SW200-1 automatic. While not an in-house movement, Mühle has modified the movement to include a woodpecker neck regulation, as well as a signed rotor and their signature finishes on various components within the movement.
While there is a stainless steel bracelet that coordinates quite nicely with the polished and brushed case, for me, the star of the lineup comes with the leather strap. While there are two options, my personal favorite is the dark brown strap paired with the white and cream dial. To me, this really embodies what this watch is going for – true, vintage references as well as a look and style that just isn’t quite the same with the black dialed variant.
Regardless of the dial color, or your choice of wrist retainment, this looks like a very cleanly styled watch, perfect for those who prefer minimal clutter showing up in their watches. I’d say it’s also a good fit for anyone who’s spent time (or still does) in a precision machine shop, as they’ll pick up on the references quite easily. The M29 Classic is available now, for a price of $1,899 (on leather) or $1,999 (on stainless steel). muhle-glashuette.de