If aviator watches (aka Fliegers) are one of the most popular and recognizable styles of watches that have come from Germany, then the Bauhaus style watches of the ’50s and ’60s (and of course, what we see today) cannot be that far behind. What is interesting is that is the path that we have followed with the watches from Australian brand Panzera. The last watch we took a look at from the brand was their Flieger, and today, we are looking at their Bauhaus entry, the Panzera Breuer.
For myself, the Bauhaus style of watch has always held an interest. These tend towards being minimalist, which keeps the dials clean and uncluttered, and telling the time is a simple affair. I have also found myself drawn to the fairly low profile cases combined with domed crystals. While the Panzera Breuer takes things in a slightly different direction here, they do manage to keep to the basic outlines of the design.
For instance, consider the 44mm case. Looking at it from straight on, you have a very thin bezel, which is to be expected. Looking at it in profile, you also (seemingly) have a thin case as well. This is actually a trick of the design, as the case tapers in at the point where the lugs come in, with a further tapering of a sort for the exhibition caseback. What this means is you actually have a taller case (to accommodate the Miyota 821A) than it visually appears to be.
Next, let’s talk about the crystal. While most entries in this style utilize a sort of domed crystal that actually has almost right angles at the edges, here, on the Panzera Breuer, the mineral crystal is more of the standard sort you see on many watches, albeit with a decent bit of curve to it. It does contain an AR coating, and in daily wear, it works well. As you can tell in some of the photos, however, if you get it into a bright glare, you can run in to some issues. In most regular situations, though (read: daily wear), it is not that much of an issue, and if you run into it, a slight twist of the wrist will take care of it.
Picking up some shine on the crystal, funnily enough, works with the overall aesthetic of the Panzera Breuer. The case itself has a high polish to it, and the included leather strap also is on the glossier side. Holding the strap closed, you have a deployant clasp, which is something I am still of two minds about. That is, the concept of a deployant on a leather strap, not the specific implementation here. For bracelets, the clasps make sense, and things are generally more compact. For leather straps, though, they tend to be a bit bulkier, which can cause issues (at least, it can for me) in terms of resting your hand down at the desk while you work. Yes, you do get the ease of on/off and always hitting the correct fitment, but for my money, I tend to prefer the good old thumbnail buckle on leather straps.
That really is the only issue I had, in terms of comfort, with the Panzera Breuer. Coming in at a very lightweight 83g (you can thank the minimalist design keeping the case weight down), this is a comfortable watch. The strap itself is of leather, and formed on to my wrist pretty quickly, though the floating keeper was a bit too large, which meant the tail of the strap would often work free. The great thing about a Bauhaus design like we have here is the flexibility of the watch. When I wore it to the office, it did not seem out of place whatsoever. Similarly, when I had it on with a suit, it again looked right. Perhaps it is not the best choice if you’re biking down some trails, sure, but most any other situation, the watch will work quite well.
I also liked the fact that the Panzera Breuer has lume in place on it. This shows up on the four compass point indices (with the 12 o’clock one flanked by dots to tell it apart), as well as on the handset. The lume itself, owing in part to the narrow surface area it could be applied to, is not something that will put your dive watch to shame, but that is not the purpose here. Instead, it gives the watch additional functionality, giving you the ability to check the time when out at a dimly lit restaurant or as the lights go down at the theater. It is not uncommon to see this (at least for me) in the Bauhaus-style watches, but it is less common if you view this more as a dress watch.
Another great thing from the dial perspective is the ink on the dial, in that there is not very much of it. You have a fairly small Panzera logo showing up at 9 o’clock, under which, in grey, the model name appears. That’s it. I might even suggest eliminating the model name, and having just the logo, but as it is, it is rather unobtrusive. Something that is a bit more of a issue with the design is (you guessed it) the date wheel.
I get that it is costlier to move to a non-standard color combination, but I find it surprising that Citizen (again, it’s a Miyota 821a inside) has not started offering a black date wheel with white printing on it. Or any other movement manufacturer, for that matter. If a smaller shop like Oak & Oscar can do it, there is a path forward. Hopefully, the brands will work with their suppliers and get this squared away for matched date wheels, at least on their black dials.
Alright, time to disengage rant mode now. I suppose I had a few of them on this review, but they are more a commentary on the bigger issues I have run across on a variety of watches, not something specifically new to the Panzera Breuer. Is the date wheel a deal-breaker? No, it’s not, just something I wish was different. What about the deployant clasp? Again, not a big deal – this could always be swapped out easily enough for a thumbnail buckle. Frankly, I really did like the Panzera Breuer.
Coming in at a price of $445, the Panzera Breuer offers an affordable take on the Bauhaus design, simultaneously offering us something bigger (in terms of diameter and visual height) and slightly different from similarly designed watches. I may be a bit biased, as I like this style of watch overall, but the Panzera Breuer was a watch that I enjoyed spending some time with. Hopefully, in future versions, the brand can make some minor tweaks, and come back with an even better version. Until then, I think that if you like Bauhaus-design watches, the Panzera Breuer is one you would be happy with. panzera-style.com
>Model: Breuer (ref. B44-01D ‘Celtic’)
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Sure, I could see that happening.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: This is for the person who likes the Bauhaus aesthetic, but wants it in a watch that’s a bit beefier.
>Worst characteristic of watch: It’s a tie between the date wheel and the deployant clasp.
>Best characteristic of watch: Style aside, how light it is for such a large diameter watch.