Tutima watches had a very proud moment in 1984 when their timepieces were chosen as the official timepieces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Europe. This didn’t happen because the chaps in Germany greased the right palms, but rather because their efforts paid off when it came to the stringent requirements set forth by any military organization in regard to both functionality and durability.
Space-age-looking even today, the original Lemania 5100 movement-powered watches are no longer produced, but iterations of the classic Tutima reference 798 watch have lived on in the brand’s collection. When the Glashütte, Germany-based brand recently “re-launched” a few years ago, part of their goal was to continue their classic collections in a more modern form for today. The Tutima M2 watch carries on the brand’s legacy in a very cool and sporty body.
The Tutima M2 collection is the natural ancestor of the original 1980s military watches that helped define the personality of the brand. The company began their focus on military and professional watches when they started to produce flieger (aviator) pieces in the 1940s. If you like a more vintage look in a sports watch, then I recommend you check out the Tutima Grand Flieger collection.
As part of Tutima’s relaunch, the brand announced that it would produce many, though not all, of their movements in-house. This was debuted in a very showy manner back in 2011 with the Tutima Glashütte Homage Minute Repeater – a classic-looking, thoroughly German watch with an in-house-made minute repeater movement. Of course, the M2 collection is about military style and functionality – so we aren’t expecting to see a minute repeater here, but the collection does contain the very capable and in-house-made Tutima caliber 521.
The automatic mechanical movement has a dial layout which is inspired by the famed Lemania 5100. What does that mean? Mainly, that it employs a collector-favorite chronograph with a central seconds and central minutes hand. This makes it easier to use and read the chronograph because the main dial is used for these two important pieces of information. The more common alternative, of course, is for the chronograph to have a central seconds hand along with subdials to measure the chronograph minutes and hours. The caliber 521 has three subdials like the Lemania 5100, but done in Tutima’s own way. One subdial is for the running seconds, another to measure the chronograph hours, and the last is a synchronized 24-hour indicator which serves as an AM/PM indicator. In all, I feel that this is a superior and more useful dial layout for a sporty chronograph than, say, a Valjoux 7750.
Other watches I’ve discussed with this particular and highly useful dial layout include the also German Sinn EZM 10 (review here), and the Swiss Breguet Type XXI (hands-on here). Note that these two watches also have either a fully in-house movement (the Breguet) or a heavily modified base movement (the Sinn). While all are lovely and highly legible, Tutima goes to great visual lengths to ensure that the chronograph on the M2 collection of watches is dead easy to use as well as read.
The Tutima caliber 521 automatic movement is currently used in a few watches produced by Tutima today. These include the various models in the M2 collection, as well as models in the more dressy Tutima Saxon One collection. Unfortunately, in the Tutima M2 collection, the movement isn’t visible through a sapphire caseback window like it is in the Saxon One – but that is for good reason, as the case employs a soft iron core to offer the movement a high degree of magnetic resistance.
The Tutima caliber 521 operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 44 hours. Functions include the time, date, 12-hour chronograph, and AM/PM indicator hand (you’ll love this when trying to set the date properly). Finishing is impressive, but as I mentioned above, it is a bit of a shame owners of Tutima M2 watches aren’t able to see it through the back of the watch. With that said, as this is a rather serious military-minded timepiece, “function first” are the orders of the day.
Tutima currently offers the M2 collection as four models which include the Tutima M2 on a strap (reference 6450-02) or bracelet (ref. 6450-03), as well as this Tutima M2 Pioneer on a strap (ref. 6451-02) or bracelet (ref. 6451-03). I should probably mention here that (as far as I know), the Tutima M2 models that come on the titanium bracelet also come with an extra strap – so getting those essentially gives you both wearing options.
The model I am reviewing is the Tutima M2 Pioneer (6451-02), but I feel comfortable considering this review as being of the entire Tutima M2 collection. Why? Well the only difference between the M2 and the M2 Pioneer is the internal flange ring as well as the presence of a rotating timing bezel. The Tutima M2 is more like the original Tutima 798 with sloped internal flange ring around the dial with a 12-hour scale on it, and the Tutima M2 Pioneer is more like some later Tutima models that include a rotating diver-style bezel to the design. Which you choose is really a matter of personal aesthetic taste, and whether or not you value the presence of a rotating bezel (which I happen to like a lot).