Tutima has been making watches in the storied German town of Glashütte since 1927. Having produced arguably the most advanced chronograph of its era for the Luftwaffe (eventually including a flyback complication and other innovations), Tutima was already hanging tough with the best Swiss manufacturers after less than 20 years in existence. WWII saw the company’s facilities destroyed, and the subsequent break up of Germany saw the firm operating outside Glashütte under communist control until the Berlin Wall came down in 1990. At that point, Tutima regained corporate independence and carried on outside Glashütte.
It wasn’t until 2008 that the company built a new facility and returned to Glashütte where it operates today. Meanwhile, Lange, Glashütte Original, and Nomos have grown their businesses substantially over time, so Tutima lags a bit in recognition as one of Glashütte’s great houses—though its recent watches suggest it is very deserving of that recognition.
Dual-timers are incredibly useful, so whenever I come across one I perk up. Few companies have done much to innovate in this genre, but the Tutima Patria Dual Time ($19,500) brings a fresh approach by putting a lone home-time hour hand on the subdial along with the seconds hand. This configuration certainly doesn’t announce itself loudly, yet making out home time on that subdial is surprisingly intuitive. A quick glance is all it takes.
To set the local time on the Patria, one pulls the crown out and turns it counterclockwise to move the centrally mounted local-time hour hand independently. This hand doesn’t jump between 12 positions as many dual-time watches do, but moves continuously. When learning about the lack of a jumping mechanism, I thought it would be a shortcoming, but when I used the Patria Dual Time I found it quite easy to execute changes to local time. An advantage to Tutima’s dual time configuration is that you’ll never accidentally bump a pusher and move that hand, nor will you need a pen or paper clip to actuate a recessed pusher. Given the trade-offs between the various ways a dual-time hour hand can be adjusted, I’d argue that Tutima’s method is as good as any other.
The movement is made in-house in Glashütte, and the finishing is typically German. Specifically, it is the shape of the big bridge-plates, the Geneva striping, and the beautifully finished bevel edges throughout the visible components that remind me of the style and high-quality of a Lange movement. The balance cock is hefty, much like those from the other German makers, and overall we can celebrate the level of watchmaking prowess Tuitima has accrued in Germany’s highly competitive technical milieu during the 20th Century.
The finishing on the case and dial also seem decidedly Teutonic. The dial is silvered, like those of Lange and Nomos. The misty, almost champagne-colored hue of the dial finish is, to my eye, just as alluring as a Lange dial, which I consider to be some of the very best in the world.
The solid 18-karat gold case is bereft of complex details, and as such is elegant and very comfortable to wear. The only real surprise on the case is the crown guards, which pronouncedly pucker around the crown. While the case isn’t going to be much of a talking point, it is tasteful and understated, just as the dual time complication is. As such, the watch feels integrated throughout.
With 100 meters of water resistance, one could conceivably use this watch in wet conditions—perhaps a waterproof leather of some kind could do the trick. But a solid gold dress watch like this will likely not be taking many plunges.
Putting it all together, the Patria Dual Time is incredibly elegant on the wrist with a lot of horological value. It does not rely on exalted design details but instead presents a pared-down approach to finishing the various surfaces both inside and out. That quasi-minimalist ethos is echoed in the choice to reduce the dual-time functionality to its bare essentials so that this watch hardly looks like anything more than a time-only model at first glance—a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.