Tutima celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. We were invited, along with a small group of the brand’s friends and collectors by Tutima and Uhren Magazin, on the 2nd November, to join them in the celebration. The event took place in the beautiful German city Frankfurt am Main, at Juwelier Rüschenbeck Boutique, a family owned business and official Tutima retailer. In the opening, Thomas Wanka – Editor in Chief of the Uhren Magazin presented the history of Tutima Glashütte. His presentation was followed by a brand and collection presentation kept by Alexander Philipp, Director of Sales and Marketing of Tutima Uhrenfabrik Glashütte. This is our event report with live pictures and a short summarise of Tutima Collection.
A story of hope and rebirth – Tutima
Tutima has a complex history with ups and downs. Due to extraordinary people, the brand survived the 20’s crisis, the War World II, nationalisation and the 70s’ quartz crisis.
A jurist and a young brand – pre-WWII era
In 1927, Dr Ernst Kurtz becomes the chairman and managing director of the new founded Uhren-Rohwerke-Fabrik Glashütte AG (UROFA) and Uhrenfabrik Glashütte AG (UFAG). He was a firm believer that the future belonged to wristwatches and not to pocket watches. At the beginning, Tutima – from the Latin “tutus” (safe, protected) was not the name of the brand, but the name of the highest quality grade pieces provided by the manufacturer.
The watches produced in Glashütte were comparable and could compete with the Swiss produced timepieces. This led to an inspiring success. By the end of the 30s, a pilot two-pusher chronograph was developed. The precise and robust wristwatch was loved by the owners and it was produced in large numbers, reaching 30,000 pieces – a big number for those times. The watch was powered by the UROFA Calibre 59, which served as inspiration for the 2017 released Calibre T659 of the Tempostopp.
The “dark ages”
After the World War II, the company, along with all the Glashütte brands, was nationalised. Dr Ernst Kurt moved Memmelsdorf, north of Nuremberg in the newly formed West Germany. Together with some of the former Glashütte employees continued to produce high-quality calibres and watches in his Uhrenfabrik Kurtz (Watch Factory Kurtz).
In 1951, Dr Kurtz changes the production location to Ganderkesee, Bremen. 1956 is marked by the production of the low-cost calibre Kurtz 570. Dr Kurtz steps down and his friend Werner Pohlan takes over the leadership for the ébauche manufacture Norddeutsche Uhren-Rohweke-Fabrik – NUROFA (Norddeutsche Uhren-Rohweke-Fabrik).
Dr. Kurtz returns to manage the ébauche factory, renaming it to the original name of his factory in Glashütte, UROFA. Unfortunately, the factory closes soon. A former associate and friend of Dr. Kurtz, Dieter Delecate takes over and founds Tutima Uhrenfabrik GmbH. The brand manages to survive the quartz crisis by using Swiss produced movements.
An unexpected success and the modern re-birth
In 1985, after winning a contract with the German Air Force, Tutima launches the military line called simply NATO. The NATO was available in various configurations.
Delecate was behind the brand’s intention to return to Glashütte, its birthplace. In 2005, Tutima acquires a building and six years later it starts the production in Glashütte’s new location. In 2011, from the new manufacture, Tutima launches a limited-edition watch. Named Hommage, it was the first minute-repeater completely developed and produced in Glashütte. In 2013, the brand presents the in-house calibre 321, which draws inspiration from the Lemania 5100.
In the modern era, Tutima continues the military tradition with the beautiful M2, powered by the robust calibre 521, The Saxon One collection, featuring also a ladies’ line, the Grand Flieger with a classic pilot’s watch look, the Patria line with dress watches and the 2017’s Tempostopp.
The 90th anniversary and the Tempostopp
In 2017, the brand celebrates 90 years of existence. For the anniversary, Tutima released an exceptional watch, the Tutima Tempostopp, a special achievement of the Glashütte’s brand. The new watch is powered by Calibre T659, developed entirely by the brands’ manufacture as a reinvention of the 1939’s calibre UROFA 59. Since the plans and sketches of the pre-war calibre were lost, the brand’s watchmakers built the T659 from zero.
The movement is a hand-wound column-wheel chronograph with a horizontal clutch. Measuring 33.7mm in diameter and 6.6mm thickness, calibre T659 has 237 components, Breguet hairspring and balance wheel with gold adjustment screws. The movement has a power reserve of 65 hours for 21,600 vibrations per hour balance wheel.
The movement is nicely decorated with a sand-blasted finish, gold plated bridges and main-plate, hand-made anglage. The chronograph’s steel parts are straight brushed and make a lovely contrast with the rest of the components.
The Tempostopp and his Calibre T659 are a magnificent piece of haute horlogerie, honouring the Tutima’s heritage and Glashütte’s traditions. More information on Tutima Website.
Note: All the images are taken under difficult lighting conditions and it was difficult to re-balance the colour later.