Mention the German watchmaking mecca that is the town of Glashütte and the mind immediately makes the connection with über expensive, high complication timepieces from the grande marques A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original in particular. However, there are several smaller ateliers dotted around the old Saxony town and with their more illustrious peers focussing attention on the watchmaking hotspot, so all of these smaller independent companies have enjoyed a heightened awareness among watch enthusiasts around the world.
The Mühle-Glashütte company is one such example, and from their workshops they produce a collection of watches which they call Nautical Instruments, watches with a fine horological background but designed with the added purpose of being useful to professionals across a variety of services. Baselworld 2014 saw the family run watch brand unveil a number of new pieces on their kiosk and in doing so cemented their reputation as creators of high quality yet practical watches.
Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer – Special Ops
The new Mühle-Glashütte Kampfschwimmer watch has been designed for the Special Forces frogmen of the German Navy – a highly trained specialist unit akin to the US Navy Seals – who ply their trade under the name Kampfschwimmer and which this year marks its 50th anniversary since its formation, so the watch features a number of details – some obvious, some lesser so – which make it a practical and reliable instrument in the tough triphibian environments it was designed to find itself in.
The most obvious detail is the chunky saw-toothed uni-directional rotating bezel with luminous markings which ensure good legibility in low light conditions. The cue for this unusual design is taken directly from the emblem of the Kampfschwimmer unit, which is the sawfish. Slightly less obvious are the bezel markings themselves, for curiously they do not align with the five minute indices on the dial as they have been spaced in three minute increments, because in their training that’s how long the Kampfscwhimmer troops are given to accomplish a mission task or cover a set distance, so a glance at their watch will tell them what progress they are making relative to their training.
Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer – Special Anniversary
Elsewhere on the 44mm stainless steel case the sturdy screw down crown is located at the 4 o’clock position where it is less obtrusive and so is less likely to catch on a sleeve cuff. Turn it over and the solid caseback bears the sawfish Kampfschwimmer motif with 50th anniversary tribute.
Beneath the 2.5mm thick domed sapphire crystal, the dial is a deep blue and finished to a brushed sunray effect. The hands and applied hour markers are large and utilitarian and have been give the Super-LumiNova treatment emitting a distinctive vivid glow. Apart from the date window at the 4 o’clock there is no other ‘furniture’ to get in the way of the principal purpose of the watch which is to provide skilled professionals with a straightforward timing instrument.
With a depth integrity of 30m, the Mühle Glashütte Kampfschwimmer is no deep sea diver, but then a frogman would be unlikely to venture much deeper in his work. It is presented on a synthetic sailcloth strap with stainless steel buckle and is attached to the lugs with screws as opposed to the less strong spring bar alternative.
The SW 200-1 self winding movement has been modified by the Mühle watchmakers and features their ‘woodpecker’ neck regulator, Glashütte ribbing and Mühle oscillating weight. The Mühle-Glashütte Kampfschwimmer is priced at €2,500