Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - Affordable elegance
Well informed watch fans are becoming increasingly aware of what constitutes an exceptional timepiece from mediocre offerings, courtesy of the profusion of informative magazines and websites.
Complications, such as tourbillons and minute repeaters, necessitate phenomenal skill to create. Indeed, some of these watches will, in some instance, feature more than 500 hundred parts, all made to an exceptional standard. The financial implication of pursuing and delivering this excellence can sometimes result in the price of a timepiece reaching near stratospheric levels.
As we approach Christmas competing maisons will be busy in their ateliers, putting the finishing touches to the novelties they intend to reveal at the forthcoming SIHH and Baselworld exhibitions. Earlier this year, very limited halo-pieces, some with seven figure price tags, vied for the attention from journalists and retailers alike.
The watch industry is a competitive arena where new technology jostles with fine finishing and accomplished design to garner the public’s interest and enhance reputations. Sadly, the problem with collecting watches is that there ultimately comes a time when you realise that the next must-have watch is beyond your financial grasp. Alternatively, the styling you crave may represent an opportunity cost too great to bear, with domestic bills and other financial obligations reminding you to exercise restraint.
The strength of the Swiss Franc has had an inflationary effect on some watches, at the same time, the demand experienced in emerging economies has also led to several watch companies being able to increase margins. However, there are a growing number of brands which have embraced value for money as a point of differentiation and, as a consequence, aim to deliver affordable mechanical timepieces that proffer desirable design language.
The likes of NOMOS Glashütte and their neighbour Mühle Glashütte have both created some deliciously delectable timepieces that don’t necessitate selling vital organs to secure possession.
Mühle Glashütte produce both modern and traditionally styled watches. In this particular instance, it is the brand’s Teutonia III Manual wind model which is the focus of my attention. It harnesses many styling details reminiscent of the classic pocket watches of yesteryear, but in the form of an attractive wristwatch.
Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - The dial
Cleanliness is a trait I personally hold dear, obsessively washing my hands every few minutes, fearful that some perilous pathogens may be lurking between my fingers. It should therefore come as no surprise that I appreciate the sterile appearance of the white dial.
The chosen angelic hue ensures contrast with the blue Breguet-style hands exalting legibility and,by default, aiding interpretation.
A slender central seconds hand, again presented in a blue tincture, reaches outwards towards the minute track that frames the extremities of the dial. Adjacent 3 o’clock, a rectangular shaped aperture resides, revealing the prevailing date.
The Arabic numerals used to convey the hours are unfussy, sans serifs, traditional in character and a paragon of clarity.
Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - The Case
Measuring 42.00 mm in diameter, the case is larger than similarly styled watches of yesteryear. However, I found the dimensions of the model afforded a comfortable fit and matchless lucidity. The profile of the lugs, as they extend from the caseband, are such that their form tapers downwards, encouraging the strap to encircle the wrist, again enhancing wearer comfort.
The bezel is fluted and the ridged design is partially repeated on the leading edge of the caseback.
The surface treatment of a case can significantly influence the overall temperament imparted to a watch. Mühle Glashütte have skillfully mixed polished and brushed surfaces. The caseband and vertical flanks of the lugs are brushed, whilst the uppermost surfaces of the lugs are highly polished. A cross adorns the vertical flank of the knurled crown.
Whilst this watch may be affordable, it remains a timepiece designed to appeal to the enthusiast. It therefore comes as no surprise to see the inclusion of a sapphire caseback allowing sight of the manual movement within.
Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - The movement
The MU 9412 movement is hand-wound and has received many notable enhancements to its specification.
A three-quarter plate is the first aspect which captures the attention of the wearer. It has become an aspect of movement design, often associated with Glashütte, the watchmaking town near Dresden. However, it would be remiss of me, as an Englishman, not to mention that three-quarter plates featured within English pocket watches back in the 19th century and should not be considered the preserve of the German watchmaking industry.
The three-quarter plate affords a tidy appearance to the MU 9412. Blue coloured screws feature on the movement. I am unable to ascertain whether the screws are blue by virtue of a chemical treatment or because they have been subjected to thermal hardening.
A horizontal motif adorns the three-quarter plate and balance cock. Mühle Glashütte have included a “wood pecker neck” regulator, allowing fine adjustment of the rate.
Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - Conclusion
Some may ask how the movement compares with, say, a hand-wound movement from fellow resident of Glashütte, A. Lange & Söhne. The honest answer is that economies can be discerned. The Glashütte ribbing on a Lange is executed to an exceptional standard and is the product of much labour-intensive patience. Moreover, the balance cock is engraved by hand, the swan-neck regulator has a mirror-like finish, the balance features a screwed balance and, of course, gold chatons pay due respect to traditional high-end watchmaking.
Sadly, not every reader of this article will have the pecuniary capacity to secure an A. Lange & Söhne watch. Some who seek the appeal of a watch from Saxony may feel they have to moderate their ambitions.
The reader should not misconstrue my comments, there are many pleasing details on the MU 9412 movement, used within this Mühle Glashütte watch, that are worthy of praise. Moreover, with a recommended retail price of £1820 in the UK, the Teutonia III Manual Wind provides an attainable option for stylish self-expression that allows those with restricted funds to enjoy an elegant timepiece of quality construction.
Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III Handaufzug - Technical specification
- Ref: M1-08-01
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date.
- Movement: MU 9412 movement, hand-wound movement; power reserve 42 hours
- Strap: Black leather strap with folding steel clasp.
- Stainless steel;
- diameter 42.00 mm; height 11.20 mm;
- water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres);
- sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
More resources about the Mühle Glashütte Teutonia III on Official Mühle Glashütte Website.