Teutonic and Tough: Spotlighting 4 No-Nonsense German Sports Watches

If you are partial to watches with long, hard-to-pronouce names, are encrusted with glittery jewels, feature intricate filigree finishes, and perhaps include tourbillons whirling away inside of them, you can just move right along; there is nothing for you to see here.

If you are still with me, then feast your eyes on these four über-tough German-made tool watches and admire the precision engineering that goes into each one of them. (Please note much of the content has been compiled from earlier articles by different authors which are linked at the end)


Sinn doesn’t make “timepieces,” it makes “einsatzmesser,” or “mission timers,” which should help you understand why the Frankfurt-based brand belongs on this list. The U2 S is a dive watch made of German submarine steel, the same alloy that’s used on the outer hull of submarines. In its final production stage, this steel is “Tegimented,” i.e., hardened using Sinn’s special engineering process, and coated with a layer of hard black material. The resulting surface is nearly as hard as sapphire. (For comparison, the 316L steel used for watch cases has a hardness of 220 Vickers; submarine steel is at least 300 Vickers; hardened submarine steel is 1,500 Vickers; and the extra hard coating brings the hardness up to 2,000 Vickers, i.e., the same hardness as sapphire.)

Sinn guarantees that this watch will continue to work at temperatures between -49 and +176 degrees F. This wide range is achieved by using synthetic oil in tandem with manufacturing tolerances that take into account the watch materials’ tendency to expand or contract as temperatures rise or fall.

The watch is well-protected against water and moisture. The case is water-resistant to 2,000 meters. The seals are made of green Viton, a synthetic rubber and fluoropolymer elastomer that has a longer lifespan than the black nitrile rubber often used for O-rings in watches.  Water resistance is increased further by Sinn’s dehumidifying technology: the case is filled with a protective inert gas that has large molecules, which makes it even more difficult for water vapor to penetrate. Another element of Sinn’s dehumidifying system: copper sulfate capsules inside the case, which bind any residual moisture.

In short you have to picture a pretty bleak scenario where this watch with a case made of submarine steel that’s been hardened and then coated with a layer of hard material, features water resistance to 2,000 meters with stay-dry technology that uses a filling of protective gas and stay-dry capsules, a rotating bezel with minute ratcheting and luminous key marks and hour, minute and second hands coated with luminescent paint, is likely to fail you. This version sells for approximately $3,450

For more about Sinn’s technology based ethos, read WatchTime editor-in-chief Roger Ruegger’s interview with brand owner Lothar Schmidt. For a hands-on review of the watch, click here.


Damasko DA 43 Black

For its timepieces, Damasko, based in the Bavarian town of Barbing, uses exclusive, cold-hardened, nickel-free stainless steel. This metal is about four times harder than conventional stainless steel due to its special heat treatment. The 42-mm case also has the brand’s black Damest coating that makes scratching it virtually impossible.

The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on both sides, making this watch both scratch-resistant and easy to read in bright sunshine. Legibility is never a problem at night either, as the entire surface of the dial is coated with Luminova C1 white paint.

This watch is water-resistant to 100 meters and features a bi-directional rotating bezel done with a level of engineering precision that makes adjusting it a uniquely pleasant experience with each solid click. The movement is protected against magnetic fields thanks to a soft iron inner lining — and by the fact that said lining and the dial, movement retaining ring, and a second, inner caseback are assembled into each other to form an antimagnetic shield.

So you’ll likely be strapping on this virtually scratch-proof, easy-to-read watch — with a well-protected ETA 2836-2 movement as its functioning heart — for many years of your most arduous travels. The Damasko DA 43 Black sells for about 1,540 euros.


Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - front

Founded in 1927 in Glashütte, Tutima derives its name from the Latin word meaning “safe, secure.”

The M2 lives up to that mission statement as it is made of pure titanium, a material that is about 50 percent lighter in weight than stainless steel. Tutima has integrated its own Caliber 521 into this case, which is pressure-tested for use up to 15,000 meters above sea level, and for shock resistance to impacts, vibration, and acceleration up to 7 Gs in any direction. The sapphire crystal is coated with anti-reflective treatment on both sides and the case has an additional casing of mu-metal, a nickel-iron alloy that binds magnetic field streams so that they do not reach the movement. With a solid threaded caseback and screw-down crown, the watch is also water resistant to 300 meters and thus ready for use on land, under the sea, or up in the cockpit.

It might also make you feel more “safe and secure” to know that when you fasten the M2 to your wrist, you’ll be putting on the official service watch of Germany’s army pilots.

The M2 is priced around $6,100 and comes with both a titanium link bracelet with a folding clasp and a  kevlar weave strap (as pictured above). Click here for our review of the M2 Pioneer.


Muhle Glashutte-SAR- Rescue

The Mühle Glashütte SAR Rescue Timer, from another watchmaker based in Germany’s watchmaking hub of Glashütte, is a watch that simply can’t be left off this list. Designed for Germany’s maritime search and rescue (SAR) teams, this is a purpose-built timepiece ready to take on extreme conditions without faltering.

A key feature is the tough rubber bezel that acts as a shock absorbing mechanism protecting the Mühle-customized Sellita SW 200-1 movement inside the case while also giving this watch a distinct look on the wrist.

An unusually thick 4-mm sapphire crystal ensures that even the hardest collisions won’t leave you with a crack. This dense crystal combines with a screwed caseback and screw-in crown to secure its water resistance to a whopping 1,000 meters.

Legibility is ensured with Super-LumiNova hands and lumed triangle markers at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. An internal cyclops lens hovers above the date, a nice finishing touch that adds to this clean dial’s extreme readability.  The Muhle Glashutte SAR Rescue Timer sells for roughly $2,800.

So there you have it: four choices for a veritable GSG 9 tactical unit of watches ready to guard your back on any adventures you might seek.  Please feel free to nominate your own favorites to join this list of Eisenmänner in the comments section below.

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  1. My SAR is one of my favorites – it’s great on the wrist and a real attention-getter. I was able to try on the Tutima M2 Pioneer with a titanium bracelet the other day – amazing look and feel, but all those hands take some getting used to.

    • Hi Nelson & Laer, I’ve really grown to love Muhle watches. The visit to this family owned business was a big hit with the collectors that went on our German Watchmaking tour and bunch of SAR Rescue timers found new homes with that great group.

      Thanks for reading this and taking the time to comment.

  2. Nelson Nobre

    The Mühle Glashütte SAR Rescue Timer is like Cristiano Ronaldo it can be useful in another planet!

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