Full Force: Reviewing the Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph

The Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph is ready and able to continue the successful heritage of its predecessor, the Tutima Military Chronograph. The new M2 edition exceeds the specifications set for the earlier model by the military and is now available to civilians and professionals alike. Read on for an in-depth review from the WatchTime archives.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - side
The Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph carries on the tradition of the renowned Military Chronograph from the 1980s.

Whoever chooses an M2 Pioneer Chronograph will own a professional time measuring instrument – one without compromises or extraneous design features. This streamlined timepiece emphasizes pure function and reliability, both in its technological features and design.

Excellent legibility, good wearing comfort, superior water resistance, a large central chronograph minutes counter hand, pressure tested for use up to 15,000 meters above normal, and shock resistance to impacts, vibration and acceleration up to 7 Gs in any direction – those were the specifications for the Tutima Military Chronograph in 1984 and were also accepted as appropriate standards for the M2 Pioneer Chronograph.

The Military Chronograph was first created in stainless steel. The new M2 Pioneer Chronograph is made of pure titanium – a material that is often used for professional watches as it is about 50-percent lighter in weight than stainless steel. Titanium is also antimagnetic and resists rust and temperature fluctuations. Modern machining methods can process titanium in many different ways. The M2 Pioneer Chronograph has a matte, bead-blasted finish that gives it a decidedly indestructible appearance, which is an accurate reflection of the true qualities of the 46-mm case.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - angle
The grooved rotating bezel, large pushers, screw-down crown and Kevlar strap offer superior functionality.

With a solid threaded caseback and screw-down crown, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters. The distinctive rotating bezel has eight deep grooves, which make the rotating ring easy to grasp and turn in both directions. The audible minute-increment ratchets are clean and crisp.

Arabic numbers and luminous dots mark the bezel in 5-minute increments. The zero position is highlighted both by a double-dot marker and a larger luminous orb. Despite the excellent lineup of features, the M2 Pioneer Chronograph is not suited for diving – the rotating bezel can be turned in either direction and is not scaled in minutes increments. The M2 Pioneer Chronograph is clearly meant to be a pilots’ watch, not a dive watch.

The rotating bezel encircles a thick sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides. It underscores the robustness of the case and also provides a clear view of the dial. An additional inner case made of Mu-metal – a nickel-iron alloy – binds magnetic currents and protects the movement from magnetic charge.

The generously sized chronograph pushers are exceptionally easy to use and are adapted from the Military Chronograph in both their size and shape, with especially good traction thanks to their textured neoprene inlays. Starting and stopping the chronograph is always precise and reliable, though the reset action requires a bit more concentration and effort.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - back
Caliber T 521 sits securely beneath a protective inner case and solid titanium caseback.

Tutima Caliber T 521 is notable for a special stopwatch function. Like the Military Chronograph, the stopwatch minutes are displayed from the center of the dial. This has two advantages: the display extends over the entire radius of the dial and is read intuitively, like a regular 60-minute display (instead of 30 minutes on a small subdial).

But there was one problem. Lemania Caliber 5100, which shows the elapsed minutes from the center, was used in the Military Chronograph. And while its production began in the early 1970s, it was halted at the end of 2002. This practically designed movement was used by Omega, Heuer, Fortis, and Sinn as well as by Tutima.

For the M2 Pioneer Chronograph, Tutima chose the reliable ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber and modified its offset elapsed minutes indication. This configuration is a patented in-house design, executed meticulously by Tutima in its new Glashütte factory. The result: both hands (elapsed seconds and minutes) turn from the center of the dial. But because they have almost the same shape and length, they are distinguishable at first glance only when they move. The hand for the elapsed seconds advances in small increments, following the 4-Hz rhythm of the base movement, while the elapsed minutes hand stands still.

But actually, that’s not the case. Closer inspection shows that the elapsed minutes hand is also in continuous motion, just like a normal minutes hand, which is another clear difference from the original movement. The ETA Valjoux 7750 has a minutes counter hand on a subdial that advances one position as the elapsed seconds hand passes the zero point. In addition to the pointer mechanism, which was adapted from an offset to a central elapsed minutes display, Tutima has also intervened in the chronograph mechanism. The display of the chronograph hours at 6 o’clock, which also runs continuously, has remained the same.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - front
The time and the elapsed time displays are easy to see during daylight hours.

Close examination also shows that the two center hands differ in their pivot points. The hand for the elapsed minutes sports two red airplane wings, while a portion of the elapsed seconds hand is simply marked in red. When the two hands cross each other, the red sections come together to form the shape of a complete airplane. Naturally this image also appears when the chronograph is in its zero starting position.

Tutima Caliber T 521 shows exceptional rate results. It runs very consistently – both in the various individual positions and in different situations. Its best performance is on the wrist, just as you would want and expect. There is hardly any deviation in the average rate when the chronograph is engaged. Another rather rare feature is the intensive illumination of the M2 Pioneer Chronograph, which was also adapted from the Military Chronograph. Only the permanent seconds at 9 o’clock and the 24-hour display at 12 o’clock retreat to the background. Everything else shines brightly in the deep green of Super-LumiNova. This makes it possible and easy to operate the chronograph functions and rotating bezel settings in the dark. Apart from the somewhat exaggerated illumination of the chronograph hours display, everything seems quite legible.

The M2 Pioneer Chronograph comes with a titanium link bracelet with a safety folding clasp. The set also includes a Kevlar strap, which is how our test piece was equipped, with a single-sided, titanium folding clasp. Kevlar is an extremely lightweight and durable fabric that is used for protective clothing for motorcycle riding, sailing and even space travel. The strap attaches to the case along the width of the tonneau-shaped center section of the dial of the M2 Pioneer Chronograph. It angles sharply downward thanks to integrated reinforcements. And although this provides a great ergonomic fit, the size of the M2 Pioneer makes it suitable only for men with larger wrists. But for these, with all its features, it is especially well designed.

Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph - lume
All functions and features are easy to use, even in the dark.

Manufacturer: Tutima Glashütte, Altenberger Strasse 6, 01768 Glashütte/Sa., Germany
Reference number: 6451-2
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph (60-second and 60-minute central counter, 12- hour counter) 24-hour indicator, bidirectional rotating bezel, anti- magnetic protection with Mu-metal cage, screw-down crown
Movement: Tutima T 521, based on ETA/ Valjoux 7750, automatic, 28,800 vph, 44-hour power reserve, Glucydur balance, Nivarox hairspring, two-part fine adjustment, Incabloc shock absorption, 25 jewels, diameter = 30.0 mm, height = 7.90 mm
Case: Pure titanium, bead-blasted, sapphire crystals, double-sided antiglare coating (top), water resistant to 300 meters
Strap and clasp: Kevlar with titanium single-sided folding clasp
Rate results (Deviation in seconds per 24 hours, Fully wound/after 24 hours):
Dial up: -0.3/ +1.7
Dial down: +1.0 / +3.6
Crown up: +3.5 / +4.3
Crown down: +4.3 / +6.0
Crown left: +4.3 / +4.8
Greatest deviation: 4.6 / 4.3
Average deviation: +2.6 / +4.1
Average amplitude:
Flat positions: 321° / 292°
Hanging positions: 290° / 262°
Dimensions: Diameter = 46.01 mm, height = 16.07 mm, weight = 128.0 grams
Variations: With titanium bracelet ($6,700)
Price: $6,100

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