Introducing the Mühle-Glashütte Yacht-Timer Bronze

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Let’s get this out of the way: the date aperture on the 44-millimeter Mühle-Glashütte Yacht-Timer Bronze is going to raise heckles because it is there in the first place, but also because that aperture is located at four o’clock and because its numerals are askew. However, not unlike Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, or my favorite beauty-marked star Natalie Portman, this watch might be bland without its little round imperfection disrupting an otherwise near perfect symmetry. Furthermore, true symmetry on a three-hander is only really possible at exactly 12:00, 12:30, 6:00 and 6:30, for a whopping grand total of just eight moments a day.

Upon closer inspection, we see that the date aperture is aligned with the Yacht Timer’s large steel screwed-in crown that’s tucked into bronze guards where it exhibits unabashedly off-axis contrast. And the askew date wheel numerals actually run parallel to the underside of the triangle marker at three o’clock, a spot where the designers were smart to leave off the 20-minute marker. Thus are the details of the Mühle-Glashütte Yacht-Timer Bronze, everything in its place doing its thing with ample space in which to do it.

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The Helvetica “30 atm” marking is entirely on its own, announcing its robust water resistance like a European road sign. The standard Mühle-Glashütte logo up top marks the brand with its signature authority, and there’s plenty of space for the super-bold triangles at the cardinal points, especially the one at 12 o’clock with its two dots like the ears of a stylized mouse. This is legibility in the extreme, all displayed behind a 2.5-millimetr-thick anti-glare, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

I’m not entirely sure what makes this watch a Yacht-Timer rather than a dive watch. I typically associate sailing watches with race-start specific chronograph functions, especially the all-important 10-minute timer—which, as a kid, I used to be responsible for starting when the gun went off during feisty Thursday-night sailboat races. I guess one could use the bezel for that, but really what makes this a Yacht-Timer is that Mühle-Glashütte says it’s a Yacht-Timer, and of course this historically significant builder of some of Germany’s best Nautische Instrumente has more than enough cred to make whatever nautical claims it pleases.And there’s no denying the Yacht-Timer’s nautical appearance. The bronze is the same found in propellers throughout the shipping industry where its characteristic patina becomes the final layer of protection against both salt and fresh water. And the navy blue color scheme—from the dial to the bezel to the handsome fabric strap—emits strong old-school naval vibes. The Super LumiNova lume glows blue as well, a thoughtful touch for overnight transverses, or, perhaps more likely, a night spent moored in port.

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Inside is the trusted Sellita SW200-1 automatic winding mechanical movement, the ‘-1’ indicating a modification to the original SW200’s gear-train teeth intended to reduce damage from shock. Generally speaking, the SW200 is an ETA-2824 clone, and while this is a great movement, on its own it is not particularly special or unique. Just as well that it hides behind a sold case back here—plus there’s something about this beefy 44-millimeter ocean-worthy case that begs to be sealed shut.

Most interestingly, Mühle-Glashütte performs what incorporates what it calls “woodpecker neck regulation” on their movements. I live among at least five species of woodpeckers, and the image of, say, an adult pileated pounding on a watch case is daunting to say the least—but, alas, that’s not what happens. Instead, Mühle-Glashütte has patented a long-nosed regulation device that looks like a woodpecker’s beak. Curious readers can read about woodpecker regulation here.

I recently had the pleasure of having a bronze watch go from bright gold to a gorgeous green-gray-blue-black patina on my own wrist, and I really hadn’t expected to enjoy that transformation as much as I did. The way writers describe bronze patina has become so rote that it’s easy to dismiss, but my first-hand experience confirms standard-issue language like this from Mühle-Glashütte: “the final appearance of this typical patina very much depends on how the watch is worn by its owner, thus making every Yacht-Timer Bronze a truly unique time measuring instrument.” Given that there are only 500 of the Yacht-Timer Bronze to be made, that adage rings especially true.

Pricing for the Mühle-Glashütte Yacth-Timer Bronze is $2,950. Mühle-Glashütte

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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