Review: the Findeisen NauticMaster

If you are not already following @mikestuffler on Instagram, then you probably should. He is a moderator emeritus and talks nearly exclusively about German watches. It is through one of his 7000+ posts that I discovered the brand, Findeisen. Until then, I had never heard of them, despite having been around since 2017. They began with a traditional three-hand dressy sports watch and in 2021 they launched the F-1253 diver. With its distinct sawtooth bezel, this is the one that caught my attention. New for 2023-24 are new vibrant dial colors and a polished DLC-coated bezel inlay. 

In for review are two of their NauticMaster divers, a black one with the new bezel inlay and a blue one without. They also have white or green dials, available with either bezel option and your choice of right or left side crown positions. I must admit, I did not know what to expect when they were shipped over. After a few years of admiring these online, I was very excited to get my mitts on these in “real-life.”


The case measures 41.5mm in diameter, with a thickness of 12.5mm, a lug-to-lug measurement of 47mm and an end-link to end-link length of 53.5mm. I read somewhere that if the tip of the male end link sits lower than where the spring bar attaches to the case, the latter measurement is not as pronounced. I have come to believe that this is true. On my 7.5” wrist, it feels very well balanced and not too wide, not exceeding the surface of my wrist at either end. I also took the time to measure my wife’s wrist and had her reluctantly try it on. It seemed to fit her 6.5” wrist well too and it looked pretty darn good to boot!

The case is made of 1.4435 / AISI 316 L stainless steel, which is an austenitic chromium-nickel-molybdenum stainless steel with low carbon content. It is a higher alloyed variant of 1.4404 and is normally used as a medical grade due to its excellent corrosion resistance. While wearing and handling these watches, I discovered interesting finishing choices that were not quite noticeable from the available pictures online. The mid-case is completely media blasted, while the case back is brushed, with a tasteful engraving of the filigree coat-of-arms of the historic port city of Klaipeda in Lithuania. I am unsure why they chose this decoration, though it is a pretty city on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. 


Review: the Findeisen NauticMaster

Stainless steel
Findeisen FW-4251
Blue, Black
Steel bracelet or rubber strap
Water Resistance
200 meters
41.5 x 47mm
Lug Width
Screw down

The case back is held down by six miniscule screws, instead of being threaded. Perhaps this contributes to the watch’s relative thinness while allowing for water resistance to 200 meters. The crown has a diameter of 6.5mm and is 4mm long. Apparently it was lengthened from the previous generation to increase ease of operation. I was worried about this as I experienced many watches with longer crowns, and they usually bite into the back of my hand. Thankfully, this is a non-issue, as I have worn it 24/7 for several days without discomfort. Unscrewed, the signed crown is extremely solid and reassuring. 

The bezels are where the biggest differences lie. The blue dialed version has a fully media-blasted finish, with black engraved markings and numerals. It also features a standard lume pip at sixty minutes. The Black dialed version has a brushed finish steel bottom, topped by a polished DLC coated inlay, which is fully lumed. Both have saw-tooth cut-outs reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog, though it is not as pronounced as you might think. The cut-outs are angled and widened at the bottom matching the diameter of the case. 

They look and feel like nothing else. This is especially true on the one with the DLC inlay that just seems to sit/float on top. It is so perfectly cut and aligned to match the bottom. It is very difficult to describe, and I sure hope the pictures help explain it. Honestly, it is like a work of art and the action is exceptional. The 60 clicks are extremely precise, solid, with no back play and they feel as if they are riding on bearings, which is likely the case. Everything lines up perfectly. What else would you expect from German engineering?

The dials are quite special in themselves, both having a dégradé pattern, going from dark at the edges, getting lighter towards the center. I did not think I would prefer the black one, as on the website it looks like the back edges fade to grey, but in reality, it goes from black to a greyish brown and it is quite striking, a proper fumé dial. This is not to say the blue one is not equally beautiful, it is, but I simply was not expecting the black one to be like this and when combined with the slick black bezel…it is quite remarkable.

Both dials feature applied markers, with twin batons at 12 o’clock and a smaller single beneath the date at 6. The latter features black printing on a white background, which is fine, as it enhances overall visual symmetry. However, I would normally prefer a color matched date wheel, especially if it was at the 3 o’clock position. A fancy cursive polished F is applied prominently just below the marker at 12, with the company name beneath it. NauticMaster is printed red under the pinion, with the word professional and the water resistance rating below that. 

There is a large red circle on the dial that acts as visual interest, which is quite interesting when you see the tip of the second hand. Its red tip circles the dial within the outer portion of this circle, while the rest of the hand, which is painted black, turns within the inner portion of the same circle. At a glance, the tip of the second hand looks as if it is floating on its own. I honestly live for tiny little details like this. All the markers and hands are generously filled with Swiss Superluminova and glow blue, except for the minute hand which glows green. 

The movement powering this watch is not what you would expect. It is not from ETA, it is not from Sellita, not from Miyota and not from Seiko. It is from Damasko. Yes, that Damasko! The German company that makes super tough tool watches. It is their caliber A26 (rebadged as the Findeisen FW-4251), which features 20 jewels, a bidirectional rotor that sits on 2 ceramic bearings and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and a power reserve of 42 hours. It is also regulated in 5 positions.

Its architecture features a full balance bridge, which helps with shock protection. The movement alone is shockproof to DIN8308 and antimagnetic to DIN8309. As if those DIN standards were not enough, Findeisen adds a 3-part magnetic shield and an ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM) movement holder, further increasing the antimagnetic and shock resistance. I wore the black one 24/7 and it gained 5 seconds over the span of two weeks. On my Timegrapher it scored +/- 0 seconds per day, with a beat error of 0.3ms face up.  This is nothing short of outstanding. 

The 20mm bracelet is completely media-blasted, including the clasp. It does not taper, which some will not like, but it is so supple, with short 6.5mm links it feels like butter on the wrist. Links are sized via single sided screw and for some reason, these screws felt a little crunchy when backing out. I could not tell why. Perhaps there was some left-over material from the media-blasting? Either way, the screws came out easily and sizing was a synch. Once all fastened up, there was no more crunching, just smooth and comfortable. 

The clasp is a strange one. It is wide at 22mm and it features a twin-trigger release. Similar to Formex and Titoni clasps, as well as many others, there is a little spring between the inner swing arms, and it is by compressing these arms that the clasp is released. There is also micro-adjustment via a nifty on-the-fly system, but it is not push-button. Rather it is a lever, which you slide one way to release the adjustment, free flowing in both directions and then once you slide that lever the other way, it locks in position. 


The micro-adjustment has a total of 6 positions, but because this diver complies with DIN8306 standards, there is also a fold-out diver’s extension that is very similar to the ones found on Sinn dive watches. There’s nothing wrong with this extension, though they tend to rattle within the clasp shell on those watches. There is no rattle on the Findeisen, though unfortunately, when tucked in the extension eats 3 micro-adjust options. So, in essence, the micro-adjust only has 3 usable positions. 

This is not good and perhaps in the future, Findeisen could offer a substitute link that could attach directly to the clasp, so that the extension could be bypassed. It is highly likely that a large percentage of owners will not actually dive with their watches and would prefer the extra sizing opportunities. Having said all this, the combination of the 3 positions and very small links should make it easy for anyone to dial in the correct size. 

Speaking of sizing, the red one came on a very impressive and thick red FKM style fitted strap. They told me I could cut it, but I did not have the heart. It is mounted on the same clasp with adapters on either side to accommodate the rubber strap. These adapters add length. The clasp alone measures 45mm long and 55mm with adapters. To accommodate your wrist’s curvature the adapters do bend, but that bending exposes unsightly gaps. The cool part is that both the bracelet and strap have quick release, though the little pins on the steel bracelet are tiny and it was rather difficult to operate. On the bracelet with 4 links removed total weight is 183g and on uncut strap it weighs in at 149g.

All in all, I am seriously impressed with what this young brand has been able to accomplish. I told this to Martin Zettl, their founder, and I will say it here. It is incredibly difficult to come up with an original design, one that does not look like anything else. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to do so and at the same time create something special that is of great quality. It appears Findeisen has done just that and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to spend this much time with them. 

The NauticMaster retails for 3,490 Euro on bracelet and 3,290 Euro on strap. Findeisen

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Based in Montreal, Quebec, Marc has been an enthusiastic watch collector for well over three decades. Having witnessed and participated in the birth of the internet watch community, he has played a role on multiple watch forums and his articles have appeared on-line and in print since the late 1990s. Today his passion for all things horological is as pronounced as it has ever been, while he continues his never-ending search for watch next.