When it comes to the best watches in the world, it’s safe to say that many of them are Swiss built. But what about the Germans? Sure, they’re known for making the best car brands in the automotive world but not many people are familiar with German watch brands.
In reality, Germans have made some of the best tool watches in the world. I’ve been recently looking into German watch brands and my journey took me to Mühle-Glashütte.
If you are looking to get into German watchmaking, I highly recommend that you check out what Mühle-Glashütte has to offer. For this Muhle Glashutte review, we’ll learn about the brand’s history, the pros and cons, and highlight the models that best reflect the brand.
In 2019, German watchmaker Mühle Glashütte turned 150 years old. However, I’m not sure if the company has been consistently in the business since then. Many watch manufacturers like to claim that they have 100+ years of lineage but won’t account for buyouts, production stoppages, or other non-watch related side ventures.
Therefore, there’s really no way to verify the claim that the Mühle-Glashütte brand has been around since 1869. With such a long history in watchmaking, it makes you wonder why they are not more popular.
However, I do know that the Mühle-Glashütte brand is based in Glashütte, Germany. Based on my research, it was during the 90s that the Mühle-Glashütte has made a splash in the watchmaking world. In 1994, the “Mühle-Glashütte GmbH Nautische Instrumente und Feinmechanik” (shortened to Mühle-Glashütte) was founded and headed by Hans-Jürgen. During that time, the demand for precise nautical watches is high and Mühle-Glashütte was there to fulfill the demand.
Although the majority of the Mühle-Glashütte products are watches, the company is also known for making both mechanical and electronic nautical clocks for boats. In the purest, these other products are designed to be useful tools than lifestyle items.
In short, Mühle-Glashütte is a company that specializes in “Nautische Instrumente” – nautical instruments and watch systems for boats and ships. While this lineage may not be as fantastical as other watch companies, this sort of nautical origin and background really separates Mühle-Glashütte from the competition.
It’s worth noting that Glashütte is just a small village in Germany and the place has given birth to some of the best watchmakers. Apart from Mühle-Glashütte, the village has been the ground zero for other beloved German companies such as Moritz Grossmann, Nomos Glashütte, A. Lange & Söhne, and Glashütte Original.
Muhle Glashutte Review: Pros and Cons
Are Muhle Glashutte watches worth checking out? This is my first time working with German watches, and I’ve made some notes about the things that I love and don’t love about this Germany-based brand.
What We Love
Unique and Remarkable Designs
If you’re a relatively unknown brand, your best bet is to create watches with designs that give your brand a certain identity – looks that will allow you to stand out from the saturated timepiece market.
Just one look at Muhle Glashutte’s collection and the uniqueness of the design will surely spark your interest. Muhle Glashutte watches aren’t just designed to be tools and instruments, they’re made to look the part as well.
Take for instance the Mühle-Glashütte 29er, a watch named after the 29er Sailboat. The watch is classified as “Nautical” and “Sporty Instrument” and it does look like that for the most part. I like that this dive watch doesn’t look like your typical diver but it’s not quite a dress timepiece either.
Another good example of the brand’s unique design is the Muhle Glashutte M29 Einzeiger. The watch features a sophisticated and precision-based design. It does look like a contemporary blend of timepiece engineering. Even among classic watches, the Muhle Glashutte M29 Einzeiger has a unique and impactful look.
If you are getting tired of the usual designs of commercial luxury watches in the market, the Muhle Glashutte brand offers a good sanctuary.
When you are making instrument-like watches that are meant for the high seas, you’ll have a collection of watches that can brave the toughest elements. That’s exactly what Mühle-Glashütte has accomplished with its line of watches.
Unlike its neighbors in Glashütte, Mühle-Glashütte has opted to make more utilitarian watches. This has been a point of pride for the founder Mühle who was quoted, “We make watches for people who want to use the watch.”
True enough, Mühle-Glashütte won’t leave you hanging in terms of durability. Take for example the Muhle Glashutte Seebataillon GMT which is the company’s take on a dive watch. It comes with a matte titanium case, sapphire crystal screw-down case-back, and scratch resistant anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal. Sounds round of the mill but you have to see it in person to appreciate the robustness of the piece.
Keeping It Simple
Another thing that I like best about the Mühle-Glashütte brand is that they like to keep things simple. The brand offers a collection of relatively simple, do-it-all watches. If you like your watches straightforward and simple, you’ll definitely want to check out what Mühle-Glashütte has to offer.
Mühle-Glashütte offers a number of collections that simply stick to their theme. For example, with nautical-themed watches, you see models with a soft, blue matte finish and legible dials. The brand has this no-nonsense approach to its design sensibilities and it resonates with people like me who like their watches simple and straightforward.
Before, Mühle-Glashütte used the Sellita SW 200-01 which is essentially the same movement as the ETA 2824. However in 2003, the company decided to develop its own spin on these movements. While they’re not exactly original in-house movements, Muhle stepped it up a notch by manufacturing their own rotor, finisher, and the most interesting of all, the woodpecker neck regulation. The woodpecker neck regulation makes the movement easy to regulate and more resistant to sharp shocks.
While Muhle isn’t exactly the paragon of innovation by creating original movements, it’s hard not to appreciate the effort of doing their own modifications to existing ones.
What We Don’t Love
Company Doesn’t Offer Much Information
Mühle-Glashütte seems to be in their element when they’re making heavy-duty tool watches. This is fairly apparent with the brand’s marine and diving collections. Unfortunately, it seems that the company doesn’t provide much information about which watches you should choose. This gives me the impression that Muhle is more or less leaving it up to the buyer’s personal taste and preferences.
Unlike lifestyle watches that can sell themselves through design, tool watches could really benefit from telling instead of showing. For a brand like Mühle-Glashütte who’s not exactly the most popular, I feel like they could be a bit more consultative with their customers and put up more explanation.
Pricing Needs Improvement
For the price, I think the Mühle-Glashütte watches offer good value. These are high-quality watches with unique designs. However, I feel like their pricing is a bit misplaced.
Muhle Glashutte watch prices range from $800 to $5,000. While that’s a good range for their watches, it competes with plenty of other more popular brands, and just overall better in general. If you really like instrumental-esque watches, then Muhle Glashutte’s pricing shouldn’t offend you a bit. However, for anything else, Muhle Glashutte watches may not be the best bang for your buck.
Best Muhle Glashutte Watches
You can’t write about a Muhle Glashutte review without highlighting some of the best models the brand has to offer. So here goes…
1. Muhle Glashutte S.A.R. Rescue-Timer
For starters, the Muhle Glashutte S.A.R. Rescue-Timer does cost a pretty penny. However, this is one case where the money goes where it needs to be: into the making of the watch.
The S.A.R. Rescue-Timer isn’t particularly flashy but that okay because it’s a pure utilitarian watch. It’s clearly created because of the need and not the desire. After all, this was a watch that’s designed for the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service.
True to the brand’s commitment to making instrument-like timepieces, the S.A.R. Rescue-Timer doesn’t look like any other watch you’ve seen before. Overall, the S.A.R. Rescue-Timer is a great watch if you’re looking for a heavy-duty option.
2. Mühle Glashütte Seebattailon GMT
The Mühle Glashütte Seebattailon GMT is another collaborative piece with the military/navy. This watch was designed to suit the needs of the German Seebattailon (Marine Battalion).
This is a 300m titanium GMT dive watch and is powered by the dependable ETA 2893-2 movement. It’s a fairly large diver but is quite a lightweight piece. It’s all thanks to the titanium construction. I must say that the titanium plays rather beautifully with the blue and gold dial.
Overall, the Seebattailon GMT is a very sophisticated looking dive watch with a build quality that should make Glashütte proud.
3. Muhle Glashutte Terrasport I Beobachter
The Muhle Glashutte Terrasport I Beobachter is available in two dial variants: the cream and black dial. The former comes with a leather band and the latter with a stainless steel bracelet.
As a pilot watch, the Muhle Glashutte Terrasport I Beobachter has all the makings of a good pilot watch. It has a very legible dial and the pilot-shaped hands are beautifully proportioned and lumed. As for the design, I must say that it’s very comparable to the favorite Hamilton Khaki.
Ultimately, the Terrasport I Beobachter is a solid pilot watch but it’s a bit on the pricey side.
Muhle Glashutte Review: Are They Any Good?
So we end this Muhle Glashutte review with our verdict.
Is Muhle Glashutte a brand that you should check out? Well, it depends on your preferences. If you’re looking for a straightforward, heavy-duty watch with great utility, then Muhle might have something for you. However, if you want something fancy or a marvel in timekeeping, you might want to take a pass.
Overall, the Muhle Glashutte is a great brand that brings superior German engineering into the art of watchmaking.