If you need a rugged, no-nonsense chronograph as part of your next mission kit, the new Tutima M2 (~$8000), to be released in early 2014, is it. The M2 is an update of Tutima’s venerable NATO Military Chronograph; the previous generation watch, called the NATO because it was standard issue for all NATO pilots, was outfitted with Lémania’s legendary but discontinued Caliber 5100. Tutima has preserved the 5100’s distinguishing feature, an easily legible sweep chronograph minutes hand, in their new Caliber 321 — a movement that was developed at the same time the brand returned to its horological home of Glashütte in 2011.
The M2’s Caliber 321 also retains the 24-hour sub-dial from the Lémania 5100. This offers day-night orientation, in case you live in a cave, under water, or in low-Earth orbit. All the M2’s chronograph hands are trimmed in red to provide excellent contrast against the black dial. The sweep chrono minutes hand features a profile reminiscent of the swept wings of a jet fighter, a stylistic nod to the original intended use of the watch.
The usual — and some unusual — tool-watch suspects can be found in the M2. The 46.5-millimeter pearl-blasted titanium case is nicely finished with smooth edges, rounded corners and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Operationally, you’ll find slick, rubber-coated case-hugging integrated chrono pushers that won’t snag on your flight (or Armani) suit. The partially recessed screw-down crown has a circumferential groove to aid in deploying for synchronization, solving the solitary complaint we’ve ever heard about the M2’s predecessor. Inside, the Caliber 321 is surrounded by a combination of soft iron and mu-metal, a soft nickel-iron alloy that shields the movement from harmful magnetic influence. This might be handy if your mission includes disabling one of those giant magnets on a junkyard crane.
The NATO saw a run of nearly 30 years in various forms, so to say the M2 is a worthy successor is quite the complement. It’s certainly up to the challenge of defending Western skies for another three decades, at least.