Although I write the odd humble blog, I very rarely write a full review on a watch unless I have a real passion for it. This is partly due to the fact that I am not a “professional” journalist and find it difficult to find the time, but mainly because I like to own the watch that I am writing about. This way I feel I can write something from an owners perspective and give real feedback rather than writing what the brand wants you to say. It also helps to have a passion for what you are writing about.
It is no secret that I have a rather large watch collection. Most are rare vintage models but I also purchase some modern masterpieces (in my opinion anyway). Recently I have raved about the Peter Roberts Concentrique (my favourite watch of all time) and now I feel I must shout from the rooftops about the Zeitwinkel brand and, in particular, the Zeitwinkel 273. I liked both the 273 and Concentrique so much that I put my money where my mouth was and purchased them both.
Zeitwinkel is a young brand, founded in 2006 by Ivica Maksimovic and Peter Nikolaus. They manufacture their watches in Saint-Imier Switzerland and the first watches rolled out around 2009, but the brand has remained unfamiliar to many people because they tend shy away from self-promotion, and instead prefer to rely on the good word of journalists and collectors. In the watch industry its a very small world and word soon spreads when something unique comes to the market.
2013 has been a good year for Zeitwinkel. In-house movements and great aesthetics mean that customers get a lot of watch for the money and something truly unique in the mid-range price bracket.
Movement and Case
The Zeitwinkel 273 has the beautiful zw103 in-house movement. It has a 72-hour power reserve and 49 jewels and is beautifully finished in German silver.
The watch is 42.5mm in diameter and has a depth of 13.8mm. I am not a fan of larger watches and prefer anything around 40mm, however, 42mm watches are no longer considered large and to be honest, I doubt this would have worked in a smaller size. Zeitwinkel is a great brand and offers most of their watches in two sizes. You have the choice of either a 39.5mm or a 42.5mm case but the 273 is only available in the one size and Zeitwinkel did tell me this was due to the patented panoramic date indicator at the 10.30 position.
The case top and bottom are finished in highly polished stainless steel and create a great contrast against the centre, which has a matte textured finish.
Dial and Crown
The dial of the Zeitwinkel 273 is simply stunning. Available in silver or black, I decided the silver version was the better option as it makes a subtle statement of elegance against the silver markers and hands.
The anti-reflective coating on the crystal and case back is excellent and gives little reflection if any in normal light.
The dial is perfectly balanced and visually appealing, with the usual hours, minutes and sub seconds indicator and then the panoramic date at 10.30 and the blued retrograde power indicator at 1.30.
One thing I love about this watch is the large crown. It gives the watch a great retro look and means you can actually adjust the functions easily. I don’t have long nails and always find this a struggle on most watches, although some smaller designs do look better with a smaller crown.
The Zeitwinkel 273 is available with either a leather or rubber strap and both have the excellent Zeitwinkel deployment clasp.
Some people may find my choice of the rubber strap a little strange considering this is more of a dress watch, but I do think a strap changes the whole aesthetics of a watch which in turn says a lot about the person wearing it.
This watch shows everyone that you are a man of taste and like the finer things in life, but with the rubber strap it portrays a man of action with a sporty side to his nature.
The rubber strap is excellent and sits perfectly on the wrist which is due in no small part to the excellent deployment clasp. I am generally not a fan of the deployment clasp. Most sit to one side on the wrist and are in my opinion a travesty in design and comfort, however, I do like some offerings from Zenith and, of course, Patek Philippe. The Zeitwinkel clasp is a lesson in design and comfort from a manufacturer that has given great thought to every aspect of its creation. It sits perfectly in the middle of the wrist and folds from both sides. It is small and extremely good-looking, and best of all it wears like a buckle. One thing it doesn’t do is pull the watch to one side on a smaller wrist unlike some I have tested.
You may want to know how easy it is to adjust the length on this strap? Well, it took me 5 minutes to do which is very fast indeed and was little effort. It’s just a matter of releasing the pins in the clasp and then cutting a section from each side. You will find lines on the strap which you use as a cutting guide. I simply removed the same length from each strap and inserted the pins back into the holes provided. It couldn’t have been easier.
Often overlooked in any watch review is the presentation box. Made from laminated layers of wood, this Zeitwinkel offering is very pleasing. It is not too big and unlike others I could mention does not take up the whole floor of your house!
Inside the box, we have the manual, polishing cloth and an excellent wooden loupe which proudly displays the Zeitwinkel logo.
A watch for life
A mark of any great watch is the feedback that it gets from other watchmakers, and Peter Roberts himself an accomplished and world-famous watchmaker has commented on his love of Zeitwinkel many times, both in his blogs and also to journalists and professionals alike. This is indeed good enough for me and speaks volumes about the Zeitwinkel movement.
After wearing my watch at many gatherings over the Xmas period (some more boring than others). I can say that feedback was excellent. I had many people ask to take a closer look at this “beautiful watch” and chuckle when I told them the brand name. Obviously, anything with “winkel” in the title will raise a smile when alcohol and British humour are in abundance.
The Zeitwinkel 273 is truly a great watch and one of my personal favourites. As I have already stated – I liked it so much that I added it to my collection, but this is not a watch I will shut away in a cabinet or safe. I will wear it with great pride and show it off to all and sunder.
I often swap and change my watches, but this is one watch that I will keep for life! It looks good with a suit but is equally at home with a sports jacket and jeans, and best of all you probably won’t see another person wearing the same.
A great investment piece from a unique smaller manufacturer, take it from me you need to buy this watch and enjoy it. At 10,750 CFH ( 8700 euro) there is little competition.