Tutima Flieger Friday Chronograph Limited Edition: From Hashtag To Compelling Pilot’s Watch Rooted In History
by Bhanu Chopra
Before the advent of hashtags and blog post comments, the way to recognize a popular watch topic online was to count the number of threads on watch forums. Today hashtags are the measuring stick for the popularity of any subject on social media.
For watch enthusiasts, #speedytuesday started by Fratello’s Robert-Jan Broer has been a staple that allows Omega Speedmaster fans to post pictures of their Speedmasters or share thoughts about the watches, especially on Tuesdays.
A post on online shop KeepTheTime’s blog conveniently lists a schedule of the weekly hashtags and concludes that the most popular Friday hashtag is #fliegerfriday.
Flieger Friday is dedicated to the genre of flieger, or pilot’s, watches. The #fliegerfriday hashtag first appeared around 2015 and has since gained in popularity within the watch community.
These hashtags are not going unnoticed by the watch brands, either. Omega has worldwide celebrations in recognition of #speedytuesday, including the 2017 launch of a limited edition Speedmaster Professional in conjunction with Broer.
All about hashtags: #fliegerfriday
As a bona-fide pilot’s watch enthusiast who posts about flieger watches every Friday on Instagram (@analogdisplay), I often highlight the growing popularity of pilot’s watch enthusiasts posting online under this hashtag to any watch companies I come in contact with.
In 2019, Stowa, one of the five original B-Uhr manufacturers, recognized the #fliegerfriday community when owner Jörg Schauer dedicated a limited edition series of bronze pilot watches to the hashtag.
During a visit to Glashütte in 2019, I discussed the possibility of a similar recognition for the #fliegerfriday community with Tutima.
Tutima 1941 Flieger Chronograph (Caliber 59)
Tutima made two-pusher flyback chronographs for the German forces from the late 1930s. As World War II ended, the factories in Glashütte – where Tutima was founded – were destroyed. Tutima moved its watch production first to Memmelsdorf in Bavaria and later to Ganderkesee high in the north of what was then West Germany.
In 2011, Tutima came full circle, relocating its headquarter and part of its operations back to Glashütte (see The Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater Chimes ‘Happy To Be Home’ for the full story).
Fast forwarding to 2019, Tutima’s team was intrigued by the idea of producing a limited edition series and solicited my feedback on which model would be appropriate for #fliegerfriday. Without any hesitation, I recommended Reference 783-01, the Tutima Classic Flieger, which is a modern-day version of the brand’s famed 1941 chronograph.
That chronograph from 1941 was the first German two-pusher flyback chronograph. It was housed in a nickel-plated brass case with screw-down case back to ensure that the manually wound movement was safely protected. The luminous numerals and hands offered excellent legibility, while the fluted rotating bezel with its unique red reference marker enabled pilots and navigators to set precise times. The large crown made it easy to operate even while wearing thick aviator gloves.
There were approximately 30,000 Tutima Flieger Chronographs produced back in the day, and these are now much sought-after collectors’ items.
Tutima Classic Flieger Chronograph (Reference 783-01)
Released by Tutima in the early 1990s, the Classic Flieger Chronograph was the first re-issue of the 1941 model and incorporated the benefits of modern technology and contemporary materials.
Gustavo Calzadilla, who has represented Tutima in the United States since the late 1980s, explained how this re-issue came about. According to him, Reference 783-01 was originally commissioned by a prominent Japanese watch collector who approached the owner of Tutima, Dieter Delecate, with the idea.
It took Tutima several years to develop this flieger chronograph as it required a new case in the original 1941 flieger size; modification of a modern hand-wound movement to display the same dial layout as the original; and re-creation of the original dial fonts, hands, and fluted bezel. It was time well spent as the Classic Flieger Chronograph remained in production for more than two decades.
Tutima Flieger Friday Chronograph Limited Edition
Similar to Reference 783-01, the Flieger Friday chronograph comes in a 38.5 mm satin-finished stainless steel case similar to the size of the original Classic Flieger. Also like the original chronograph, the bidirectional, fluted, rotating bezel with red reference marker remains an important design element for the watch. The large cathedral hands are designed to match the original – as is the dial, which features the Tutima logo and numerals in the original fonts.
In keeping with the times, the hands and numerals are inlaid with bright Super-LumiNova, while a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating provides maximum legibility. The case back is also fitted with a sapphire crystal, and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters.
The Flieger Friday Chronograph is powered by a hand-wound ETA Valjoux Caliber 7760, which is modified by Tutima to create a modern representation of Caliber 59. An expansive gold-plated bridge with Tutima engraving dominates the view through the sapphire crystal case back. Although a solid case back would have been more loyal to the original, Tutima justifiably wanted to showcase the movement. And modern watch lovers certainly will appreciate this.
Each of the 25 pieces in this limited edition are individually numbered and engraved. They also come with a book about Tutima pilot’s watches and a certificate of authenticity.
For more information, please visit tutimausa.com.
Quick Facts Tutima Flieger Friday Chronograph Limited Edition
Case: 38.5 x 15.5 mm, stainless steel; 100 m water resistance
Movement: manual winding modified ETA Valjoux 7760, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 48-hour power reserve, gold-plated bridge with Tutima engraving
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph
Limitation: 25 pieces