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REVIEW: The Mühle-Glashütte S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph>>>>>>>>>

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Published on 11-19-2010 02:41 PM

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Review of the Mühle-Glashütte S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph

By: John B. Holbrook, II


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When the rescue pilots from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service as well as rescue pilots from the German Navy went looking for a robust chronograph with an easy-to-read display they came to Mühle-Glashütte. Mühle-Glashütte is well known in Germany for not only professional grade wrist watches, but for nautical instrumentation and ship's clocks. The S.A.R. Flieger-Chronograph was developed in collaboration with both of these elite rescue units, and released at the March 2010 Basel Watch Fair - here's a photo of the watch I took when I was at Basel this year:

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At first glance, once might mistake the S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph for a diver's watch - it isn't. It's designed by rescue pilots. The influence of the German rescue pilots on the unconventional design of this watch is most evident in the dial and controls. The S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph has a black dial, with white hands and markers (coated with Super LimiNova for low-light visibility), and white and emergency-orange subdials. The chronograph second hand is also orange tipped. In the hands of a skilled pilot, this highly visible watch dial (thanks in part to the 44mm case diameter) can generate a tremendous amount of much-needed information. The clearly marked 10-second scale was particularly important to the crew members of the rescue helicopters because it allows time measurements for calculating the flight speed to be taken and the watch can be used as an independent back-up system to support the dashboard instruments. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal 2.5mm thick, with an anti-reflective coating applied.

Looking at the controls of the S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph, you'll note they are on the opposite case side on which you would expect to find them for the typical right-handed owner who wears their watch on their left hand. The watch isn't designed for "lefties" - in fact, the watch was designed to be operated by the right hand while worn on the left wrist, but the reversed controls offer freer, less obstructed movement of the left hand or wrist. The oversized "trigger" like activator at 8 o'clock is designed to be used with a gloved thumb.

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As previously mentioned, the case (water resistant up to 10 bars) diameter falls in the oversized category at 44mm. The case is constructed from stainless steel with a brushed finish applied throughout. The scalloped bezel, like the controls, is designed for ease of operation with a gloved hand:

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The The S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph model I reviewed came with a light weight but extremely durable rubber strap which nicely offsets the weight of the large stainless steel case. The strap is held together with a stainless steel clasp, with a solid deployant that has a black PVD coating applied.

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Beneath the sapphire display back on the SAR Chronograph is the "MU 9408" which is a well-modified Valjoux 7750. The Valjoux 7750 is a self-winding (unidirectional rotor) mechanical movement with 25 jewels, and a balance wheel which vibrates at a beat speed of 28,800 BPH, and has a power reserve of 48 hours. Mühle-Glashütte's does install some custom components on this movement which they manufacture, including blued screws, a custom "woodpecker" style regulator, and of course, the custom signature winding rotor. I'm always impressed with the level of finishing and decoration work I've seen coming from Mühle-Glashütte's most recent movements - you'll be hard pressed to find a prettier version of the Valjoux 7750 than those produced by Mühle-Glashütte.

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The Mühle-Glashütte S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph (model M1-41-33-KB) retails for $3,299.00 - several thousand dollar below the price of other luxury watch manufacturer's supposed "tool watches." The S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph is no pretender - it's a true utility tool developed in conjunction with actual German rescue pilots and personnel to their specifications. That's a claim that many other, more expensive tool watches can't make. It's an impressive product at a very reasonable price - a winning combination in the watch enthusiast community.

**Photos & Text Copyright 2010 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.

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REVIEW: The Mühle-Glashütte S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph>>>>>>>>>
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