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The CW Taifun makes the start. German mechanical engineers Lars Thalmann and Konstantin Müller have founded a new watch brand that embodies their love of materials and mechanics. Read the following article to find out whether this ambitious project is a success and how the first timepiece performs…
Another diving watch?
They are already a dime a dozen out there. New ones appear every day and just as quickly as they appeared on the scene, they disappear again. No wonder – after more than 70 years of diving watch history, every story should have been told, every design drawn and every technology implemented, right?
Wrong. For almost 3 years, two metal and mechanical engineers have been working on their dream of their own brand. The road to their goal culminated (for now) in 2022 with the completion of their first work. Carbid Watches, that is the unusual name of the microbrand from Xanten, Germany, founded by Lars Thalmann and Konstantin Müller. The duo met for the first time in a study group of their mechanical engineering studies. Both love watches and especially their construction and materials.
Mechanical engineering in the genes
Among all the traditional family names and fancy words, the name Carbid Watches stands out and sticks in the mind. Carbides are a group of substances whose compounds are composed of an element and carbon. These include various metallic compounds, such as stainless steel. Stainless steel is composed of iron (Fe) and carbon (C). Logically, the first watch from Carbid Watches focuses on stainless steel. This is where the affinity for watches and the passion for materials merge.
It is precisely the latter that benefits Lars Thalmann and Konstantin Müller in the production of their wristwatches. Still – in 2023, no one needs to be born into the 6th generation of a watchmaking dynasty to make their own watch – as long as they know what they want. As is common these days, Carbid Watches enlists the help of outside companies and experts throughout the development process. Their so-called watch manager is based in northern Germany. Only the movement, an ETA 2824 or Sellita SW200 (top quality level) comes from Switzerland.
I usually mention prices at the very end of a watch review. The fact that a micro-brand offers a price below 2000 Euro is either ambitious or unrealistic. In any case, there is a need for explanation. Is it worth buying from the newcomers, or would you rather invest your money in the established names? What makes the watch called CW Taifun so special? And does Carbid Watches succeed in creating a unique selling proposition simply by manufacturing its model? That’s what I want to answer.
Presentation is what counts
I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen such great packaging, various limited editions aside. I like the presentation. In the lid of the box is the writing “MEINE ZEIT. MEIN WEG. MEIN MEILENSTEIN.”, which can be translated to “my time, my way, my milestone”. It stands for the feeling that the customer should have when wearing the watch on his wrist. Carbid Watches supplies a watch holder with the watch, the base of which is manufactured by CNC milling and laser cutting.
When you’re not wearing your Taifun, you can place it on the watch clasp made of anodized aluminum, stainless steel and velvet – and with different angles of inclination. The stainless steel of the clasp itself is so thin that you can bend it to fit your bracelet length perfectly. A successful gimmick that I have not seen before. Also included are a warranty card, the certificate of authenticity and a booklet.
On the wrist, the diver’s watch convinces with a moderate case diameter of 42.50 millimeters, which suits everyone, regardless of the circumference of their own wrist.
This is how innovative case construction works
The stainless steel case is the heart of the new Taifun. Here, the two watch newcomers notice their background as metalworkers. Experts in stainless steel design and engineering – all well and good. But is it still possible to inspire veteran watchmakers with a stainless steel case? Yes, it can. Lars Thalmann and Konstantin Müller did have the case made by a professional, but they presented him with a finished design concept. That is anything but a matter of course for the founders of a watch brand. For the case of the Taifun, Carbid Watches uses high-alloy 316L stainless steel of the highest quality grade. This would lay the foundation for a long service life. The surfaces have been elaborately designed with great attention to detail. Polished and satin-finished surfaces alternate. This is proof: even after more than 100 years, watch brands can still come up with new ideas.
It’s a similar story with the bezel, the undisputed eye-catcher of the diver’s watch. It catches the eye thanks to its unique milling, in which the notches tilt in the direction of rotation of the bezel. The makers behind Carbid Watches are emphatically matter-of-fact when it comes to the original design of the case element. A market analysis had shown that there was nothing like it on the watch market yet. The draught milling is picked up again on the sides of the crown. It seems as if the bezel and crown interlock like two gears. The fact that the choice was made for a draught milling brings further advantages in everyday use. Before a dive, the diver enjoys more grip – a more targeted fine adjustment of the bezel becomes possible. This is especially true when wearing gloves.
Further details of the CW Taifun
But there are other features that convinced me of the case. To name some more key data: Sapphire crystal was installed on both the front and the back. Anti-reflective sapphire crystal guarantees optimal readability and protects against annoying micro-scratches that a wristwatch collects in everyday life. Those who want to go on more demanding dives with the CW Taifun can do so without hesitation. Carbid Watches guarantees water resistance up to a pressure of 30 bar. Even though hardly anyone will ever reach such depths, water resistance is an impressive figure that says a lot about the quality of the case.
I don’t want to say too many words about the three-link bracelet made of stainless steel. The quality is right, and the wearing comfort is very good.
What drives the CW Taifun
Every CW Taifun is completely finished in Germany. An exception are the automatic movements, which are delivered from Switzerland. Carbid Watches uses both the ETA classic 2824-2 and the identical Sellita SW 200-1. There are no differences in quality. Since ETA’s patent expired in 2003, various manufacturers have copied the successful caliber, most notably Sellita. No matter, if the new Taifun uses an automatic movement from ETA or Sellita – there’s nothing to complain about the power reserve of 38 hours. Neither is there anything to complain about the quality grade (Top), which indicates the high accuracy. If you want to criticize, you could cite that neither the ETA nor the Sellita movement is a unique selling point. The 2824-2/SW 200-1 is something like the VW Golf among movements. Always reliable, powerful but not necessarily something special.
Lars Thalmann and Konstantin Müller have nevertheless provided the personal touch. The rotor is adorned with the CW logo with additional design.
While the bezel of the current CW Taifun models is black, the customer can choose between a black and a blue dial. I find the noble sunburst particularly successful. Further colors are planned. The design of the dial only looks traditional at first glance. On closer inspection, the “face of the watch” is another side of the Taifun, which delights with great attention to detail and a penchant for the unconventional. Take a look at the skeletonized hour hand! Here, you’ll also once again encounter the curved red diamond that is part of the hourglass logo and now sits freestanding on the seconds hand. The minute, second and hour hands are filled with SuperLuminova BGW9 luminous material, as are the indices of the dial and bezel. In poor visibility conditions, it improves readability, but it’s already top-notch.
My conclusion about the CW Taifun
The very first watch of a brand is, in my opinion, the most important one. It faces the difficult task of perfectly embodying the brand identity. In the test, the CW Taifun proves that its creators must have had clear ideas about what the final product should look like right from the start. They clearly put the emphasis on the case construction, which makes the CW Taifun a unique diver’s watch. Across the board, the watch impresses with its attention to detail and proves that even today, it is still possible to build diving watches that are anything but generic. At first glance, it may seem that way. But already the unique bezel and the red diamond prove otherwise.
There is no question that Carbid Watches, with its premiere watch, can be classified in the premium segment far away from cheap brands. The price of under 2000 Euros may seem self-confident at first glance. In my eyes, however, it is justified in view of the quality offered.
The next step is to communicate these advantages to the customers. However, if the founders have their way, Carbid Watches should not become a typical premium/luxury brand. Performance instead of prestige – that is the motto. To ensure that the Taifun doesn’t become a one-hit wonder, more watches are already being planned. I’m curious to see where the journey will take us. The signs could not be better.
You can find the link to the store below.