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The soldiers of the sea battalion of the German Navy have a demanding profession. On risky missions abroad they protect merchant ships from pirate attacks, defend naval facilities or carry out embargo controls. Mühle-Glashütte Seebataillon GMT Review
In addition to soldiers, the sea Battalion also deploys special units such as snipers or naval divers. Such requirements need first-class equipment.
The traditional German watch manufacturer Mühle-Glashütte works closely with various groups of the German forces, including the sea batallion. This cooperation results in sporty mission watches that must meet the highest demands and requirements of the soldiers. The soldiers use important functions of the watch to master dangerous missions perfectly. Presented at Baselworld in 2013, the combat forces now wear a very special piece: the GMT Seebataillon (german for sea battalion).
Today I would like to discover together with you what features this high-tech watch has and for which missions our soldiers use the watch. Even if I don’t want to anticipate too much: this watch embodies what many other watches, especially chronographs, would like to be.
The first impression – Mühle-Glashütte Seebataillon GMT Review
From the very beginning the feeling of holding this watch in my hands and wearing it is a completely different one than I know from previous watches. In general: to call this piece a watch does not really do justice to the Seebataillon GMT. The term ‚nautical instrument‘, as used by Mühle-Glashütte, is more appropriate.
The titanium case of the Seebatallion GMT knows how to impress. The perfect shapes, the sharp lines and edges give the watch a clear and straightforward character. This is underlined by the nautical and technical design. Our diver is kept in shades of grey and navy blue, which in combination with the gold and white markings comes across very nobly. The watch is also incredibly light. If I don’t look at it in everyday life, I almost forget what I am wearing on my arm – thanks to the titanium case and rubber strap.
Case – Mühle-Glashütte Seebatallion GMT Review
Despite its lightness, the Seebatallion GMT is still very large: the diameter of the case is 45mm, the height from the case back to the domed sapphire crystal is 12.7mm. This is not surprising when you consider that soldiers everywhere – i.e. on the high seas off the Somali coast as well as in Nordic regions – can read indices on a large dial best. The titanium case is really ultra light. The watch never interferes with the wrist at any time. This is partly due to the fact that the relatively large titanium crown with the Mühle-Glashütte logo is at 4 o’clock. It is additionally flanked by two protectors milled from the titanium case.
Let’s have a look at the function here again: mine and tool divers of the sea battalion already carry heavy equipment. A light and comfortable watch is important here. In addition, titanium as a case material feels good when other materials reach their limits. It is very durable and resistant, non-magnetic and very strong – indispensable on missions. The large crown fits perfectly in relation to the watch and is easily adjustable even in risky places. You can dive with the Seebatallion GMT up to 300 meters deep, which corresponds to a water pressure of 30 bar.
Movement – Mühle-Glashütte Seebatallion GMT Review
Inside there is a SW 330-1 automatic movement. This is solid and known for its very good quality, but probably did not meet the requirements of Mühle-Glashütte. The movement used in the Seebatallion GMT has got some special retrofits patented by Mühle-Glashütte. The special Spechthals (=woodpecker’s neck)-regulator has a counter pressure spring reminiscent of a woodpecker and ensures with special shock resistance that the movement runs precisely even under the tough conditions of the navy. In addition, the Glashütter watch manufacturer has installed its own custom-made rotor. The mechanical masterpiece can be admired through the round glass back. A perfect contrast to the gray titanium case back, in which numerous specifications are engraved.
The dial – Mühle-Glashütte Seebatallion GMT Review
With its functional and attractive design, the dial does justice to the special movement in every respect. Not only that in my opinion it is incredibly beautiful: the ingenuity of the functions impresses me. But everything in sequence. Overall, the dial can be visually divided into three parts: the main dial, the GMT ring and the rotating bezel. A dark, matte and navy blue tone dominates, which not only forms a nice contrast to the grey titanium case, but also looks very dynamic when combined with the black matte ring with the numerals. Accents are set by the white markings on blue and the gold markings on black. The colour combination is a tribute to the uniforms and headgear of the navy soldiers. An advantage: the colour contrasts offer good readability, especially in poor lighting conditions, thanks to the intelligently designed indices.
There are two indices on the dial. An inner 12 hour index and an outer 24 hour GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) index with golden Arabic numerals. In order to be able to read the time accurately, the dial has been provided with double markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and a double triangular marker at 12 o’clock. This is to the benefit of the luminous material in the Seebatallion GMT, which is light blue in the dark. In addition to black and white hour, minute and second hands that glow in the dark, the watch has a fourth GMT hand, which has a golden triangular shape and is skeletonized to ensure the legibility of the local time.
The advantage: you always know exactly which time zone you are currently in. A circular date window at 4 o’clock also exists. Above the centre of the dial is the lettering of the renowned watch manufacturer: Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte SA. Below the middle, the indication 30 bar and a GMT imprint in serif writing, which reminds of the GMT ring with the golden numbers again. Here you can see that the colour and design concept is simply well thought out. Just as the requirements of the sea battalion.
The dial is protected by the slightly domed sapphire crystal.
The rotating bezel
Let’s get to my secret favourite: the rotating bezel. Unlike ordinary diving bezels, the rotating bezel does not show how much time has already elapsed, but shows how much time is left. You can call it a “countdown” bezel. It can also be turned in both directions. The maximum you can set is a one-hour countdown, which can be timed to the minute by the 60 clicks. Soldiers, divers and emergency services know exactly how much time they have left to get to the next location.
The bezel can be turned without much effort. The teeth of the bezel and case interlock perfectly. For me an absolute seal of quality „Made in Germany“. The choice of material is fantastic, the titanium is incredibly clean. The index of the bezel consists of the Arabic numerals for 15, 30 and 45 minutes. From minute 60 to 15 the time is indicated in 5 minute steps by rectangular markings, under 15 minutes in 1 minute steps. The triangle at minute 0/60 is filled with luminous material. The surface of the bezel has a shade of blue, which is slightly lighter than the dial. This gives the watch depth and three-dimensionality.
The rubber bracelet
The most durable, robust and comfortable bracelets are made of rubber. Since Mühle-Glashütte in its Seebatallion GMT felt that only the best was processed anyway, the good piece is delivered with a black rubber bracelet including folding clasp and extension. I like the design very much right away. If the bracelet is still quite wide at the base, it tapers on both sides towards the end. The matt black surface has a streamlined, almost organic design. The rubber strap is closed with a steel folding clasp. This is where the trick is: by literally “unfolding” the folding clasp, the bracelet is extended. This is particularly practical when divers put on their suit. One click enlarges the bracelet by about 2cm circumference and you can easily pull the watch on your wrist. The mechanism is very simple. And that is exactly what makes it so good.
As mentioned at the beginning: the Seebatallion GMT is the watch that many others would like to be. Mühle-Glashütte has created a masterly recipe for a watch in cooperation with the German Navy. What ingredients does it contain? Many useful functions, which are kept simple and ingenious. A very intelligent choice of materials adapted to the soldiers, which is unrivalled. A dial that provides lots of information but never looks complicated. And a design that is on the one hand very functional, but at the same time beautifully classic. In addition, the traditional watch manufacturer from Glashütte has managed to weigh these “ingredients” in exactly the right measure.
The Seebataillon GMT is not too technical, not too futuristic, but can also do much more than just look beautiful and show off its supposed qualities. It convinces through performance – because that’s what matters. That is what fascinates me most about this watch. The Seebataillon GMT is not built to look beautiful and to show off. It is designed to help soldiers, naval divers, snipers and task forces in responsible operations: defending against pirates, diving for mines or embargo controls. This watch is there when you need it. It is reliable. It delivers. Just enough to meet the high standards of the sea battalion.
It is not my opinion that you should only buy this watch if you have a special profession that involves life and death. But if you appreciate what the Seebataillon GMT can do and if you like functional design with high-tech features and futuristic materials, I can warmly recommend this watch. A cost-benefit question should not arise, even at 2750€. Because for this you get an incredible amount of watch.
Watches always tell stories. Now you know one more story. In my eyes even a very special one. That of the sporty soldier’s watch Seebatallion GMT.