UTS Watch Review

For some time I’ve felt my collection was perhaps too dressy, lacking diversity. How could it not be? I buy very nice, but conservative pieces over and over. So two watches had to go (New Rule: To get something…..something has to go!). And as much as I liked my Frederique Constant FC-710 and Montblanc Star GMT Chrono, they just weren’t getting much wrist time. With the Grand Seiko, their prospects for wrist time grew even dimmer. I decided it was time for a real “Tool Watch.” Something “Badass,” but not so “Badass” I couldn’t wear it to work, or out to dinner. Plus my collection didn’t have a true diver. Not that I dive. I don’t. Heck, my watches don’t even get wet. But I’ve found myself looking at diver’s and thinking I needed (well OK, wanted) one in my collection. I was absolutely convinced my itch for a diver would be scratched by an Omega PO 8500. When you add what I paid for the Grand Seiko and this new piece, I could have bought one. But what’s the fun in that when I could scratch two itches with two completely unique but really great watches? I first learned about UTS from a WatchTime Magazine article and I’ve been utterly fascinated since. I did a lot research and while this brand doesn’t have the legacy of a long established Swiss or German house, it’s pretty cool how the line came to be. So sit back, maybe pour a glass of wine and suffer through another long introduction post of my new UTS 1000M V2 Pacific Horizon Diver. I hope you find my research about the company, their watches and my review all with pictures interesting! So Who Are Nicolaus and Stepehn   

Herr Spinner in His Workshop Hand Making UTS Watches In 1998, Engineer Nicolaus Spinner who owns a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) manufacturing firm in Munchen (Munich to most of us) Germany,a watch enthusiast in his own right, built a watch he called the Commander. Herr Spinner (as he is commonly referred to) looked high and low for a watch with qualities he simply found lacking in other brands. So what does a guy who owns an engineering firm do? Well he decides he can make exactly the watch he wants. So off to his workshop he went, he ordered some Swiss components, CNC machined his own watch case and the Commander was born. Here is a picture of the Commander.  

The Commander wasn’t a diver per se. But he made it in a case that would put most divers to shame with a manual winding movement, a screw down crown and water resistance to 3000 meters. Herr Spinner didn’t actually set out to create a new watch brand. Nope, he just wanted a watch for himself, built like a tank, truly waterproof and something he’d want to wear. Being a bit excited about his new creation, Herr Spinner did what any parent might do. He posted pictures of his new purpose built baby on his personal website, where it caught the eye of an American Engineer and watch lover himself, Stephen Newman.  Stephen – CEO of UTS North America (and a really great guy!) Stephen, a tech entrepreneur who started software companies and launched internet start ups was a watch guy himself. Rumor has it he took apart mechanical clocks his parents bought and put them back together as a kid. On Herr Spinner’s website, he was fascinated not necessarily by the Commander, but by a manual wind chronograph Spinner had just created. So he contacted Spinner and offered to buy the watch. That’s as they say how history was made. Soon a partnership was formed with the goal of turning the watch into a business. Today, Stephen is the President and CEO of UTS North America. He’s the face of UTS in the US. Since there’s actually no store in the US you can try one on or buy one from, if you want a UTS of your own you’ll have to call or email. I recommend calling. This way you’ll have the pleasure of speaking with Stephen, who is one heck of a great guy to buy a watch from! Since its inception, UTS has developed a dedicated following around the globe. “UTS” stands for “Uhren Technic Spinner” which roughly translates to Practical/Useful Watches, made by Spinner. In fact, every single UTS watch is completely hand made by Herr Spinner. There’s no team of watchmakers in his shop. No sir, there’s Nicolaus Spinner hand making each and every watch he sells. UTS makes about 200 watches a year with each model limited to 200 pieces. It doesn’t get much more limited edition than that! Each watch is assembled in his factory outside Munich where Spinner, who in partnership with his brothers also produce machinery for other industrial clients. Here’s where every single UTS watch is built by Herr Spinner.  

 Another cool Dive model is the 600M, a Chronograph powered by an ETA 7750, for which Spinner invented a new locking system for the chronograph pushers. Instead of screwing them down to lock, they unscrew upward. 

 While all UTS watches have incredible waterproof ratings, not all UTS watches are technically divers. There’s the Adventure GMT, without a rotating bezel, but it’s still rated at 500M. It’s also big at 45mm. It has to be big to handle the Automatic Valgranges movement A07.171 with GMT complication. There’s also the manual wind Adventure with a Unitas 6497 movement. And just in case you were sitting there thinking UTS just isn’t WIS enough for you, there’s Spinner’s crème dela crème! The 1000M Tourbillon Dive watch with a manual winding STT 13.75 movement developed by Atelier (now owned by Bovet). It also has an impressive power reserve of 110 hours. And you can see the decorated movement through a Sapphire case back. Pretty amazing for a dive watch! It has a nice but my no means inappropriate price tag of $45,000!   

Unmistakably Bauhaus, Right? How does one describe the style of a UTS watch? Bauhaus seems most appropriate. But what does that really mean? So being a curious fellow, I learned Bauhaus is a style developed from a school of applied arts, established by Walter Gropius in Germany from 1919 to 1933. The ….’s disbanded the school in 1933. Evidently Modern Design wasn’t very popular with them? Some might say Bauhaus is similar to Art Decco in concept. But Bauhaus is more purposely simple in design while highly functional in use. Some might feel UTS watches are not highly adorned. Tome, UTS makes rock solid, built like a tank, functional, really cool watches, without unnecessary adornment. What Does UTS, “Badass” and Hollywood Have in Common? Its cool owning a watch featured in a big budget movie, right? Look at the Rolex and Omega connection to James Bond movies. Well guess what? “UTS” is no stranger to Hollywood either! In the most recent Bruce Willis movie, “A Good Day to Die Hard”(released in 2013), one of the most “Badass” characters in the movie (“Mako”) wore the very same 1000M watch I just bought! Here’s a picture of “Badass Mako” wearing it.  

The director of the film, John Moore also wore a UTS 4000M GMT while filming the movie. Here’s a picture of him with his UTS on.  

  While you can order a UTS 1000M on a rubber band, if you spend just a few dollars more, you’ll get the solid, VERY well made and hefty SS link bracelet as well. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sporting my UTS pretty exclusively on the metal as it just completes the“tool” look. Each link is brushed just like the watch (no fancy polished pieces – no sir) and it’s thick at 5mm. Now that I’ve worn the bracelet for a day, I think it’s amazing, really well made and comfortable.

  What’s Under The Hood? As mentioned earlier, Herr Spinner uses rock solid, mostly ETA movements in his watches. And not just base movements, no way. He orders only “Top Grade” movements and my 1000M V2 is fitted with (yes I know there are some who might balk at spending $$$ for one) the venerable, tried and true, very serviceable, “Top Grade”ETA 2824-2, adjusted personally by Spinner to 5 positions. The rotor proudly says “UTS Munchen” spinning on top of a nicely decorated movement. Of course I haven’t had the watch long enough to assess its accuracy. But Top Grades are supposed to be +/-4 seconds/day with a maximum daily deviation of +/-15 seconds/day, so I have to believe it will be very good. I ordered my 1000M with a Sapphire case back. To ensure it can’t leak, it’s not only very thick at 4mm, its sealing system is major league. While I could have ordered my watch with a solid case back, for me, a BIG part of the joy of having a mechanical watch is being able to admire all those itty bitty parts working in unison bringing me the time of day. There aren’t many dive watches offering this and certainly far fewer with 1000M depth ratings.