MICRO MONDAYS: Pitzmann strengthen their claim to be the South Korean value propositionFergus Nash
South Korea is not typically a country associated with watchmaking, despite a strong culture of manufacturing that has leapt in quality over the last two decades. That said, microbrands essentially exist to challenge our preconceptions of what’s possible for small companies to accomplish. Pitzmann certainly capture the imagination with their two releases The First Pitzmann and The Pitzmann II, going above and beyond expectations of quality and detail for an incredibly affordable price.
The First Pitzmann
The First Pitzmann derives its looks from an era rather than any one particular influence, and that’s the transitional period between men wearing pocket watches and wristwatches. The phasing between the two styles was a gradual and complicated one, however WWI played a huge part in proving the utility of wrist-worn watches. Those military watches generally focused on legibility and functionality such as the hacking seconds hand, allowing watches to be synchronised for tactical purposes. When the war ended, this style shifted into a more casual and even sophisticated realm, and that’s where The First Pitzmann lies. The white enamel dial with Italicised numerals and blued sword hands is classical and refined, evoking some of the Art Deco sensibilities of the 1930s. Legibility is still clear thanks to the train-track minute markers around the dial’s perimeter, as well as the generous markings on the small second’s subdial.
With a stepped bezel design and thick lugs typical of a vintage watch case, The First Pitzmann harnesses antique looks with a few modern adjustments of size and function. The 39mm diameter is catered for contemporary tastes without appearing too big for its style, and the 47mm lug-to-lug distance should fit comfortably on most wrists. It’s relatively slender for an automatic watch with 100m of water resistance at 11.6mm thick, including the double-domed sapphire crystal. The movement is the Sellita SW261, which is the small-seconds variant of the ubiquitous SW200. It features a smooth 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of 38 hours, with hacking and hand-winding.
The Pitzmann II
For their second watch, Pitzmann decided to tap deeper into their Korean roots. One of the most instantly recognisable features of Asian cultures is their architecture, and specifically the roofing. An iconic style for Korea is the Giwa tile, formed by overlapping a base layer of amkiwa flatter tiles with a top layer of sukiwa half-pipe. The unique geometry of Giwa can be seen throughout the silhouette of The Pitzmann II’s case, as opposing curves and bevels carve a Korean persona directly into the steel. It’s not so obvious as to feel gratuitous or tokenistic, but the appreciation for the culture can definitely be felt. Given the bolder design of the case, The Pitzmann II does tend to lean into a sportier scene than The First Pitzmann as well. Its 40mm diameter fills out the space nicely, while the 46mm lug-to-lug distance remains squat and solid on wrists of most sizes.
As for the thickness, the use of the Sellita SW300 movement has actually helped The Pitzmann II to be slimmer than The First Pitzmann, standing at only 10.8mm including the sapphire crystal. This slender movement also packs a power reserve of 56 hours along with its 4Hz beat rate. The dial of The Pitzmann II also carries some sportiness thanks to its thick hands and applied indices, however the polish on some of these surfaces as well as the bezel ensures it doesn’t lose all of its potential dressiness. The concentric circles within the dial’s outer sector add a nice amount of depth and complexity, helping to bring out each of the available colours in blue, green, or grey.
The First Pitzmann and The Pitzmann II pricing and availability:
Both of Pitzmann’s releases are currently available on their website. Price: US$945 (First Pitzmann on leather) / US$970 (First Pitzmann on bracelet) / US$1,099 (Pitzmann II on bracelet) / US$1,202 (Pitzmann II on bracelet + leather)
|Model||The First Pitzmann / The Pitzmann II|
|Case Dimensions||39mm x 47mm x 11.6mm / 40mm x 46mm x 10.8mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||100m / 150m|
|Dial||White enamel / Blue, grey, or green|
|Strap||Leather or steel bracelet|
|Movement||Sellita SW261-1 / Sellita SW300-1|
|Power Reserve||38 hours / 56 hours|
|Price||US$945 (First Pitzmann on leather) / US$970 (First Pitzmann on bracelet) / US$1,099 (Pitzmann II on bracelet) / US$1,202 (Pitzmann II on bracelet + leather)|