Time and again, dive watches prove themselves to be a popular style of watch, as do military watches. While there are some brands that can tie themselves at some point in their heritage to a military diving unit, finding a current production watch that’s in use by a naval unit is a decidedly rarer thing. That is, until the Mühle-Glashütte Kampfschwimmer became available.

Far from being just another dive watch competing for attention, this particular watch was designed for, and with the participation of, the Special Operations Forces (aka Kampfschwimmer) of the German Navy – a unit not unlike the US Navy Seals. So, what did this elite unit need in a watch? First and foremost, legibility and accuracy in timekeeping. The accuracy is handled by the Selitta SW-200 movement, and legibility is of course handled by the clean dial.

Crisp, white hands and indices (luminous, of course) stand out against the blue dial, with red indices slotted in at the compass points for differentiation. Now, take a look at that bezel. Other than the sawtooth design (similar to what we saw here) (LINK), does anything look out of the ordinary? It’s a subtle thing – the markings on the bezel itself. These are actually in 3 minute increments, rather than the more common 5 minutes. Why 3? This is a chunk of time that these commandos are trained to cover distances in this amount of time. It also allows for a uniform pacing that all of the unit can follow.

As you might expect of a watch expected to hit the water, the Kampfschwimmer carries a 300m WR rating, along with a screw-down crown on the 44mm stainless steel case. The sawtooth bezel does provide some functional improvement, as it’s rather easy to grip, even when slippery (or with gloves). It also provides a bit of identification for the unit, as the sawtooth is based on the insignia of the combat divers (which is a sawfish). Additionally, for those supplied to the military, the tactical number of the soldier is found on the bottom of the case, along with the 50th anniversary logo (which they’re celebrating this year) of the unit.

While I am fairly confident that most of the watches sold to the public will be destined for desk diving, there’s something special about a tool watch like this, designed as it is for true, hard use by an active military unit. Coming in at a price of $3,699, this is an accurate (adjusted to 6 positions) watch that looks to be a great everyday sort of a piece.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Mühle-Glashütte Kampfschwimmer
  • Price: $3,699
  • Who we think it might be for: This is a unique treat for someone who loves military-derived timepieces, and wants something that isn’t an aviator watch.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: As intriguing as it is, divers are something I have a surplus of. So, likely not.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The included strap looks nice, but an option for a mesh or steel bracelet would be sharp
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: While it was the electric blue dial that originally drew me in, the detail I like the most is the sawtooth bezel. It’s a styling exercise, but it’s one that makes for an easy-to-grip bezel.

Tech Specs from Mühle-Glashütte

  • Movement: SW 200-1, automatic; Mühle version with woodpecker neck regulation, own rotor and characteristic surface finishes. Stop-second. Fast date correction. 38-hr power reserve.
  • Case: Stainless steel case. Unidirectional bezel. 2.5 mm thick, domed and anti-glare sapphire crystal. Screw-in crown. Ø 44.0 mm; H 15.1 mm. Water-resistant to 30 bars.
  • Strap: Synthetic strap with stainless steel pin buckle. Screwed strap attachment bridges.


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New Models, Over $1000,

Last Update: July 18, 2014