The newest member of Mühle-Glashütte’s Terrasport family combines two quintessential pilot watch elements, one German and one Swiss, to create an elegant and useful tool watch: a classic B-uhr dial and a GMT hand.
The Mühle-Glashütte Terrasport IV GMT is obviously German. The name of the town on the dial—the heart of German watchmaking—is your first hint, but so is the dial itself. The white sans-serif numbers and 12:00 triangle flanked by two dots make up the classic B-uhr pilot dial. Sword hands round out the homage and lume appears to be generous. The German Beobachtungs-uhren, literally “Observation watches” and usually shortened “B-uhr,” were used by the Luftwaffe throughout the Second World War. Today, they are iconic pilot’s watches made by several of the original manufacturers, including IWC, Laco, and Stowa. An anachronistic date window takes the place of the 3:00 numeral, and the black date wheel with white numbering maintains the perfect balance of the black and white dial. The 42 x 10.2 mm case is smaller than the 55 mm original, but that is another welcome contemporary concession.
That concession is made possible by the first Swiss influence in this watch: the automatic Sellita 330 movement. The original B-uhren used 40 mm+ pocket watch movements, hence the larger-than-life cases. The Sellita movement is a more manageable 25.60 mm. Mühle-Glashütte makes several significant changes to the Swiss movement, including its patented woodpecker neck regulation and a custom rotor. The woodpecker neck presses against the index hand to hold the fine adjustment system in place in case of violent shocks. The rotor swap is also more than cosmetic. The new power source is a two-piece construction, thin in the center and heavier toward the edge to achieve greater momentum and hence greater power.
But the new German rotor cannot hide the undeniable Swiss influence on this watch. For that, we turn back to the dial. There, a 24-hour register surrounds the perimeter of the dial and a bright red triangle at the tip of a GMT hand points to a second time zone. The four hands are beautifully stacked around the cannon pinion—seconds, minutes, hours, and GMT on the bottom—with each successive hand getting a larger base. The wedding cake effect is at once elegant and tough.
The GMT hand is separately adjustable, unlike on the original Swiss GMT: the Rolex GMT-Master. The boys in Geneva developed the GMT for Pan Am at the birth of the jet age, as pilots faced a real need to keep track of multiple time zones. The original GMT was just a 24-hour hand, displaying the same time zone as the main hand; a rotatable bezel allowed the GMT hand to point to a second time zone. The GMT-Master II introduced a quickset GMT hand, making the bezel a redundancy. Since the Terrasport IV GMT’s namesake fourth hand can be set independently, just like the modern Rolex, Mühle-Glashütte smartly dispensed with the rotating bezel.
The Terrasport is available on a thick black buffalo strap with white contrast stitching or a stainless five-link bracelet. The strap looks spot-on, but the bracelet seems like an oddly delicate choice for such a practical watch.
U.S. pricing is not yet set, but it lists overseas for €2100 on leather and €2200 with the bracelet.
Technical Details of the Terrasport IV GMT
Movement: SW 330, automatic; Mühle version with patented woodpecker neck regulation, its own Mühle rotor and characteristic surface finishes. Second time zone / 24-hour display. Stop-second, quickset date, 42-hr power reserve.
Case: Brushed stainless steel, ? 42.0 mm; H 10.2 mm. Water-resistant to 10 bars. Double anti-glare sapphire crystal. Screw-in crown. Transparent case back.
Strap: Buffalo leather strap with a stainless steel pin buckle or stainless steel strap with a stainless steel butterfly clasp.
Dial: Black; hour markers and hands coated in Super LumiNova.
Price: €2100 leather; €2200 bracelet.