There are so many newly revived watch brands on the market, it’s amazing. The secret for their success rests primarily in the internet that brings the world watch market to almost everyone with access. Rarely does a brand come back from the dead in its country and city of origin. Circula is an example of a watch company that has managed to do just that. The original German brand dates to 1955. The new Circula brand is currently offering four models or lines of watches; the Classic automatic, the Heritage manual wind, the Heritage automatic and the Retro quartz. For this review, I am proud to be have the Heritage automatic, watch number 001 of 499 to be produced.
The watch is offered in three strap variations, a brown leather strap with white stitching, a black leather smooth strap and a black leather strap with white stitching. The German made straps taper from approximately the standard 20mm to 18mm and are quick release and use polished, signed, narrow buckles and tangs and have one fixed and one loose strap holder. My example has the smooth black leather strap. The 41mm diameter 316L stainless steel case is made of three pieces consisting of a polished beveled edge bezel, a horizontally brushed case with vertical sides and a polished and brushed, exhibition case back held down with four deeply recessed slotted screws. The lugs on this watch curve down in a slightly tapered arc and are polished on the top. They do not hide the raised case back in profile or when worn on the wrist.
The case back is polished with an inner brushed circular area next to the exhibition case back. This area is tastefully engraved or etched with information about the watch. The 6.5mm diameter crown is totally polished and is shaped like a tiny pie tart shell, A raised circular portion on the face of the crown has a 3 spoke wheel design. Circula really wants you to know this watch is totally German sourced. This includes the stamping on the back of the leather strap to the information on the case back and at the bottom of the watch face.
The watch is 11.85 mm thick. The lugs are 20mm wide internally and the watch is 48.5mm lug to lug. The crystal is a beveled edged, double domed anti reflective sapphire that claims to include an anti fingerprint coating. I found the coating to not be very effective. The watch is rated 5 atm for water resistance, more than enough for this type of watch. The navy blue face uses 12 raised, polished arabic numerals, 48 printed white minute/second dots and 12 larger printed white dots between the arabic numerals and the outer edge of the face. The company’s stylized script logo is printed in white on the upper half of the case while “AUTOMATIC” appears in perfect white block letters on the lower portion of the face. “MADE IN GERMANY” is discretely printed in white at the bottom of the face.
The polished and lumed hour and minute hands are in the same style as those used on many watches, such as the minute hand of the Rolex Explorer. The fully polished second hand is a gradually tapered needle and all three hands are what I consider to be the correct width and length for this watch face. It is very legible. A design element that I have not seen before on any watch is the vertically polished rehaut that, under certain conditions, reflects the 60 printed indices of the face into small silver rectangles on a gray background.
The movement used in these watches comes from P.U.W., Pforzheimer Uhren-Rowerke, a movement manufacturer with origins dating back to 1932. The company, founded by Fritz Wagner, was destroyed in a bombing in WWII on February 23, 1945, which killed Fritz, his wife and his grandson. The company was revived after the war by a master watchmaker from the company, Rudolph Weehner, and I believe two other gentlemen, Paul Dietrich and Arthur Wagner. Eventually it was taken over in 1990 by the Swiss company, SMH, which today is the Swatch Group, the largest watch company in the world.
The movement used in this watch is the P.U.W. 1661s, which was introduced in 1975 as a replacement for the P.U.W. 1561, which was introduced in 1971. All of the movement parts used in this watch came from unused parts and components of the era. They are not from completed or previously used movements and are brand new. The 1661s is a self winding movement with 21 jewels, running at 21,600 bph and it has a 40 hour power reserve. Accuracy is stated to be an amazing +/- 2 seconds per day.
The rotor for this movement is bidirectional and it only covers ¼ of the back of the movement, which is well displayed through the exhibition case back. The movement is brushed and polished steel as well as brushed and polished brass. Details visible through the caseback include a +/- setting, and the movement speed. The rotor on this particular movement incorrectly states it is 17 jewels, which will be corrected on production pieces. The visible screws and surfaces of this movement are all nicely finished.
The 1661s movement has a very satisfying but muted winding sound. Normally this movement includes a date feature, but it has been removed for this application. The three crown positions allow the movement to be hand wound when the crown is all the way in. The second position does not do anything since it is for the movement’s removed date feature. The third position out allows the time to be set. It is not a hacking movement but the second hand is fairly easy to hold when in this position.
In summary I find this watch to be an excellent performer of very high quality that has to be examined carefully to see it’s true inner qualities. It is remarkable to me that an automatic watch movement assembled from components that were manufactured around 45 years ago can perform as well as or possibly better than similar automatic movements made today. The watch sells for 890 euros on the black leather strap. It is 748 euros for the US market due to no VAT, which works out to about $980 USD at the time of writing this review. circulawatches.com