Hands-on photos and review of the Panzera Breuer B44-02 Arctic
Our regular readers are already familiar with Panzera, a watch brand based on the principle of bringing quality watches at highly competitive prices. As a source of inspiration for their models, Panzera is looking at famous German watches. Their Flieger 47 that we reviewed last year has all the design elements of a typical German pilot watch.
As huge fan of Bauhaus school of design, I was quite excited when I first saw their new Breuer line and now that I’m preparing this review, I know that my expectations are high. There are many German brands that continue the legacy of Bauhaus, just think of Nomos or Junghans, but their prices are way higher than what a Panzera will cost you. Panzera is globally sourced, which explains its lover price, in the same time I am curios to find out if there are any corners cut, to bring down the price.
Before we dive into the details, here is a quick overview of some technical specs of the model reviewed:
Name: Breuer 44-02 Arctic
Case: 316L stainless steel.
Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 9 mm
Water resistance: 50 m
Back: Screwed in with exhibition display
Crown: Screwed in
Glass: Domed hardened mineral crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement: 21 jewel, Miyota 8215 automatic, 40 hours of power reserve
Strap: Hand-made black leather with push-button deployment clasp
Price: €325 (excluding VAT – the Canadian price is to be decided, we’ll keep you posted).
As with the Flieger before, the Breuer comes in a nice black leather box, cushioned with black velvet. When I was reviewing the Flieger, I was a bit disappointed by the quality and the design of the instruction booklet, which later I was informed that it was improved. With the Brauer, the booklet got upgraded, it is printed on a much nicer stock and it just looks way better. Unpacking the Breuer is still a fine experience.
I was a bit familiar with the design of the new Breuer, I saw the pictures posted by Panzera on their website, still when I opened the box, I got quite exited by the proportions of this piece. While the diameter of the watch is 44 mm, which is already puts it in the larger wristwatch category, once you strap it on, you realize that it sits even larger due to its long lugs (lug to lug distance is 53 mm).
The dial is your typical Bauhaus dial, minimalist and functional, high contrast, black indexes printed on the white dial. The five and 15 minutes divisions are longer and the delicate pencil style hands overlap them, reading the time easy.
A small triangle with two dots at 12 o’clock, making a subtle borrow from aviator watches, a nice touch in my opinion. The triangle and the dots at three, six and nine o’clock are filled with lume, just like the hour and the minute hands.
At three o’clock the date window is a little bit too small for my taste, on this large dial they could have given a bit more breathing space for the digits, to make it easier to read. Opposite to the date window, at nine o’clock the logo is printed in a low-key manner, another plus in my opinion.
When it comes to the crystal, it’s probably one of the things I love the most about this piece. It’s domed shape give the Breuer a vintage style that strengthens its Bauhaus look. It’s a hardened mineral crystal.
The domed shape of the Breuer is bolstered by the rounded form of the back of this piece. On the wrist, the Breuer sits at almost 1 cm heigh, constantly reminding you that you’re wearing an automatic piece. The lugs are long enough make it feel comfortable on the wrist.
The screw-down crown is decorated with the anchor from the original Panzera logo. The shape of the crown makes it really easy to operate and adjust the time. Winding the Miyota 8215 automatic is rather smooth and the 40 h of power reserve will save you the hassle of adjusting the watch in case you might leave it to sit in a drawer for a day.
The see-through back is covered with a hardened mineral glass, offering a glimpse at the Miyota movement powering this watch. It seems to be a stock movement without any branding or decoration, probably many people won’t even notice it, yet it would have made it nicer to have a bit more attention given to this rather nerdy detail.
The polished stainless steel back is engraved with name of the piece and its serial number.
While wearing it, I could always hear the rotor moving, which was a bit disconcerting at the beginning, with time I got used to it. Just, don’t be surprised if you will hear it, nothing is broken, it’s just the good old Miyota getting wound.
Panzera is offering for the Breuer two options, either a black leather strap with deployment clasp or a stainless steel mesh bracelet with fold down clasp. The review model I was provided, came with the leather strap with I had a lot of pleasure strapping on and wearing. The leather is soft and it has a nice finish. The deployment clasp is solid, during the two weeks I was wearing the Breuer, I did not had any unpleasant surprises, such as accidentally opening it.
The Panzera Breuer is a great choice for anyone looking for a watch with a strong Bauhaus identity without willing to cash out two times more money for a Junghans Max Bill Automatic. In many aspects the Breuer even surpasses the original Max Bill watch, many components are of higher quality. If I would compare the Breuer with the Flieger 47 Wolf, again I see many aspects that Panzera improved. The Breuer is a much more mature and polished (figuratively speaking) model than the Flieger. From a new brand to see such improvements in such a short time is encouraging and makes me eager to look forward to their next model.
This is not a small watch, for my thin wrist it was a little bit too big, yet it did not bothered me, as a designer I felt great to wear a watch with such a pure design. On someone blessed with thicker wrist, it will look even better. Who knows, one day Panzera might surprise us with a unisex Breuer in a smaller size, with the same good looks.
This is a fun, good looking dress watch with a minimalist design, reliable movement, comfy strap and clasp at a decent price. Would I buy it? Absolutely!
More about Panzera an its Breuer at panzera-style.com.