I've had this Kienzle Atlantis Mecanique that I've had since March 06. I'm not entirely sure that it qualifies as a German watch as I hear the holding company is Asian and the movement may well be an Asian copy. I won't go in to specifics here as I don't really know the history of the brand.
My initial attraction to this watch was the Unitas 6497 movement, this is an iconic movement that I didn't have in my collection (at the time). I also wanted an oversized watch, just to see if my slim 6 3/4" wrist could take it. Unfortunately I didn't (and still don't) have the kind of money to buy a Panerai. So the hunt was on for a more affordable watch that housed the Unitas 6497.
After an exhaustive trawl of the interweb I stubbled accross the Kienzle, straight away I knew I liked it, my only reservations being the dial numerals (I'm pretty fussy about typefaces and in the vast majority of cases prefer markers) and the hour markings on the case. I decided the only way to decide was to buy one and see.
On delivery my initial reaction was "it's big but I like it", the only thing that I replaced was the original black double thickness strap with a nice desert sand Panerai style strap fron Ken Danks. The main reason for this was that the buckle is brushed steel and more in sympathy with the brushed case.
So on to my wrist.
Is it too much for my slim wrist? An emphatic no, despite the 44mm excluding crown and 52mm from lug to lug size it looks and feels fine. The main reason is the slim profile af the watch 9mm, and the curved lugs. It ranks as one of my most comfortable watches, if not the most comfortable, and it slides easily under cuffs. And again because of it's relative slimness so far (touch wood) I haven't bashed it into anything.
I'm not the type of guy who counts the seconds and regulates their watch every evening, if I did I'd never get away from my watch boxes. So super accuracy I'm not too bothered about (I've got quartz watches for that type of thing). The Kienzle has been very impressive very rarely needing to be adjusted, and because there's no date I don't need to adjust at the end of the month. Sometimes less really is more. The 7mm crown is a joy to wind and the relatively slow tick (18,000 A/h) is very sweet to my ear. I've not yet tested the claimed 56 hr reserve but it's definately lasted 48 hr no problem.
Back to my initial reservations.
The numerals I really don't mind now the dial at 35mm can easily accomodate them without it being cluttered and the typeface is an unobtrusive sans serif. The hour markings on the case are again easily accomodated becuase of the overall size of the piece.
I know some of you guys can get hot under the collar about this, so I'm going to tread carefully. IMHO the lume is excellent on a par with, if not better than my Seiko BM, there I've said it. I think because of the sheer size and surface area of the hands the lume really is impressive, and because of the dial size and it's uncluttered nature I find it a lot easier to read in the middle of the night.
The detailing on this watch is something I never tire of. For example the contrast between the gloss dial and mat subdail which really lifts the look of the face. Not to mention the contrast between the polished case back and crown and the brushed case in sympathy with the contrast of the dials.
Things I'd change.
A very short list this one. There is no lume on the second hand in the subdail. Not that I want to count the seconds when I'm trying to get to sleep, but it's a little touch that I'd prefer. A display back - I doubt that the movement is decorated (I've never removed the back) but I'd love to see the movement in all it's glory, but for the money I can't complain.
So there you have it, if anyone else has the Unitas 6497 itch I can heartily recommend this watch. Out of all my watches (getting to be almost too many, it's almost, but not quite embarrassing. This it the one I wear the most, usually between new arrivals.
This review was written some time ago for a UK forum (it was my first review in fact) and since it was originally posted I've had numerous people enquire about getting hold of this watch. As far as I'm aware it's currently out of production, sorry about that. This example I found on ebay and I've got a white faced example which I bought privately of a forum. They do crop up for sale occassionally, so all I can say is be patient.
As mentioned above this review was written a while back, but I'm happy to report that I've had no issues with this watch (the white faced example had a hairspring issue that was easily fixed). I stand by all my observations, it's still one of my favourites and it still gets the most wrist time.
If anyone would like to know more, just get in touch.
Many thanks for reading and as your reward here's some pics.