Thread: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

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  1. #1
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    Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique - review

    Hello all

    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.

    The movement.
    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.

    The lume.
    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.

    Other touches.
    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.

    Cheers

    Gary


























  2. #2
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

    As far as I know they haven been made and offered by www.kienzle.it . At that time there was kienzle.de and kienzle.it with a different range of products. The Atlantis really was a beater at those times. If I remember right Matt v.Doren wrote a review.

  3. #3
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

    Quote Originally Posted by stuffler,mike View Post
    As far as I know they haven been made and offered by www.kienzle.it . At that time there was kienzle.de and kienzle.it with a different range of products. The Atlantis really was a beater at those times. If I remember right Matt v.Doren wrote a review.
    Thanks for the info Mike, do you keep an archive of older reviews at all? I'd be interested to read someone else's opinion. Oh and please feel free to post this in the review section.

    Cheers

    Gary

  4. #4
    Vintage/PilMil/MKII Moderator JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique - review

    Hi -

    Thanks for the review. Can you by any chance include at least one picture so that someone reading it can get a better idea of some of what you talk about? That would be, I think, a great help.

    JohnF
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique - review

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    Thanks for the review. Can you by any chance include at least one picture so that someone reading it can get a better idea of some of what you talk about? That would be, I think, a great help.

    JohnF
    Sorry John, I thought the pictures at the end amply demonstrated the features of the watch I like. Or do you mean to inter-disperse the pictures through the review at the relevant points? If so, yes that's a good idea, I'll do that in future reviews.

    Cheers

    Gary

  6. #6
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Orange View Post
    Thanks for the info Mike, do you keep an archive of older reviews at all? I'd be interested to read someone else's opinion. Oh and please feel free to post this in the review section.

    Cheers

    Gary
    Hi Gary,

    No I donīt. The only reviews I store are those Iīve been writing. Thatīs why I try to post a copy on "Reviews".

    Hereīs the text of another review written by Brandon S:

    The Company

    From http://www.kienzle.it

    "Kienzle started in 1822 as a small clock producer in Schwenningen, in the heart of the German black forest. Kienzle became during the decades the largest German clock producing company and one of the biggest clock and watch producers worldwide.
    Kienzle also made instruments for the automotive sector, and the car clocks were supplied to Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Audi, Opel & Volkswagen.
    Currently Kienzle has a total of approximate 600 different models of watches and clocks in all kinds ad sorts. From mechanical to quartz, from pocket to wristwatch, in ladies and gents, in gold, gold plated, stainless steel, metal old and new fashion."

    The Hunt

    I first discovered this watch when a friend purchased it. Bob@broadarrow.net took a few photos and posted them, I was instantly in love. I searched Ebay to see what the going rate was, and found them in the $400 range. Then a few questions were asked on a couple of websites and two websites were mentioned. The first, http://www.kienzle.it is an Italian site that has many Kienzle watches, and lists the retail prices in Italian Lira and in Euros. This watch lists at $221.04 Euros on strap, and $283.02 Euros on bracelet, which is quite a bit less than the Ebay sales. It comes in both black and white dials. Whoever monitors this site doesn't respond to emails. They did eventually forward my query to another retailer in Italy and about a month+ later I received a response that only told me they would respond later!

    Next I found http://www.kienzle.net. This is site for D.W.F. Nederland (Dutch Watch Fashion). They didn't list the Atlantis I, but given the reference number they confirmed the retail price and availability of the watch and I placed my order. The response and correspondence with Richard Kies at D.W.F was outstanding! He kept me informed of every step in receiving payment, having the watch ready for shipment, and shipping. Shipping was via UPS International Express and aside from needing to determine import duties (a one day hold up in Kentucky) shipping was without delay (duties were less than $10). Many thanks go to Mr. Kies!

    The Case and Dial

    The Atlantis is solid stainless steel. Many have compared the design to the Panerai, and there is a definite resemblance (there is also rumor of a lawsuit by the same, but I haven't been able to confirm nor deny it, and possibly as a result, there is now an Atlantis II model). The case is brushed vertically and the bezel is brushed concentrically. This is a BIG watch! 44mm across and 47mm including the crown. The crystal is 34.5mm and it is 52mm lug to lug. The case is only 10mm high, but rests 12mm high due to the downward curve of the lugs. The unsigned crown is a whopping 7mm across! Very easy to wind. The crystal is acrylic and flat.

    The dial is incredibly legible. It is gloss black with white logo paint. The numbers and marks are luminous, as is the filling in the hands. The seconds chapter is matte black and provides a very subtle contrast to the main dial. Great combination!

    The fit and finish of the case is quite good, especially considering the price point. The brushing is quite even throughout the watch with the exception of one spot underneath the case next to one of the lugs. The lugs and case are one piece, with the bezel (non rotating) being a separate piece. The crown is non-screw down, which is preferable on a hand-wind watch. Water resistance is 50m.

    The caseback is solid steel screwdown. Unlike the case it is polished, with reference number and logo sandblast finished into it. Even for its size the watch rests very nicely on my wrist (7 3/8"). This is the first watch I've bought that required me to use the LAST hole on the band! The 22mm band is an incredibly ugly, thick piece of leather with a buckle that is badly polished. This is the only downfall of the watch. Gotta replace that immediately!

    The profiles show the cushion shape beneath the lugs well. It is this design element that really makes this watch look great!

    The Movement

    The movement is an unadorned Unitas 6497 with a listed 60 hours power reserve. It has a very strong feel to it when winding, and I enjoy listening to the slower ticka-ticka of the pocketwatch movement! After 4 days the watch seems to be pretty much dead-on timewise.
    Movement photo courtesy of and with the permission of bob@broadarrow.net

    The Verdict
    This watch is cool! Kienzle's history as a manufacturer of aircraft instruments is readily apparent in this watch. I can easily ignore the "You might as well hang it on the wall" and "That's Watchasaurus Rex" comments from my wife and co-workers! I never thought I'd be able to wear (much less enjoy) a 44mm watch. At the price, I think this is one heck of a find!

    August 6, 2000
    Copyright Brandon Sparks 2000

  7. #7
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

    Found a pic Matt vD posted on the old image gallery of WUS:


  8. #8
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique

    Mike

    Thanks for taking the time to find another review and the picture. It's always very interesting to see what other people think, it seems I'm not alone in my appreciation of this watch. As I said in the review I've had a few people email and PM me, saying they love my watch and where they can find one, I hate breaking the bad news that it's no longer available. Lets hope they re-introduce this model or something very similar in the new Kienzle line up, I'm sure if they did it would be a great success.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    Cheers

    Gary

  9. #9
    Vintage/PilMil/MKII Moderator JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique - review

    Hi -

    My bad, I had read it at work and sometimes those friendly guys in IT play games with letting all the pictures through...

    Nice photos, nevermind...

    JohnF
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  10. #10
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    Re: Kienzle Atlantis Mechanique - review

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    My bad, I had read it at work and sometimes those friendly guys in IT play games with letting all the pictures through...

    Nice photos, nevermind...

    JohnF
    No problem John, I did wonder what you meant but I could never get annoyed with a fellow King Crimson fan and watch enthusiast .

    Cheers

    Gary

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