A Mike Stuffler Watch Review

Made in Germany: L I M E S V I N T A G E 1 9 2 4


Watch Review by: Mike Stuffler, Hohen Neuendorf, Germany

Watch Brand: LIMES

Model: Klassik Vintage 1924

Reference: U7624R-LA4.2

Owned since: 30.06.2005

Written: August 2005 / Caldaro sul Lago / Italy


1. Preface

I own a lot of watches which are equipped with an ETA 2824-2 movement such as Ollech & Wajs M 4, Breitling Colt, The „Stuffler“ – a customized EPOS by ERBE -, Zeno Seahunter 500, Fortis Flieger, Breitling Shark, Stowa Seatime, but until purchasing the LIMES none of my watches had a coin edge bezel.

When the German Watches Forum on www.watchuseek.com celebrated its first X-Mas Quiz in 2003 one of the first sponsoring brands was LIMES (pronounce: „Leem-ess“).
Limes CEO, Mr. Thomas Ickler, spontaniously donated a Limes Klassik Reference U 7624R-LA2.3 as a prize. This 2003 LIMES Klassik was fitted with the typical hands we know from pilot´s watches of former times (e.g.: Hanhart).
The watch donated by LIMES went to Canada or France (sorry can´t recall the winner´s name and place; a real pitty I honestly admit!) so I hadn´t that much time to get familiar with this particular LIMES.

But already in 2003 I knew that I will add a coin edged watch to my collection in the time to come.

Two years later - in the meantime some other watches came in and went off, other priorities and personal watch projects had to be followed – I saw the „renewed“ Klassik Vintage 1924 and couldn´t resist.
The LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 became part of my collection (No. 62).


In order to be prepared to survive some boring and rainy days during my 2005 vacation I thought it would be useful to take the LIMES and my laptop with me in order to write my fourth watch review.

Accordingly this review was written in the land of „dolce fa niente“, always accompanied by a glass of a red 2003 “Merlot“,rose 2003 “Lagrain Kretzer” or a white 2004 “Pinot Grigio“ of a local wine-grower (www.brigl.com) in the garden of „Castello Windegg“ where friends of mine are living.


Castello Windegg and my workplace view


2. The brand



The roots of LIMES are going back to 1924 when Karl Ickler, the grandfather of CEO Thomas Ickler, decided to start up a company for watch parts, mainly watch cases.
He established the production plant at Pforzheim, the second centre of German watchmaking at that time; Glashütte/Saxony is the other and maybe the better known one.
Pforzheim is located in the South of Germany, State of Baden-Württemberg, close to the Black Forest where watchmaking has a long tradition.
At the beginning of the 20th century a lot of watch parts such as cases, dials, hands, straps, movements and crowns had been manufactured at Pforzheim.
During WW II the production at Ickler`s laid down but was re-started in 1947 by Heinz and Kurt ICKLER. In 1953 a new factory building was established.
From 1950 to 1980 there was a huge and successfully watch industry at Pforzheim, just to recall a few companies (watchmaker and watch suppliers):
• PUW (Pforzheimer Uhrenwerke)
• Eppo / Otero
• Durowe (Deutsche Uhren Rohwerke)
• Para (Paul Raff)
• Lacher & Co
• Aristo (Julius Epple)
• Stowa (Walter Storz)
• Berg
• Arctos (official supplier to the German Military at that time, lool out for the military chrono with Lemania 5100 !).
• Ickler GmbH
• Ernst Wagner

Ickler became known as an important watch case manufacturer with both, national and international reputation.
To complete the picture I have to add that Pforzheim is still known for watches and watchparts „Made in Germany“. Currently you will find a lot of old and new brands and suppliers located at the Pforzheim area, e.g.:
• Archimede (watches)
• Aristo (watches, owned by Hansjörg Vollmer, see Vollmer)
• Benzinger (skeleton watches)
• Cador (dials)
• Fricker (cases)
• Hirsch (bracelets, cases)
• Ickler (cases)
• LIMES (watches)
• Rheinmeister (watches)
• Schauer (watches)
• Stowa (watches)
• Vogel (crowns)
• Vollmer (cases, watches)
• Winkler (cases)

In 1979 Thomas Ickler joined the team and in 1990 the Ickler company started to produce private label watches and some years later the idea to create an own brand was born.
Finally led by Thomas Ickler, the grandson of Karl Ickler, LIMES became real. According to their website LIMES was introduced after two years of preparation, designing and producing which in my humble opinion now pays.
Designing, manufacturing, testing and final quality control of LIMES watches is entirely done in-house, so are the cases.
The „Ickler KG“ and LIMES are presently family runned in the third generation.


3. The watch

The LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 is available in 6 different versions:
Black dial with black or brown leather strap and bracelet, silver dial with black or brown leather strap and bracelet.

I made up my mind to go for the black dialed version with brown strap.



Details:

Diameter: 38 mm (37,8 mm according to LIMES)

Height: 9,4 mm

Strap: 20 mm leather strap

Movement: automatic ETA 2824-2 (LIMES execution)

Retail price: 445 Euro on strap;
595 Euro on bracelet
(VAT 16% included)

3.1 Case, bezel and crown

As already pointed out the case is an in-house product. It is made out of stainless steel 316L which in Germany is known as „Chirurgenstahl“ (=surgery steel).
The case consists of three parts: coin edge bezel, body and screwed display back.
The body is the main case part and comes in satin finish, the back and the coin edge bezel are polished.


The lugs are slighty teared down and drilled in order to provide screw bars to fix the strap or bracelet - which to me is another small but useful quality feature I am missing at most of my watches. Strap changing is very easy.


The screw heads are polished. Lug to lug space is 20 mm.
The case is water resistant to 50 meters but I never tried to prove it.
On its edge the back is engraved: „LIMES – Made in Germany“ followed by the ICKLER logo – „stainless steel – Sapphire crystals – waterresistant 50M“.
The unsigned crown is easy to operate and in the right proportion.
The coin edge design iterates on the bulb crown.

3.2 Crystals

The watch is furnished with a flat tight-fitting sapphire crystal on top and a flat sapphire display back.


3.3 Dial and hands

The black dial of this three-hand-watch is state of the art, all arabic numerals are filled with luminous compound and due to their dimensions very legible.
The outer circle can be used as a minute scale as well as a second scale, every five sec/min you have a small luminous triangle or 15,30, 45,60 is printed on the scale. The scale is luminous as well, so no problem for night owls to read the time in place of sleeping .
The LIMES logo is to be read unter 12 o ´clock. Instead of a common „Made in Germany“ you will read „ICKLER GERMANY“ left and right of the „6“.


The date window „moved“ from - what we are used when talking about a standard ETA 2824-2 – the 3 o`clock position to 4:30.
The date wheel background color is black, the date itself is printed in white.
The date window may disturb lovers of clear „Flieger“ inspired watch dials but in daily use it wasn´t disturbing me at all. The date window is very small so from the distance (I wear bifocal glasses) there was no trouble in reading the time.

The saber styled hands are filled with C 7 LumiNova, the hour hand measures 8,50 mm, the minute hand (12,50mm) could be a bit longer on order to touch the outer scale.
The second hand is tipped in red and has the correct lenght to reach the outer scale. I like the red tipped second hand very much but due to the fact that the second hand is a very small one legability isn´t at its best. I assume that the second hand is better to read on the silver dial version of the Klassik Vintage 1924.

Excursion:

The luminous color, Super-LumiNova, which is used for the numerals and hands of the LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 is a Swiss hi-tech product and is absolutely free of radioactivity.

Super-LumiNova is a registered trade mark.
Nemoto & Co. Ltd. of Japan is the patent holder and together with Swiss based RC TRITEC Ltd. a joint-venture – the LumiNova AG Switzerland – was established.
LumiNova AG Switzerland is the one and only licenced manufacturer and exclusive distributor.

SuperLuminova consists of also „photo-luminescent“ or „afterglow“ called pigments. Selected grades of new chemical compositions allow an up to 100 times better brightness than previous materials.
These pigments operate like a light battery. With sufficient activation of the pigments by artificial light / sun light these pigments can emit the stored energy in the darkness.

The luminous pigments are classified by daylight or body colour and an emission colour:
C1 = white
C3 = yellow
C5 = greenish-yellow
C7 = green
C9 = blue-green
According to the TRITEC homepage besides the standardised ISO-colours a wide variety of fashion- and customer-specified colours is available.

If you are interested in getting to know more on Super-LumiNova I can highly recommend
www.rctritec.com for a visit. No question on luminousity should be unanswered thereafter.


3.4 Movement


The heart of the LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 is an ETA 2824-2 which is the most common automatic movement but there´s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
To the watch community the ETA 2824-2 is known as a proven workhorse, rugged and reliable.
Most watch enthusiasts will have heard of the ETA 2824-2, due to the fact that almost all watch brands have an ETA 2824-2 fitted watch in their collection; however for those who don´t I`ll mention some of its basic specifications:
As far as I know the ETA 2824-2 was introduced in 1982 bei ETA (see: www.eta.ch).
The ETA 2824-2 measures 25,6 mm (which is 11‘‘1/2 lines) in diameter and 4,6 mm in height. The 25 jewels - movement beats at 28.000 b/h. Power reserve: approximately 38-42 hours.

The date position moved from 3 o´ clock (which is the usual date window position for an ETA 2824-2) to 4:30.

Furthermore the ETA 2824-2 of the LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 comes with a very fine decoration which includes perlage, stripes on the rotor, blued stainless steel screws and engraved LIMES logo on the rotor (= LIMES execution).


Other high quality features of this particular movement are:
+ Glucydur balance
+ Nivarox 1 hairspring
+ Incablock shock protection.
+ adjusted to 5 positions

Excursion:

The heart of a mechanical watch movement is the balance. Using the energy of the main spring the balance oscillates back and forth allowing a mechanical watch to run.
The balance contains a balance spring (also known as hair spring) which task is to be seen in setting the rythm of oscillation due to its vibration frequency.
A Glucydur balance is made of Berylium and Copper and is known to be very hard and stable. The Glucydur balance is anti-magentic, non corrosive and expands only little when heated.
Today a Glucydur balance is a standard feature of fine watches.

Nivarox is an alloy allowing a good timekeeping performance because Nivarox is largely immune to temperature effects. Fine watches are always equipped with a Nivarox 1 hairspring which currently is the best available. E.g. Nomos is adding a Nivarox 1 hairspring to the Peseux 7001 ebauche.

Incabloc shock protection was invented in the 1930ties. The patented Incabloc prevents shock damage by providing the possibility the jeweled balance to move laterally and vertically within a spring-mounted setting (more information on www.incabloc.ch)

Adjusted to 5 positions: Usually the adjustments are made by innumberable small tweaks to the hairspring and the rest of the escapement in order to provide a constant timekeeping. (without a greater loss or gain). The 5 positions are: Dial up, dial-down, crown down, crown up, crown-left).

The LIMES execution for sure is an eye catcher and worth the display back which comes with a sapphire crystal too.

Timekeeping was excellent during a 4-weeks-period. The watch almost run consistently at + 4 seconds per day (I wasn´t wearing the watch whilst sleeping and swimming but I was whilst walking on mountain paths, and..........drinking). The average wrist time was about 12-14 hours per day.
Setting the time was no problem due to the fact the movement does hack.


3.5 Strap and buckle

Standard issue for the LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 is a thin black or brown 20 mm leather strap; „Genuine Leather“ is printed on the back. The leather (calfskin) is of decent quality, durable and comfortable to wear from the first day.


The brown strap comes with exactly set stiches, coloured like the strap. The black strap comes with white stitches on top.
The strap is fitted with a polished buckle and LIMES logo engraving on it. The buckle itself is a very solid one.

A bracelet is also available (plus 150 Euro).

3.6 Packaging and Manual


The watch came in a wooden box wrapped in an outer white cardboard box. The wooden box top is covered with a textile fabric (don´t know what it really is) with golden LIMES logo imprint.
The golden LIMES logo print is also to be found on the cardboard box.
The interior of the box is covered with white velvet. The watch is held by two clips fixing the watch at its strap.
Both crystals were protected by very thin and round polythene sheets.

The folded manual describes how to adjust time and date supported by a draft showing the different crown positions.

3.7 Warranty

Due to European regulations the watch comes with a 2 years warranty.


4. Final comments / Conclusions / Recommendations

By now everything I thought I have to put some light on was mentioned, only a final comment is missing.
Being priced reasonably the LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 is a watch for everyone and every day wear. It can be understood as a dress watch as well as a „homage“ to a pilot´s watch. The watch itself wears very comfortably and should fit every wrist.
Most people will first get attracted by the coin edge bezel (so was I).


The LIMES Klassik Vintage 1924 and a classic 1960 Mercedes Benz 190 SL

For 445 Euro you will get a valuable, very fine made high class watch „made in Germany“
with a swiss heart in comparable quality.


LIMES watches aren´t that wide spread and in my humble opinion still underrated. They deserve more attention. Buy one if this review teases you, you´ll not regret.


Thanks for reading and every comment in advance.

Some pics by courtesy of Thomas Ickler, LIMES GmbH, Pforzheim/Germany.