Circula Heritage Hand-wound

I've had several watches pass through Time Bum Headquarters in the past month. They have all been pretty cool, but only one found its way to my wrist, day after day. That watch was the Circula Heritage Hand-wound. For my review, they let me try this lovely, vintage-powered dress watch for a couple of weeks, and it quickly became a weekday favorite. 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

What makes this watch unique? First of all, it's got a fantastic story. Circula was founded in 1955 in Pforzheim, Germany. Like many smaller brands, it did not survive the quartz crisis; however, in 2018, the original owner's grandson resurrected the company. Circula now produces four classically styled models using Miyota 9015, Ronda 593, or best of all, new original stock, German-made, 1970s vintage, Pforzheimer Uhren-Rohwerke GmbH (PUW) mechanical movements.

PUW was a respected manufacturer back in the day, and after they shut their doors, a private collector secured and stored thousands of unassembled parts. Circula was able to purchase this entire trove, clean the carefully preserved bits, and assemble fresh movements. This cache enabled Circula to build an inventory sufficient for at least two model runs (499 hand-wound and 499 automatic) with abundant spare parts for servicing.  So we have a German watch brand, resurrected by the family, making watches with legitimate German movements, assembled in Germany. The provenance is perfect. 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

Of course, provenance is quickly forgotten if the execution is not up to par. So many reissues and heritage designs are ruined when they are scaled up to suit contemporary expectations. While I recognize that there is a limited market for 34-36mm watches these days, I also understand that the same design elements that made those smaller watches appealing do not always work when they are blown up to 42-44mm, or when a throwback dial is mounted in a bulky case. 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

Circula has no worries on that front. Offered in both gold and silver, the wafer-thin, stainless steel case wears a combination of brushed and polished finishes and measures a tidy 39mm wide, 45.5mm long, and only 9.9mm thick from the case back to the top of the double-domed sapphire crystal. It sits perfectly on my 6.75" wrist, tucks under a buttoned shirt cuff, and is a natural choice when you are wearing a suit. It strikes just the right balance between modern wrist presence and more petite vintage proportions. The crystal is both anti-reflective and fingerprint resistant coated. Water resistance is 50m, which is more than enough for this kind of watch. 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

Pretty as the case may be, the crown is the real star here. Diamond-shaped, notched on only the outermost edge, and signed with an image of a balance wheel, it looks lovely while offering easy operation – always a plus for a hand winder. I know this is usually the part of the review where I bemoan its size ask why the crown could not be flatter, and yet, I can't. I like this one. It may be a tad sporty for a dress watch, but it is not so large that it seems out of place, and I appreciate the thought that went into its design. It suits the Heritage quite well. 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

The dial is clean and tasteful, featuring applied and polished markers; Arabic at 12 and 6 with bars for the remainder. Circula also offers the watch in blue and black, but only the white dial has these beautiful blue polished hands. They are curved to fit, and much to my delight, they are filled with C1 lume. Not enough for a dive-quality wrist torch, but more than adequate when the lights get low. Complementing the blue hands is a blue dot index that surrounds the perimeter.

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

Regular readers know that I am a stickler for typeface, font, and the sizing of same. Few things annoy me more than a dial cluttered with unnecessary text or ungainly logotypes. Circula uses the original 1955 logo, so it doesn't just look vintage; it is vintage. It is also legible, stylish, distinctive, and properly proportioned, tucking neatly between the 11 and 1 o'clock markers. The only other text is a simple "17 Rubis" in the lower half, and finally, "Made in Germany tucked beneath the six. This is a beautifully balanced dial. Every element has room to breathe, and those simple pops of blue make it fun. 

Flipping the case over, you will be able to see the PUW 561 movement through the exhibition window. While perhaps not as decorated as some, it is nicely finished, and given how uncommon this movement is today, watch geeks will certainly want to have a look. It has 17 jewels, a 21.6k bph vibration rate, a 40-hour power reserve, and Incabloc protection. For eye candy, you'll find a Geneva striped bridge engraved with the serial number (also found on the case back ring). 

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white

Buyers may choose from one of three straps: black leather, brown leather, and the anthracite suede shown here. All are 20 mm wide with quick release spring bars, and a matching signed buckle. Naturally, they are made in Germany. 

The Circula Heritage Hand-wound is a charming piece of mid-century modernism made all the better by its reborn, home-grown movement. It is available directly from CirculaWatches.com for €790 or €664 for those of us not subject to VAT (about $750 US). I highly recommend it. ⬩

Circula Heritage Hand-wound white




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