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Circula Heritage Automatic Review: What to Watch Out For

December 3, 2021

Hunting for a microbrand with a regenerated movement? Look no further than the Circula Heritage Automatic. Based in Pforzheim, this Black Forest outfit has taken a 1970’s movement and brought it back up to speed.

Originating from the circulation of the balance found in mechanical movements, Circula have now revived a small piece of history to great effect. Taking inspiration from the very first Circula watch, they have added a sprinkle of restoration into a classy all encompassing timepiece that was literally lost in time. 

So what’re my initial views? The handmade 100% German authenticity and the hand wound P.U.W. movement (Pforzheimer Uhren-Rowerke) is a triumph with the manufacturers origins going as far back as 1932. The renaissance of the movement coupled with Circula’s heritage makes a compelling case. 

But instead of going round and round, let’s see what else the Circula has to offer watch snobs. 

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The Dial

With three colors to choose from, namely red gold, black and blue, the engineering and craftsmanship is impressive...on the face of it!

There are a dozen Arabic hour numerals, polished to a high standard as well as a tiny minute track running around the border of the dial. Measuring between 39-41mm in diameter and less than 12mm tall, Super LumiNova C1 comes as standard. This illuminates the hour and minute hands which can be seen on many high end brands such as Rolex. The brushing gives it a premium aesthetic while watch fiends can enjoy double curved scratch resistant sapphire crystal. 

Meanwhile, on the back, time lords will find the release number. As exclusive as an invite to the Oscars after party, models are limited to 499 pieces which is a nice touch. Branding is printed on the dial in white or black (subject to the color) with AUTOMATIC lying neatly above the 6 o’clock mark. 

The discrete yet impactful face visuals continue with “MADE IN GERMANY” outlined in black or white located at the bottom. All of the curved silver hands are extremely svelte with the second hand having a needle like demure allowing excellent visibility. Watch out for the inner bezel ring emanating the indices surrounding the face. 

The Case

The 316L stainless steel case throws up a bezel offering polished edges whilst the case itself has been brushed in a horizontal direction. Moving on to the case back and I like how it’s recessed with four screws that are as secure as Alcatraz. 

Tapered, polished lugs give it a premium look and the case back itself has a neat display window. This allows watch snobs allowing a sneaky peek into the movement. The finishing is sublime on this timepiece and the polishing has been done to a high standard. 

But we’re not done quite yet. How about scratch free sapphire crystal and the model number with information engraved on this limited edition timepiece. Measuring less than 7mm, the polished crown features a unique wheel design and several details can be seen via the caseback including movement speed. 

Circula watch

The Movement

Admire the heritage Pforzheim movement which is without question the main highlight of the Circula Heritage Automatic. 

Manufactured some 50 years ago, the P.U.W. (Pforzheimer Uhren-Rohwerke GmbH) movement was put on the back burner amid the quartz catastrophes in the 1970s. Painstakingly recovered, cleaned, oiled and hand assembled, Circula have done a first rate job with this spectacular old movement. I found the daily accuracy levels of around -10/+15 seconds impressive and the 40 hour power reserve definitely cut the mustard. 

Like the Terminator, the 1661s polished steel, brass movement seems to have regenerated effortlessly. Say Hasta La Vista to old shoddy movements and hello to brand new parts that showcase the intricacies of this specific self winding movement. Despite old school hand winding, time hasn’t stopped in the production process.

With more than 20 jewels that’s regulated in 5 different positions, the Heritage Automatic has a bidirectional winding rotor covering less than half of the caseback. Although the water resistance rating is 5ATM, it runs at an excellent 21,600 bph. 

On to the sound and the P.U.W. movement is a tranquil little number with the three crowns giving you the opportunity to self wind this beauty. One of the crowns allows watch fans the chance to alter the time with consummate ease. 

For further details, watch geeks can discover more about this one of a kind movement here.

The Strap

Available in three finishes including smooth black and black or brown with white stitching, the Circula Heritage offers a handmade all German leather strap. 

Top quality materials with excellent durability, polished buckles and signature stamping on the back make the Circula strap another triumph. 

Plus, if you feel the need to swap out your strap then you can thanks to the quick release system. I only see this as a big plus as major watch brands don’t give consumers much strap selection in this area. 

Tick Tock The Final Word

Great as a dress watch, Circula have really pulled the rabbit out of the horological hat with recovering this lost movement that time forgot. It is staggering they can turn a near half century old component into something that can compete with any of today’s automatic watches

Heritage, vintage and sublime German aesthetic appeal is embedded in Circula’s philosophy. At least they haven't shoved it into a cheap Japanese case or scrimped on the strap. No my dear time lords. 

This brand new microbrand has spared no expense in ensuring a first class performance giving watch geeks exclusivity with its limited edition model set at 499 pieces. If I am splitting heirs, the 5ATM water resistance rating falls slightly short but it’s not a deal breaker.

Nevertheless, if you want something that’s not only been revived but carefully restored with great care, thought and meticulous attention to detail, Circula should be on your watch list. It appears that inner beauty does lie within. Prices start around $950 at the time of writing. Buy it now at circulawatches.com

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Simon Lazarus
As an avid watch fiend, Simon Lazarus isn’t any ordinary watch collector. Since the dawn of time (well almost), his obsession with timepieces has seen him establish a bijou collection across his extensive travels with his wife and two darling daughters including in the US and Dubai. With an extensive back catalogue of published work on timepieces for numerous sites globally, watches are moments in history. He certainly makes time to capture the true essence of watchmaking with an eye for impeccable detail showcased in his plethora of watch articles across numerous sites. With a well formed selection focusing on Swiss made as well as emerging microbrands that will no doubt gain in value, time is almost as precious as his two young princesses!
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