Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical watches. His reviews focus on inexpensive but often intriguing Chinese timepieces.
While Thüringer Uhren Werke (TUW) Ruhla is fairly new on the scene, they are based in the heartland of German Horology.
In 1862, Georg and Christian Thiel founded a metal factory in Ruhla, manufacturing products such as door hinges and pipe fittings. Gebruder Thiel GmbH proved to be successful, enabling the company to expand.
A children’s clock they created became very popular in England and the USA. In the early 1890s, Gebruder Thiel moved on to pocket watches and, in 1908, wristwatches. Over time, this company developed a reputation for manufacturing solid and reliable timepieces at a reasonable price.
After World War Two, the USSR assumed management of Eastern Germany. Although much of its equipment was expropriated as war reparations, this company continued to perform well. In 1952, it was nationalized and renamed Uhren und Maschinenfabrik Ruhla. A few years later, watch manufacturers Ruhla, Glasshutte, and Weimar were merged in VEB Uhrenkombinat Ruhla.
In 1974, Ruhla invented the first fully automatic assembly line for the assembly of the basic gear-work of a mechanical watch. This system used magnetism and gravity to place tiny gears into exactly the proper position inside each individual case.
By the late 1980s, Ruhla began to experience difficulties. Western buyers demanded greater variety and frequent product changes. This required investments in additional machinery that the company could not afford.
Ruhla was relatively top-heavy. Of 77,000 workers, one-third were either management or support personnel such as doctors, optometrists, and garbage men. As sales faltered, expenses could not be reduced.
In 1991, shortly after the reunification of Germany, Ruhla failed. The remains of this company were split into several private companies. One of these—Gardé watches and precision mechanics Ruhla GmbH—remains in operation, and their timepieces can be found on eBay and Amazon.
The TUW Ruhla 1892 Automatik is relatively lightweight for a 42-millimeter automatic timepiece, weighing in at 73 grams (2.6 ounces). It is 12 millimeters thick.
This watch’s case is composed of 316L stainless steel. While the Automatik is available in a variety of colors, mine came with a silver dial and blue markings.
Subdials are provided for the second-hand and twenty-four-hour clock. A circular cutout positioned at three o’clock, reveals the date.
A caseback window allows the wearer to view this timepiece’s Miyota 8219 automatic movement.
The Automatik is fitted with a black leather strap, featuring a stainless-steel buckle.
Gunther Beck and Alexander Langue, two Thüringen-born entrepreneurs, created an online watch store in 2006. They used company’s profits, along with seed money derived from a successful 2016 Kickstarter program, to organize and fund their new watch manufacturer.
Thüringen Uhren Werke (TUW) Ruhla began operation in 2016 and is based in Ruhla, Thuringia of Germany.
TUW Ruhla sources the parts used in their timepieces and assembles them in a local workshop. At present, this company uses movements manufactured by Miyota, Seiko, Vostok, Hattori, and Epson. TUW Ruhla produces both mechanical and quartz timepieces.
Brand: TUW Ruhla
Model: TUW Ruhla 1892 Automatik
Place of Origin: Ruhla, Germany
Movement: Miyota 8219 Automatic
Features: Second-hand and 24-hour subdials, and a date indicator
Band material: Leather
Band color: Black
Band width: 20 millimeters
Clasp type: Stainless-steel buckle
Dial color: Silver
Dial window material: Sapphire crystal
Case material: 316L Stainless steel
Case diameter: 42 millimeters
Case thickness: 12 millimeters
Weight: 73 grams (2.6 ounces)
Water resistance: 10 ATM (100 meters)
A shiny stainless-steel case is matched to a silver dial. Two subdials reflect light quite nicely, and a tiny hole pierces the dial, revealing the date. When I describe this timepiece, words like tidy, crisp, and professional spring to mind.
The caseback has been fitted with a window, which displays a rather sexy automatic movement. I particularly like the Miyota’s minimalistic rotor.
This timepiece is equipped with a black leather strap. It matches well with the case.
Support and Service
Small watch companies often differentiate their business by providing personal service. During preparation for my review of the Oniss Paris Meca, I emailed the company for additional information. Three hours later, I received an actual phone call from Oniss, and the representative patiently answered all of my questions.
I was equally impressed by the response from TUW Ruhla. Mr. Gunther Beck, one of the company’s proprietors, politely responded to my long list of queries. He even offered to provide photographs of his workshop.
During a one-week test period, the TUW Ruhla Automatik lost an average of 27 seconds per day.
A second test consisted of wearing the watch for two days and then removing it from my wrist. It continued to keep time for an additional 22 hours.
Both subdials and the date mechanism worked properly.
The TUW Rulha’s case is composed of 316L stainless steel. This grade of steel contains two to three percent molybdenum, which increases the metal’s resistance to corrosion.
Miyota manufactured the movement shipped with this watch. They have, over the years, acquired an excellent reputation for consistency and quality.
The Automatik’s dial is protected by a genuine Sapphire crystal, and this timepiece is equipped with a leather strap of decent quality.
Most of my watches are rated either 3 ATM or 5 ATM. The TUW Ruhla has a water resistance of 10 ATM. It can be worn while swimming or snorkeling.
I like this timepiece. Its overall quality is high, and whether you are wearing a suit or a pair of ragged jeans, the TUW Ruhla 1892 Automatik will add value to your attire.
My older Russian watches are capped by Plexiglas crystals. In direct contrast, this offering from TUW Ruhla is fitted with a Sapphire crystal. The following poll is designed to determine what value the prospective customer attaches to the materials used to manufacture his timepiece’s crystal.
© 2018 Walter Shillington
Adam on October 15, 2018:
Mine is only plus 7seconds a day
Jim Rees on March 25, 2018:
Maybe I overlooked the price in your review, however upon checking Amazon, I think that this watch is overpriced. Plus, over 20 seconds off is not good for a Miyota movement. I just do not get the appeal of this piece. Great review as always my friend.