The Tufina laboratory is located in Oberhaching near Munich. The brand has now become a name largely associated with German watchmaking. Their devoted customer base, as well as new audiences, have heard many things about the positive qualities attributed to German-brand watches. In this regard, we have noticed there is a higher interest in learning more about the Tufina brand. In this blog post, we are going to present you with a tour of their workshop as well as give you a run-down of their process.

Workshop located in Oberhaching

Tufina company or otherwise known as Tufina & Son operates in Oberhaching, near Munich. Prior to establishing their workshop in this wonderful city they conducted their activities in Hamburg. Their laboratory seems to have become a second home to their watchmakers who have dedicated their whole lives to watchmaking. If you were to step into their warehouse and laboratory you would find a many-room facility filled with equipment, tools, design sheets and packages of their timepieces ready to be shipped to their customers.

Their watchmakers’ tables remind you of an older time when timepieces were carefully crafted by hand. They honour that tradition to this day by delivering hand-assembled timepieces put together with care and devotion. Their workstations seem to be covered in intricate watchmaking tools. You will find dust pencils, tweezers, collet levers, screwdrivers, brushes, blowers, dust pencils, movement tools, polishing tools and watch testers, as well as plenty of books and publications scattered around their work tables. All a testament to their diligent process of working with their hands and minds.

Tufina Watches Laboratory process.Tufina Watches Laboratory process.

Manufacturing process

One of the pillars of their watchmaking activity is the fact that Theorema’s and Pionier’s timepieces are completely sketched, designed, and assembled in-house. The first step that precedes the rest of Tufina’s process is designing their own watches. Enis Tufina along with a select experienced designers will first plan the components and architecture of every new model. This process is quite lengthy as it goes through a series of assessment stages and initial drafts. It can take over a year just to finalize the design of one collection.

Afterwards, the components are carefully put together by hand. This is an extremely intricate and quite tedious process that requires great patience and attention to detail. Along with all the components having been assembled by hand, a meticulous process of finishing and polishing is carried out. Every single Tufina watch is put through four testing rounds in order to ensure perfect accuracy and functionality. This whole process can take from one year to three years depending on the intricacy of the timepiece.

Elma cyclomotion at the Tufina Watches Laboratory in Germany.Elma cyclomotion at the Tufina Watches Laboratory in Germany.

Quality equipment for a quality German brand

Tufina & Son watch laboratory is equipped with some of the most advanced watchmaking German, European and Asian machinery tailored to premium watch production. One example would be the Elma Cyclomotion, an auxiliary device that is a must for every workshop. This watch winder can be configured individually. Different lift variants guarantee optimum lift and winding according to the respective requirements of the mechanical watch movements. This machine allows their watchmakers to wind large and heavy mechanical watches easily. A lockable protective cover provides additional protection against dust and mechanical influences.

Enduring tests are also carried out using this machine. These tests can be adjusted to different speeds from one to four rpm. The Elma Cyclomotion and a diverse collection of other equipment allow them to implement precise manufacturing techniques. As such, their watch factory combines traditional watchmaking mastery with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. Throughout the whole manufacturing process, their professionals adhere to strict regulations of German watchmaking. This is how they guarantee supreme quality in terms of engineering, mechanical value, functionality, accuracy and durability.

Other high quality machinery used at the Tufina’s laboratory is the prestigious waterproof tester Greiner Poseidon LT which is the go-to equipment for testing watch maintenance, handling vacuum levels up to -0.7 bar and pressures up to 10 bar. Its intuitive design includes a large color screen and user-friendly menus, tailored by industry experts for modern needs. Users can track tests in real-time with graphic displays. Key features include simple operation, detailed process mapping on the screen, and versatile tray system. It accommodates watches up to 61mm in diameter and 15mm in thickness, measuring deformations accurately to ≤ 0.1 µm. Additional options include a "Quick test" mode, customisable measuring times, and print log capabilities for thermal printers. These features ensure efficient and cost-effective watch maintenance.

Another very expensive piece of machinery you will find in this German laboratory is the Mitutoyo TM-A505B used for micro-metering. A micrometer serves as a precise measuring tool, ideal for obtaining extremely fine measurements. It comes in both metric and imperial variants, with metric micrometers typically measuring in 0.01mm increments and imperial versions in 0.001 inches. These measurements offer superior accuracy compared to dial calipers or vernier calipers, contingent upon the user's diligence. The micrometer's accuracy is verified according to DIN 863 at a reference temperature of -20°C, with a measuring force exerted by the ratchet drive between 5 to 10 N.

Operating on the principle of a screw and nut, a micrometer facilitates axial rotation of its barrel-like structure, also known as the Thimble, to gauge the distance of an object. The screw, linked to the thimble, is a concentrated cylinder marked with equal divisions to ensure precise readings. Rotating the screw through the nut in a circular motion results in axial movement equal to the screw's pitch, which correlates with the degree of rotation and absolute axial movement. By adjusting the pitch of the screw thread, the axial value can be fine-tuned to enhance accuracy. Different types of micrometers are available to cater to various measurement needs.

But when we asked one of their watchmakers, Blendi Tufina, which tool was his favourite, said he was proudly using his Brown and Sharpe Micro-Etalon 225 Micrometer. A bit of an old schooler at heart, but of course he comes from a family of eight generations in watchmaking and holds a master craftsmanship certificate. As seen Tufina has a fascinating engineering approach to watchmaking. No surprise there, for a family that dates back to the early 1800s in watchmaking we were pleasantly at ease.

Eight generations in watchmaking

Tufina has quite a rich history. The family behind this brand has encountered significant milestones and challenges. In the early 20th century, the Tufina Brothers achieved considerable influence, creating timepieces admired for their precision and craftsmanship. However, the complex political situation in Albania during the mid-20th century posed a great deal of hardships for the Tufinas. The authoritarian regime of the time subjected the Tufina family to persecution, imprisonment, and confiscation of their assets. Nevertheless, despite facing adversity, members of the Tufina family persisted in upholding their watchmaking traditions.

Many notable names have created timepieces that are still found in museums, institutional buildings and vintage auctions. When asked about some of these names, Blendi Tufina recollects the stories of Bahri Tufina creating the first made-in-Albania table clock. He told us that Fiqiri Tufina is still remembered as a well-known watchmaker in many parts of Italy. Syri Tufina and Alban Tufina hold the title of “Master Watchmaker”, given by the The National Chamber of Crafts in Albania, a division under the Ministry of Culture. Along with many other members of the family, they still work as watchmakers to this day.

  • 1822: Ismail Tufina begins the family tradition of watchmaking.
  • 1940s: Tufina expands to own more than 23 stores, establishing itself as a prominent name in the industry.
  • 1948: Members of the Tufina family face imprisonment, torture, and asset confiscation under Albania's communist regime.
  • 1960s: Bahri Tufina lays the foundations of watchmaking education in Albania.
  • 2004: Enis Tufina launches the Theorema and Pionier brands, marking a new chapter in Tufina's history.
  • Present: Tufina continues to produce hand-assembled watches in Munich, Germany, showcasing the enduring spirit of craftsmanship passed down through eight generations of watchmakers.

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