When it comes to watches Made in Germany, you usually think of Stowa, Nomos, Damasko, Sinn or other popular brands. But when it comes to smaller brands and cheaper ones, you don’t hear about them. This time we will look into a German brand called Lilienthal Berlin. And yes, all their watches are Made in Germany! I discovered this brand accidentally. I was watching youtube and found a German youtube channel where a guy was showing his watch collection and he had the Lilienthal L1. So I looked up this brand and was surprised to discover that it costs only 199euros, made in Germany and looks so good.
Lilienthal Berlin is a German company based, as you guessed in the capital of Germany, Berlin. Their main focus is on the German made quality and design. And after reading their site I was very impressed by everything they make. The watch that we are taking a look at today, the L1 is thoroughly inspired by Berlin. Also, the L1 has won awards. If design award in 2017, Green Product 2017 winner and others. They deliberately subjected their watches to the rigorous testing criteria of the Bundesverband Schmuck + Uhren (German association of jewellery, watches, clocks, silverware, and related industries) and fulfilled them. So basically the L1 is a German made quality timepiece but keeping it affordable! So I contacted them and asked for a sample to review. And now comes a pretty interesting part, you can actually customise you L1. Here you are looking at the configurator where you can choose the size of the case between L size (42,5mm) and S size (37,5mm). You can choose between stainless steel silver or gold case colour, three dial colours (white, blue, black) and a ton of strap colours and patterns. There are only 10euros in the price difference between two sizes, but no other options don’t change the price. So I had a chance to configure mine. I chose the blue dial, silver case colour, L size, yellow strap and + they sent me two more straps to look at.
The watch arrived nicely packaged in a white and black cardboard box. I like the design. You open the box and you get there a watch, couple of postcards,, instructions, warranty and stickers. First impressions were good, you really get that German watch feeling. I was also impressed by the leather strap, the quality just blows me away. Another cool detail was the crown that is hidden in the case and has dodecagon chape.
So the case is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well machined. The case is round, with a simple design. It has short, thin lugs. On the right side of the case, you had a small round cut where the dodecagon shaped crown sits. Despite it being hidden, it is quite easy to pull out and operate. The crown is push/pull and inside, around the crown you have a blue line. The diameter of the case is 42,5mm, the thickness is only 7,3mm, lug to lug is 48,8mm and lug width is 20mm. The 42,5mm size on paper sounds big, but it wears so well on the wrist and feels more like 41mm or even 40mm. Due to the very short and thin lugs and the hidden crown, it gives an illusion of smaller watch. And also it wears pretty comfortably due to thin case. The case is finished in matte bead blasted finish. The solid case back is finished with circular brushing and is much shinier. The case back is held on with 3 small screws and has some specifications, model number and Lilienthal logo engraved on it. On top of the case, you will find a sapphire-hardened mineral crystal. Actually, it is a bummer, as I would love to see a real sapphire crystal. The water resistance is 5ATM (50m) which is pretty decent, but I wouldn’t go swimming with it, it can take some rain or handwash, but nothing more.
Now we come to the dial. They are making their dials from zero to a finished product. product. They are actually made about 800 kilometres south of the capital city, in small specialist factories situated in the heart of the Black Forest. They are made at the Schätzle & Cie factory. They use state-of-the-art computer-controlled cutting tools that create the very finest details in their dials. Here you can see a small video from the factory where they build their dials.
So the dial I chose is the blue, it is one of my favourite colours when it comes to dials and it was probably the best choice to go with in my opinion. Everything on the dial is printed with this silver colour. On the edge of the dial we have the minute track and minute markers going from 05,10, 15 etc. till the 60. And the outer portion of the dial looks almost like a gauge from an old car. It has that classic gauge look. The inner ring of the dial is a bit deeper. There you will find 4-hour markers. The one at 12 is the Lilienthal logo and the others are classic Arabic numerals 3,6 and 9. Then you will also find writing Lilienthal Berlin. And closer at 6 we have the small seconds subdial which is again a bit deeper than the last rind. The hour and minute hands are skeletonized and also in the same silver colour as the printing done on the dial. The small second’s hand is in light blue colour. On the edge of the dial at 6 o’clock, we have the proof of German quality, the ”Made in Germany” writing. I really like the look of the dial, it is really well designed and quite easy to read time. You can just look at the dial and see the time without any additional thought.
Inside the L1 you will find a Swiss quartz movement from Ronda ticking away. Particularly the Slimtech calibre 1069. I have nothing much to say about it as it is good quality quartz and that it will last a long, long time. The battery life is 25 to 30 months. But now let’s look at another super cool thing. The straps. There was a ton of colours and patterns to choose from. So there is an option for every taste. I chose the yellow, red leather strap and a blue strap with kind of jeans/cloth pattern on top. All their straps are handmade in Germany. They are made in partnership with three partner companies – Graf, Marburger, and Di-Modell. All these companies are one of the best in Germany when it comes to strap making. The leather is buttery and smooth to the touch, the colours they are dyed in are very live and look fantastic in sunlight. The stitching, finishing and the embossing of the logo at the end of the strap and on the underline is just perfect. The underline is also leather, but it is this dark brown leather. These go with one of the best straps fitted on a watch from factory aside with the Sternglas. It seems that German watches come with the best quality straps. As all Swiss made watches or Japan watches usually come with crappy straps that are swapped as the watch is in my hands. The straps are fitted with the quick release spring bars which I think is the must-have feature on a strap nowadays. The buckle is just a simple silver stainless steel, bead blasted, tang style buckle. Here is a small clip where you also can see how the watches and straps are made and then assembled:
Overall I really liked the watch. I was really impressed to learn that these are made in Germany timepieces and that it isn’t another fashion watch brand. The L1 really has that German watch feel when you take it in your hands and put it on the wrist. Also, the package is quite good, for 199euros you get a German made watch, cool award-winning design, super nice handmade straps and a Swiss quartz movement. Usually for a watch like that most of companies would ask 500euros o even more. Do I suggest it? Yes! 100%
- MOVEMENT Swiss manufacturer Ronda
- CALIBER Slimtech calibre 1069
- CASE 316L surgical steel
- CASE DIAMETER 42.5 mm
- CASE THICKNESS 7,5 mm
- GLASS Sapphire-hardened mineral crystal glass
- STRAP MATERIAL Plant-tanned natural leather
- STRAP LENGTH 155-215 mm
- WATER RESISTANCE 5 ATM
- WEIGHT 63 Grams
- ITEM L01-103-B016A7
- WARRANTY 2 years