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A brand's story : Circula by Extropian

Brand’s Story
Circula
Watches
Microbrand
Dive watches
Field watches
German
A brand's story : Circula by Extropian

A lot of the micro brands that we focus on here at Extropian have popped up within the past five or ten years, but German company Circula has almost a century of history and experience behind it! To have survived this long in such a competitive market they must be doing something right, so we figured it was about time we took a closer look at this remarkable family-owned business from the Black Forest, and let you know just what makes it so special!

Origins

The Huber family can trace its history in the watchmaking trade all the way back to 1926, when it opened a watch and jewelry wholesale store in Pforzheim, one of Germany’s oldest horological centers. Over the following decades, they absorbed every aspect of quality watchmaking until, in 1955, Heinz Huber felt it was time to start his own company, and Circula was born. The brand’s aim was to design and manufacture its own watches, with a focus on high quality and reasonable prices - an approach which has now continued for three generations.

The brand weathered the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s by switching predominantly to Quartz watches but, like many other brands at the time, struggled to survive. By 1985, Heinz’s son Klaus-Dieter had taken over, but he focussed more on the wholesale side of the business rather than developing the brand, so it languished in a sort of limbo for a number of years, despite having produced some superb watches over the previous three decades (some of which you can still find on the vintage market if you’re lucky!).

This all changed in 2018, when Klaus-Dieter’s son Cornelius took the reins and radically switched things around, closing the family’s wholesale business altogether and returning to a design-led approach and a direct-to-consumer sales model which has seen the brand’s fortunes and reputation revived for the 21st Century. 

Starting with a range of vintage-inspired Quartz watches to test the market, the brand has now developed a range of superb mechanical watches to rival anything from the brand’s past, including 2019’s rather wonderful - and strictly limited edition - Heritage Collection, which used vintage German-made movements from the 1970s (sorry though, they sold out almost instantly!).

Cornelius has adopted a dual approach to designing Circula’s new collections, with some of their current models taking inspiration from the brand’s history, while others give a modern twist to classic designs from across the world of watchmaking. In both cases, however, they maintain the same high standards and commitment to quality that have defined Circula from the very beginning.

The Circula Ethos

Like many modern micro brands, Circula is making a conscious effort to adopt a climate-positive approach to their business. To begin with, their watches are designed to be durable, easily repaired, and timelessly stylish, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime!

More than that, however, they are striving to create a sustainable business model, using recyclable packaging, a climate-neutral delivery service, and biodegradable packing material. Even their headquarters runs on electricity from renewable sources. Their leather straps are vegetable tanned, so they don’t use any harmful chemicals for sealing, and any damaged components, prototypes, or demonstration models are recycled instead of being thrown away.

With a firm eye on the future, the brand aims to be entirely plastic free and carbon-neutral by 2030, with even their watch cases, dials, hands, and straps being made from recycled material by that date. And, at the rate they’re going, who’s to say they won’t manage it?!

The product

Although most of Circula’s watches are powered by Swiss Sellita movements, they all proudly carry the “Made in Germany'' label, meaning that they are designed, assembled, checked, regulated, and fine-tuned in the brand’s Pforzheim headquarters. And, with over six decades of experience, they’ve established a close network of reliable suppliers who ensure the consistent quality of their product. 

All their watches feature sturdy 316L Stainless-steel cases with scratch resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The brand also sells a range of Stainless-steel and Titanium bracelets, along with a selection of rubber, nylon, and hand-made German leather straps, all of which feature a handy quick exchange system, so you can swap them out in a matter of seconds.

And, what’s more, Circula actively engages with the watch community during the design process for every watch, asking for help and suggestions about exactly what they want to see in their latest models - a collective approach which Cornelius feels will ensure the best possible results. So, let’s take a look at their product and see if he’s right!

The AquaSport II 

The AquaSport is a perfect blend of past and present, directly inspired by Circula’s classic Dive watches from the 1970s, but with some great modern twists. It has a distinctive 40mm Tonneau case with fine stain brush finishing and polished chamfers, a 120 click bezel with a sapphire insert, scratch-resistant curved sapphire crystal, and 200m water resistance. 

It comes in various different color options, but we love the Blue version with its vivid aquamarine dial, white minute track around the edge, and hand-applied baton indices outlined in orange and filled with Swiss Super-Luminova. It looks great with a matching blue Tropic strap, but you can also opt for a Beads of Rice bracelet if you prefer.

Circula AquaSport II - Blue

Aqua Sport Ii Blue Square 1536x1536

The Aquasport II GMT

A great choice for the beach-loving traveler, the AquaSport GMT combines the best qualities of a Diver and Office GMT, allowing you to track three different time zones while you’re out for a swim. It has the same great design and specs as the AquaSport II, but with a ball bearing 48-click bidirectional 24-hour bezel instead of the Dive option.

Circula AquaSport II GMT

Aqua Sport Dive Watch Blue Dial 700x700

The SuperSport

Another serious Diver, the SuperSport takes all the great looks and specs of the AquaSport, but adds a true Super Compressor function with a spring-loaded screw-down caseback which tightens more and more the deeper the watch is submerged in water, giving it an impressive 300m water resistance.

It also features a very cool multi-layered Sandwich dial, a 120-click unidirectional inner rotating Dive bezel, engraved crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock, and a choice of a Tropic rubber strap or Stainless-steel H-Link bracelet

Circula SuperSport Black

Ss St Sssh a Trans 700x700

The ProTrail

Circula’s catalog continues to expand with the addition of this robust Field watch which nods to a design from the brand’s rich history, but gives it an overhaul for the 21st Century. The Stainless-steel case has a Tonneau shape with a modern, angular design and a deep gunmetal finish produced by a mixture of sandblasting and Klosterizing (which is a type of hardening process in case you were wondering!). It also has a soft iron inner cage, which makes it antimagnetic up to 80,000 A/m, which is a great feature for any mechanical watch, but Field watches in particular.

As you might expect, the dial is minimal and instantly legible, with simple Arabic numerals, a Railroad minute track around the edge, and 13-24 hour numerals on a step-down inner dial. We love the Sand version with its yellow-orange dial and contrasting heat-blued steel hands, and fully-luminous outer-ring printed with Old Radium lume. The outdoorsy feel is completed by a cool Sailcloth hybrid strap with genuine leather on the inside.

Circula ProTrail - Sand

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Conclusion

What more can we say? Circula is a brand with a century-long history which has been reborn and given new purpose in recent times, and from what we can see they’ll continue to go from strength to strength. So, make sure to check out what they have to offer - we’re pretty sure you won’t regret it! As always, you can find out more details about all their watches on Extropian’s database.

Created the 2023-09-20

Modified the 2023-12-20

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