By Jon Gaffney
on 9.2.09

stowa-gear-patrol-jon-gaffney-1

If you like watches and haven’t heard of Stowa, allow us to educate you. Out of Engelsbrand, Germany, Stowa has been producing timepieces since 1927. All their cases are machined in the Stowa factory (they just moved into a new facility this year), where they are mated with ETA and Unitas movements. This level of in-house craftsmanship is rare and impressive, especially with a smaller boutique brand. We jumped at the chance to get hands-on with their Marine Original watch. Read on to get our impressions.

Stowa Marine Original Gallery

The Stowa Marine Original is based on a World War II naval deck watch called the Kriegsmarine that Stowa made for the German Navy. It sports a plain white dial, easily read numbers, blued steel hands, and a sub-dial for seconds. The steel case checks in at 41mm in diameter. Though svelte by today’s bloated tuna can trend, we found it to be well sized for both large and medium-sized wrists. The whole watch is built around a manual wind Unitas 6498-2 movement decorated with:

  • Blued Screws
  • Screw Balance
  • Swan-Neck Regulator
  • Côte de Genève Decorative Pattern (“Geneva Stripes”)

This movement is beautifully displayed through the crystal case back, so don’t be surprised to catch yourself wasting spending time watching it tick… we certainly did. Winding the watch was buttery smooth and made our tester’s other manual watch quite jealous.

In our opinion, the Stowa Marine Original’s greatest strength is being able to be dressed up or down (especially with the brushed case). It comes on a 22mm black leather strap with deployant clasp that would easily thrive with a suit or in a business casual setting. For more laid back occasions, we’d be tempted to try it out on a NATO or RAF strap. At under $1,000, you’ll be hard pressed to find a new watch with the stats boasted by the Marine Original, but then again, the same could be said for most of Stowa’s line.

Author’s Note: Stowa, like some of the other brands we’ve covered, is well known for their customer service. Lead times for their watches can be long, as they’re made to order, but owner Jorg Schauer and his team respond promptly and make sure their customers are satisfied.

Cost: $990