Stowa: Quality Watches from Germany's Black Forest
Stowa has been crafting high-quality watches for over 90 years. This German watch manufacturer is especially famous for their retro pilot's watches. However, the catalog also includes elegant Bauhaus watches and modern diving watches.
5 Reasons to Buy a Stowa Watch
- Faithful recreations of pilot's and navy watches from the 1930s and 40s
- Automatic or manual Swiss movements, including those of top or chronometer-grade
- The Contemporary series: modern pilot's watches with a second time zone
- Prodiver: water resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft)
- Antea watches with a timeless Bauhaus design
From Retro Pilot's Watches to State-of-the-Art Diving Watches
Pilot's and navy watches modeled after their historic predecessors from the 1930s and 40s are the bread and butter of German watch manufacturer Stowa. Due to their clear designs and fantastic readability, watch fans are particularly fond of pilot's watches in the famous Baumuster (type) A and B styles. Stowa first produced such timepieces in 1940, and they have been a permanent part of their catalog since 1997.
Launched in 2004, the Bauhaus watches in the Antea collection can also trace their origins back to the 1930s. In 1937, Stowa released a Bauhaus-style watch, making them one of the first watch manufacturers to discover and use the timeless design principles of this famous art school.
However, Stowa's repertoire includes much more than just retro watches. The pilot's watches in the Contemporary series and Seatime Prodiver diving watch collection clearly demonstrate that this company from the southwestern German town of Rheinfelden can keep up with the times.
Automatic and manual Swiss ETA calibers provide Stowa's current watches with their precision and accuracy. Most are top or even chronometer-grade. Stowa also refines each movement in house.
How much do Stowa watches cost?
|Flieger Classic Chrono||2,100 USD||Valjoux 7753||Chronograph|
|Flieger GMT||2,000 USD||ETA 07.171||Second timezone, date|
|Marine Original Arabic||1,600 USD||Unitas 6498-1||Small seconds dial|
|Prodiver Rhodium||1,500 USD||ETA 2824-2||Pressure resistant to 100 bar, date, helium escape valve|
|Antea Classic 390||1,100 USD||Top-grade ETA 2824-2||Date|
|Flieger Classic 40||1,100 USD||Top-grade ETA 2824-2||Date|
|Antea Back to Bauhaus 355||1,100 USD||Peseux 7001||Small seconds dial|
Detailed Price Information for Pilot's Watches
The Flieger (pilot) Classic collection contains some of Stowa's most famous watches. Their designs are largely inspired by their historic predecessors from the 1940s. You can choose from a watch in Baumuster A with luminous indices, Arabic numerals, and a triangle at 12 o'clock or Baumuster B, which has an additional inner hour scale in the middle of the matte black dial. These two Baumuster (types) date back to the early 1940s when the former German Imperial Ministry of Aviation (Reichsluftfahrtministeriums, or RLM) set standards for German pilot's watches. Luminous material also coats the tempered blue sword hands and central second hand, further improving the near-legendary readability of these timepieces.
The stainless steel watches are available in four sizes: 36, 40, 41, or 43 mm. The automatic ETA caliber 2824-2 powers most versions, though some feature the manual ETA 2804 or Unitas 6498-1. This collection also includes a chronograph, which houses the Valjoux 7753.
Prices for Flieger Classic watches depend on their movements and range from around 740 USD to about 2,100 USD.
You'll find Stowa's modern pilot's watches in the Contemporary series. These watches also have black dials, but lack numerals and use two line indices in place of a triangle. What's more, a countdown bezel lends them a sporty touch. Plan to spend around 1,700 USD on a model with a chronometer-grade ETA 2824-2 movement. The GMT edition costs about 340 USD more.
Navy and deck watches have been part of Stowa's catalog since the very beginning. The Marine Classic collection pays homage to these early timepieces by faithfully recreating their designs: A railroad minute scale with Roman or Arabic numerals runs around the dial's edge, while delicate, tempered blue spade hands display the time. There are also editions with a small seconds dial or chronograph function available.
Depending on whether it uses an automatic or manual ETA movement and the movement's grade, expect to pay anywhere from 740 to 2,200 USD for a Stowa Marine Classic watch.
The Partitio collection is a remake of a Stowa classic. These 37-mm stainless steel watches blend characteristics of pilot's and navy watches and feature an especially elegant minute scale. Paired with luminous syringe-style hands, the time is especially easy to read. You'll find this timepiece with a black or white dial and an automatic or manual movement. Prices for Partitio watches fall between 800 and 980 USD.
Timeless and Simple: Bauhaus-Style Watches
Stowa was one of the first brands to offer Bauhaus-style watches. Today, these timeless designs survive almost unaltered in the Antea Classic collection. These watches range from 35.5 to 41 mm in diameter and feature a choice of a small seconds dial or central second hand. The narrow, tempered blue hands contrast beautifully against the silvery-white dial. There are also versions with a black or rose gold dial. As with other Stowa models, you can choose if you prefer a manual or automatic caliber. Depending on the edition, these Bauhaus classics sell for 1,000 to 1,600 USD.
In 2015, Stowa commissioned former Apple designer Hartmut Esslinger to give the Antea a facelift. The result was the Antea Back to Bauhaus collection. Esslinger stayed true to the aesthetic of the original watch while making some notable changes. Instead of lines, he used dots to mark the minutes. He also changed the style of the numerals, opting for a font developed by Bauhaus instructor Herbert Bayer in the late 1920s and refined by Ed Benguiat and Victor Caruso in the 1970s.
In addition to models with a white or black dial, you'll also find versions in pastel blue, green, pink, or brown. Like the Antea Classic, the Back to Bauhaus comes in various sizes (from 35.5 to 39 mm), as well as with an automatic or manual caliber. These modern Bauhaus watches cost around 1,100 USD.
Modern Diving Watches with a Helium Escape Valve: The Seatime and Prodiver
By far the most modern watches in Stowa's catalog are the diving watches in the Seatime and Prodiver collections. They have contemporary designs, titanium cases, and professional features like a diving bezel, screw-down crown, and helium escape valve. Seatime models are water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft), while the Prodiver can dive down to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,291 ft).
These 42-mm automatic watches demand prices between 1,300 and 1,500 USD.
The History of Stowa
Walter Storz founded Stowa in Hornberg, Germany in 1927. He named the company using the first three letters of his last name and the first two of his first. In 1935, Storz relocated his company to Pforzheim, where they found great success crafting Bauhaus watches.
During World War II, Stowa shifted its focus to pilot's and navy watches and was one of five manufacturers making watches for the German military. After Pforzheim was all but destroyed by an Allied air raid near the end of the war, Storz moved his company once more, this time to the town of Rheinfelden near the Swiss border. There he produced anti-shock systems under the name RUFA (Rheinfeldener Uhrenfabrik, or Rheinfelden Watch Factory). Numerous brands would use these systems in their movements, including Durowe (Deutsche Uhrenrohwerke, a German watch movement manufacturer).
Werner Storz, the founder's son, joined the company in 1960 and took over as the executive officer after his father's passing in 1974. He led the company until 1996, when he sold the business and all its trademark rights to the businessman Jörg Schauer. By that time, Schauer had already taken control of Durowe. Schauer remains Stowa's CEO to this day.