The German watchmaker has just started taking orders for its new Stowa Seatime Black Forest Edition 1 automatic diving wristwatch. Offered at a relatively moderate price of just €1390 (including VAT), the new timekeeper looks like a wise choice for a person looking for a nice diving companion, but not willing to pay premium price for an Omega Seamaster or a Rolex Submariner. Reserved, but also quite handsome, this is so far one of the most attractive divers that money can buy.
While Stowa is mostly associated with their Flieger family of pilot’s watches, as well as Bauhaus-style Antea collection, they also make very nice diving timekeepers.
Very technical in their design, the divers feature that famous German no-nonsense look that clearly shows that the brand focuses its efforts on functionality and legibility. I can’t say that their watches are one hundred percent original: there are lots of minor borrowings from and brief nods to legendary timekeepers of the past, but, unlike many other timepieces designed with similar approach, their instruments in fact look very organic and pure.
Perhaps, the reason is that Stowa hires the best industrial designers available. Well, may be some of them are beyond their best days, but they still deliver superb products.
Take for example the DYNADOTS bezel scale that Stowa is so proud of. It was originally created by a certain Hartmut Esslinger: the guy responsible for the classic Sony Trinitron series and the legendary Apple Macintosh computer that actually started the home PC revolution. Consequently transformed by Jörg Schauer for this Seatime Black Forest Edition 1, the scale is supposed to make time measurement more intuitive: as the minute hand travels across the diving scale, the luminous dots on the black aluminum bezel inlay grow in their diameter as you spend more and more time under water.
Well, perhaps some would prefer the dots to change their size in an exactly opposite way, but I find the way they actually are more, well, optimistic.
For this limited edition model the German brand decided to use the good old ETA 2836 automatic movement: the same time-proven mechanism that powers such beauties as Oris Maldives Limited Edition 300M Diver (Ref. 643 7654 7185 RS / MB) and the older TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500M Calibre 5.
Delivered in so called “top finish”, the mechanism features an oscillating weight, which is nicely decorated with vertical Geneva stripes and gold corporate logo. Pity, but the rest of the caliber features pretty basic perlage, although, for a timekeeper, which is priced at below €1200 (VAT not included), this is still very nice finish.
According to the German watchmaker, the first 50 out of 200 pieces are already assembled and ready to ship “before Christmas” (although, if you live in North America, you shouldn’t stretch you luck and order sooner than later before post offices all over the world are over their heads with parcels of different size and price), while the second lot of 100 pieces will arrive to their owners in January 2015.
If money is not an issue, I say go for it: it is a wonderful watch.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
STOWA Seatime Black Forest Edition 1 watch specification
Price: €1390 (including VAT)
Movement: Automatic, ETA 2836, top finish, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: Rhodium coated, blued screws, golden STOWA engraving
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: Matches case, aluminum ring inlay
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Barrel
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Lug width: 22 mm
Dial: Matte black
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous (Superluminova C3)
Hands: Luminous, black and green
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Leather or rubber strap
Case back: Sapphire