On 11th November 2013, the German watchmaker started taking orders for its Stowa Flieger Black Forest Edition 1. There will be more models in this new range, which is named after the Schwarzwald mountain range, known not only for its fascinating landscape but also for the famous “Deutsche Uhrenstrasse”: a 300-kilometers long route that includes numerous clock factories and other objects related to German watch- and clockmaking history.
The brand, which is often associated with “real” pilot’s watches, is really curt when it comes to describing the new model.
All they say on the Stowa Flieger Black Forest Edition 1 dedicated page is that it will be shipped in a black-coated stainless steel body, will sport a blacked-out hand-wound movement and will feature their new black-and-orange color scheme with orange-colored Superluminova covering the traditional diamond-shaped hour and minute hands, the second hand, as well as the bold Arabic numerals and the hour markers.
Judging by the look of the caliber, which is pictured on the Edition 1 product page, I can assume that this is a blacked-out version of the ETA 2801 ebauche: the old -and good- caliber that guys from Stowa often use in their hand-wound watches. Simple (it is built on just 17 jewels), inexpensive to keep in good working order and also pretty reliable, the mechanism looks like a good choice for a timekeeper, which is supposed to be affordable and dependable. Also, compared to timekeepers powered by Unitas 6497/6498 mechanisms, the one made by ETA sports a central seconds hand and, what’s more important, is a lot smaller in diameter allowing for a lot more compact cases: something that persons with smaller wrists will definitely appreciate.
The watch will be shipped on a black leather strap with four rivets (also black) and its total production will be limited to just 200 individually numbered pieces.
No info on pricing yet, but I hope that Stowa’s support will answer my email on Monday and I will be able to update this post.
UPDATE: Okay, I have just received their email with official specs. As I have expected, the Black Forest Edition 1 will be delivered in a compact body that measures only 40 millimeters in diameter and has a lug to lug size of 48.60 mm. Together with its slender profile of just over ten millimeters, the timekeeper is quite versatile: you can wear it with almost any type of cloth, even with some formal attire.
The movement is indeed the good old ETA 2801 and the timekeeper will be quite competitively priced at €820.
While the caliber doesn’t look like it was redecorated in any other way than blacking it out and putting the company’s logo on the quarter plate (Stowa often uses more advanced versions of the mechanism that feature vertical Geneve stripes-like guilloche motif, blued and polished screws, as well as has the gears decorated with sunray pattern), the tiny engine still looks very nice. With the way it is finished, it perfectly complements the black (or, rather, very dark grey) color of the body.
It surprised me a little that, being just one millimeter less in diameter than their beautiful Flieger Chrono, this new Flieger Black Forest Edition 1 not only looks more compact on a wrist but also appears to be more organic. It is one of those rare examples when (smaller) size indeed matters.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: Bell & Ross Vintage WW1-92 Heritage
Stowa Flieger Black Forest Edition 1 specification
Price: €820 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber ETA 2801, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: Blacked-out
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: Stainless steel, black-coated
Size: 40.00 mm
Case height: 10.20 mm
Lug width: 20.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective