Now for something more affordable and less well known. In fact, I'm a little selfish about Stowa. To me, it's like one of the best kept secrets of the watch industry. They have history, great designs, great cases powered by reliable and proven ETA movements. They produced a gem of a chronograph last year, and this year is no different.
This year's Flieger Chronograph
The release this year has apparently polarized opinions, but I like it. A lot. I think it's a great take on the pilot chronograph, and they've done something not done before. The chronograph has been pared back to the basics, and anything you don't really need is deleted. So what you're left with is 2 hands for the time, and 2 hands for the chronograph. The minute counter at the 3:00 position only records elapsed time to 30 minutes, which to most people is more than enough. For me? Not quite as I use the chronograph to time parking, but that's not a deal breaker. I also quite like that fact that, since there's no space for the numerals at 2, 3 and 4, they deleted them completely, rather than having partially "eaten".
For me it is a very balanced looking watch, but unfortunately, the reduction of a few hands and date wheel did not reduce the overall height of the watch. It is still quite tall at around 14mm. This is one of the downsides of using a Valjoux 7753 movement as it's a very tall movement.
Having said that, Stowa represents one of the best value for money brands. Considering what you get, (Brilliant German case, high grade reliable ETA movement, modified to suit their needs) it's a bargain. Their chronograph is priced from 1650 Euro, and that includes the relatively high VAT.
I am a big fan of pilot watches and I'll most certainly be adding this one to the list. However, there is another Stowa further up, and that's the chronograph they released last year - Clean, simple and elegant. Reminds me of the IWC Portuguese, at a fraction of the price...
Following are the specs for the Flieger Chronograph (Data taken from the Stowa Website) :
Diameter: 41.00 mm
Height: 14.70 mm
Strap width: 22 mm
Lug-to-Lug size: 50.20 mm
Waterproof: up to 5 ATM
Case: Stainless steel, fine matt, grinded by hand
Dial: black matt, white printed, Superluminova C3
Crystals: Front sapphire crystal domed and sapphire display case back
Hands: Temperature-blued steel, Superluminova C3
Strap: Leather strap or metal bracelet
Crown: Onion Crown
Caliber: Valjoux 7753
Half vibrations: 28.000 A/H
Function: hour, minutes, 30 minute recorder (stop function)
Power Reserve: approximately 40 hours
Number of jewels: 25 synthetic rubies
Finish: Geneve Stripes finish, blued screws, golden STOWA engraving