Monday, March 28, 2011

Stowa Flieger Chronograph - Baselworld 2011

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
Mechanism:  automatic
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



Anonymous said...

Poliarising views? Definitely. I don't like it. Maybe old fashioned, but I like the plain fliegers, and find the minute counter a discordant note on the dial. Would it have been any more attractive for me with the "eaten" numbers? Strangely, it may have been, but I'm not certain. [AP]

Anonymous said...

I like as there is a lot to be said about taking a disciplined approach and demonstrating restraint. The watch industry seems desperate for differentiation resulting in the abandonment of the "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" test.

What I like about this:

1) Love that it doesn't have any print writing on the dial.

2) The historical roots of the design - clean, simple and most importantly legible

3) Balance is just right. Something that is dismissed when the technical geeks take over the design is the lost of balance. The balance for the entire piece makes this a real stunner. For example, I am not a fan of the onion crown but the overall balance of the size of the crown to the case is very attractive.

What I dislike:

1) Agree that the 30 second interval seems a little short but good call

2) Display back on a Valjoux is just a waste of time. I rather that they cover it up and pass on the savings to me, or made this as a monopusher flyback!

3) Wished the had kept the numerals on the subdial horizontal rather than tilt it.

More than my two cents!


Anonymous said...

I like it, the balance is good and it's nicely different from all the other same same flieger chronos out there

The Sydney Tarts said...

@anonymous (aka Felix) & Gaz : Weird. You and [o] like the balance, but I find it unbalanced.

Totally agree with you, Gaz, re: the numerals on the subdial, caseback, and the lack of text on the dial. Onion crown monopusher?