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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
stowa-Flieger-aviator-02.jpg

Received my Flieger Klassik 40 a few weeks ago and wanted to share some photos and comments. Absolutely beautiful pilot watch, outstanding execution as has come to be expected from Stowa. Mine is the hand cranker version, no date, with logo. As I already own the Marine Original Blue LE I thought another manual wind would make a suitable complement for these classic designs. Understanding that the preference seems to be the logo-free dial I prefer seeing the brand on the dial, and as it's presented in charcoal gray it is very unobtrusive and in reality doesn't read as bright as in this detail shot.

stowa-Flieger-details-03.jpg

The case design is crisp and clean with well textured and evenly applied brushing throughout. There is beauty in its simplicity, and at less than 11mm thick it is very comfortable on the wrist. Sitting proud of the case is the classic onion-shaped crown that is very easy to use for winding and time setting.

stowa-Flieger-details-01.jpg

The caseback is unique in that is totally flat (with the manual wind) and makes the watch look even more compact.

stowa-Flieger-details-02.jpg

This view makes it very easy to understand why I opted for the manual wind version Just beautiful finishing on the movement. It winds very smoothly, although I haven't checked the actual operating capacity. It runs faster than I would like (around +10spd) and given these are made to order in relatively small runs it would have been nice to have had a tighter adjustment. But this would be easily rectified by a local watchmaker.

While the wearability is excellent with this relatively thin 40mm case I will admit it took getting used to being an owner of primarily larger (42-44mm) watches. I actually thought the Klassik would have more presence owing to the black dial and narrow bezel, but because the Arabics are on an inner perimeter this serves to shrink the presentation a bit. This particularly evident when side-by-side with my MOBLE which, despite being only 1mm larger, looks much bigger as those big Arabics run the dial's outer perimeter. But the more I wear the Flieger Klassik the more I appreciate the size, but still would have preferred it in 41mm or 42mm (yes, I understand there is the 43mm Klassik Sport but that is a very different watch.) In its current form the Flieger Klassik 40 is timeless.

The highlight of the dial is of course the true heat-blued hands. I despise lacquered blue and can see them a mile away. Nothing compares to the tempered blue that presents perfectly even in tone, has a muted while still rich color, and can run the gamut from black to vivid blue. The sword shape is razor sharp and legibility is absolute.

stowa-Flieger-details-04.jpg

That said, an area where Stowa really needs to improve is their anti-reflective treatments. The sapphire crystals on both the Flieger Klassik and MOBLE are reflection magnets which actually impairs visibility of the dial. For the Klassik where the hands flash the most light so too do errant reflections.

The Flieger Klassik 40 ships on a traditional aviator-style riveted leather strap (your choice of black or light brown.) Definitely period appropriate, although it took some time for me to warm to it. It is very well constructed and of high quality, very soft, excellent hardware. Strangely the buckle is 19mm so my hope to repurpose it on other straps was dashed. As this is my only 20mm lug width watch I needed to start pretty much from scratch and have been acquiring other straps. Here's what I have so far...

RIOS1931 Vintage...

stowa-Flieger-leather-01.jpg


WatchGecko Old Chester...

stowa-Flieger-leather-02.jpg


Leather ZULU...

stowa-Flieger-ZULU-02.jpg


ToxicNATO's Shiznit Navy...

stowa-Flieger-NATO-01-2.jpg


ToxicNATO's Gray...

stowa-Flieger-NATO-01.jpg


I have some others en route, couple I haven't picture here yet. There are a couple of Haveston NATO's that I'm checking out having really liked how well they work on my MOBLE...

stowa-MOBLE-Haveston-01.jpg


An interesting comparison can be made to another great pilot from this era...the IWC Mark XVIII. On its face this might seem absurd as the Mark XVIII retails for almost 4x the Stowa. But there is arguably more in common between them, which underscores the insane value the Flieger Klassik 40 brings to the table.

History
IWC is unquestionably an upper tier luxury brand with extensive history and respect in the industry. But it is well known that both IWC and Stowa were among the five watch companies contracted by the German airforce to produce pilot watches to spec in WWII. Watch Guys are suckers for a back story and Stowa brings legitimate history to the table.

Case Design
Both the Klassik 40 and Mark XVIII share very similar case designs with traditional lines and the same 40mm diameter. I have tried the IWC and they sit on the wrist the same way. Likewise the quality of the brushing on both is at a very high level. Where the IWC trumps Stowa is the beautifully fine polished ribbon that runs the length of the case from lug-to-lug and around the bezel. Very sophisticated that ups the flexibility of wear. On the backside the IWC has a very well execute relief on a solid back compared to Stowa's exhibition window. This is a subjective preference, but the IWC takes the technical advantage for anti-magnetic shielding.

Dial
Almost identical dial designs which is no surprise given their shared heritage. Slightly more utilitarian typeface on the Stowa. The Stowa dial gets the win here for both clean presentation (no date window, minimal text) and the heat-blued hands are outstanding.

Movement
The Mark XVIII sports a tuned ETA 2892 under the hood if I recall. A fine, well-established movement but also something that can be found on much cheaper watches. The choice of auto for the Flieger Klassik is Top Grade and well finished so no slouch, although doubt it is set up for the same level of accuracy. And I prefer the manual wind ETA to both.

Overall Package, Fit & Finish
The IWC XVIII is an IWC. 'Nuff said. The Klassik 40 is cleanly executed in every respect although could benefit from better AR coating. Packaging is more utilitarian but that is reflected in the price. Really nothing that leaves me wanting.


The Klassik 40 is not a Mark XVIII nor does it strive to be nor does it need to be. What it does provide is a fantastic and legitimate pilot watch that has excellent wearability, fit and finish. Highly recommended for those looking to scratch a pilot itch.

stowa-Flieger-aviator-lume-01.jpg



ADDENDUM 02.25.2018
Movement Details

Providing some more information on the manual wind ETA 2804-2. My limited understanding of the lineage for this movement is that the 2804-2 is essentially the 2824-2 without the automatic rotor assembly. There is a date mechanism with the 2804-2 (2801-2 is without) but I presume that in the interest of reducing supply/manufacturing burden Stowa opted to source just the one regardless of dial choice (with or without date); the same manual movement caliber is listed for both versions. With the Flieger Klassik 40 the Top Grade 2824-2 is used in the auto version but I don't know if that also grade also translates to the manual 2804. The 2804 shares the same core specs as the 2824-2 with a 28,800bph (4Hz) rate along with hacking seconds.

As noted above Stowa does a very nice job finishing the movement. Below is what appears to the base 2804-2 (photo courtesy of the interwebs)...

eta_2804_base.jpg

In contrast the finished 2804-2 in the Klassik 40 (photo courtesy of Stowa)...

STOWA_Flieger_Werk_ETA_2804_2600_351px.jpg
The striping is crisp as is the engraved (and filled) Stowa logo.

I also measured the accuracy of my reference using the Hairspring iOS app. Given some care it does a reasonable job at least for this purpose. I tape the mic over the balance and cover the watch, letting the measurement run for a while to average some error and taken in multiple positions. Shakes out as follows...

IMG_4555AAA9C444-1.jpeg

That averages out to just shy of +8spd with a maximum deviation of +10.9spd and maximum positional variance of 7 seconds. Best performance (and thus resting position) is crown up with a very reasonable +3.9spd. This is taken with a full wind and will lose accuracy over time courtesy of physics and constant force. I don't have the motivation to check at different intervals but if I have a change of heart will update here. Overcoming constant force takes you into a dramatically different realm of watch. This is where an auto has an advantage to keep up a full wind during the course of wear.

Rated accuracy for this series is +/-12spd with maximum positional variance of 30 seconds for base/standard grade so I'm running well within those specs. The Top Grade 2824-2 tightens those tolerances to +/-4spd with maximum positional variance of 15 seconds. There is nothing on the Stowa site to indicate the grade is equivalent for both the manual and auto movements and given what I'm measuring reality agrees. If I were really concerned a quick trip to my local watchmaker would have this running within COSC specifications in multiple positions as it's a very standard and easily accessible movement.

I would recommend the manual wind version if you want a bit more historical caché and appreciate the beauty of a wide open movement (the upcharge is a nominal US$20). If you don't want to deal with having to wind yourself or want the Top Grade option go with the auto. Either way you're dealing with a tried and true movement that will be easily serviceable down the road.


ADDENDUM 02.25.2018
Dimensions

Measurements are included on the Stowa site but including them here for reference:

Case Diameter: 40mm (43.7mm including crown)
Lug Width: 20mm
Lug-to-Lug: 48.4mm
Thickness: 9.1mm (the website spec of 10.2mm must be for the automatic version with a thicker back to accommodate the rotor)

Weight is a trivial 69g/2.4oz on included aviator leather strap. In contrast, the Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Kara that I'm wearing as I type this comes in at 132g on rubber – almost twice the weight – despite the titanium case. Granted these are entirely different watches in every respect but the comparison is offered for perspective. The Flieger Klassik 40 pretty much disappears on your wrist.


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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Thanks for review and great pics, been thinking about this piece along with the Tourby. The 40mm size has me holding off for now, would prefer 41-42mm.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Thanks for review and great pics, been thinking about this piece along with the Tourby. The 40mm size has me holding off for now, would prefer 41-42mm.
If you have access to an IWC AD try the Mark XVIII. They fit the same. It definitely took an adjustment to 40mm but it is truly a nice size. I have plenty of larger watches so this adds need variety.
 

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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

If you have access to an IWC AD try the Mark XVIII. They fit the same. It definitely took an adjustment to 40mm but it is truly a nice size. I have plenty of larger watches so this adds need variety.
Thanks, good tip.
 

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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Great pictures and write-up! Thanks for posting this, and enjoy that beautiful Flieger Klassik. :)
 

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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Great pics--they make a familiar watch look new again--and great write-up. I've always preferred the old logo but in your shots can appreciate this one too ...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Thanks, good tip.
Another thing I have noticed is the color of the strap makes a big difference in the visual presence of the watch if you're balking at 40mm. A lighter strap blends into the skin and so there is more open area around the watch, making it look smaller. A darker, more contrasting strap reads with the watch as a whole and has more visual weight.
 

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Enjoyed the review. I have an “Old Chester” strap on the way because of your pics.

Mine consistently ends up 10 seconds faster than my G Shock every 24 hours no matter how it’s oriented when I put it down. That’s plenty good enough for me. I went no logo or date because it seems pretty rare you can do that with a watch. Having options like that was a big factor for me in choosing the Stowa over the Oris Pro Pilot. I still might get the Oris too, though.

So what camera and lens do you use for the pics? I use an RX100 mk2. I have a D7200 / 18-140mm but haven’t used it for any watch shots.
 

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... Oris Pro Pilot. I still might get the Oris too, though.

So what camera and lens do you use for the pics? I use an RX100 mk2. I have a D7200 / 18-140mm but haven’t used it for any watch shots.
Love, love, love the Oris ProPilot series. I still dabble with the idea of getting the new Worldtimer at some point.

As for the camera the difference is fidelity and optics. If you can frame the way you want with that 18–140 you’re good. But the reality is any one of these shots could just as easily have been taken with an iPhone. I use a Fuji XT-1 with 35mm f/1.8 prime along with an extension tube for the closeups. It’s a great shooter’s camera and excellent size for how I shoot.
 

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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

If you have access to an IWC AD try the Mark XVIII. They fit the same. It definitely took an adjustment to 40mm but it is truly a nice size. I have plenty of larger watches so this adds need variety.
Doesn't Mark XVIII have longer lugs, hence wear bigger than Flieger Klassik?
 

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Mesmerizing pics and great review of a classic Flieger.

Thanks for taking the time to post this and congrats on your new Stowa.
 

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Re: Stowa Flieger Klassik 40 Photos & Commentary

Doesn't Mark XVIII have longer lugs, hence wear bigger than Flieger Klassik?
Correct, a quick search shows the L2L for the Mark XVIII at 50mm vs. 48.4mm on the Klassik 40. But to my eye the Mark XVIII lugs swoop down pretty dramatically. I don't have my own profile shot of the Stowa but here's a quick comparison (photos courtesy of the web)...

IMG_5472.jpg
[Credit: The Watch Post]

iw327001-side.jpg
[Credit: Prestige Time]

So about 3/4mm difference each side with nicely curved lugs, I didn't notice any real difference and both are still very compact. Again, I don't want to position the Stowa as a "poor man's Mark XVIII" but rather for context and reference. I figure most people interested in the Flieger Klassik 40 probably have at least a passing appreciation of the Mark and likely access to an AD where they can take a closer look. Unless you're making a trip to the Black Forest you won't have the same opportunity with a Stowa. ;)
 

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Mine consistently ends up 10 seconds faster than my G Shock every 24 hours no matter how it’s oriented when I put it down. That’s plenty good enough for me. I went no logo or date because it seems pretty rare you can do that with a watch. Having options like that was a big factor for me in choosing the Stowa over the Oris Pro Pilot.
I used to be strongly in favor of sterile dial Stowa fliegers, but have recently come to prefer the logo dial. In fact, I even sold my no logo/no date version at a slight loss and purchased one with logo/no date. As OP mentioned, the "Stowa" marking is very unobtrusive and tastefully done. Perhaps the fact that I have an Archimede (blue) clean dial flieger influences me in a way, in that it scratches the sterile flieger "itch" if you will, but still, I like the small something that the Stowa logo adds to the dial. I also like the very tiny "Made in Germany" printed at the bottom of the dial. Interestingly, stuffler,mike recently posted pictures of a Stowa flieger with no logo, but with the "Made in Germany" markings. I wish this particular dial combination was still available, as it's a nice balance between completely sterile, and yet still with that little bit of "something."

The old Stowa logo, though... I wish THAT was still available.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I also like the very tiny "Made in Germany" printed at the bottom of the dial. Interestingly, stuffler,mike recently posted pictures of a Stowa flieger with no logo, but with the "Made in Germany" markings. I wish this particular dial combination was still available, as it's a nice balance between completely sterile, and yet still with that little bit of "something."

The old Stowa logo, though... I wish THAT was still available.
I actually didn’t realize the sterile dial did away with the Made in Germany reference as well; that alone would have swayed me back to the logo. I seem to be among the minority who prefer the new logo.
 

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Fantastic review & photos, the Stowa is a fine looking watch :-!

While the wearability is excellent with this relatively thin 40mm case I will admit it took getting used to being an owner of primarily larger (42-44mm) watches. I actually thought the Klassik would have more presence owing to the black dial and narrow bezel, but because the Arabics are on an inner perimeter this serves to shrink the presentation a bit. This particularly evident when side-by-side with my MOBLE which, despite being only 1mm larger, looks much bigger as those big Arabics run the dial's outer perimeter. But the more I wear the Flieger Klassik the more I appreciate the size, but still would have preferred it in 41mm or 42mm (yes, I understand there is the 43mm Klassik Sport but that is a very different watch.) In its current form the Flieger Klassik 40 is timeless.
I have been considering a Flieger Klassik for some time but this is the bit that worries me. My sweet spot for watches is usually 40-42mm but I have a now discontinued Alpina Startimer in 40mm that has always looked too small on my wrist for this style of watch. Before that I had a Tourby 42mm that looked good but the thickness bugged me - it was well over 13mm with the domed sapphire.


I think I need to do some more thinking.
 

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...I have a now discontinued Alpina Startimer in 40mm that has always looked too small on my wrist for this style of watch. Before that I had a Tourby 42mm that looked good but the thickness bugged me - it was well over 13mm with the domed sapphire.
You're definitely in a tough position. Immediately I thought to suggest that the Stowa may not be right; you have worn and know 40mm in this style and I doubt your perception would change. However, what are you more sensitive to? Diameter or thickness? At 10mm +/- (depending on movement) the Stowa is wonderfully thin. If it were 42mm it would probably need to thicken up a bit just for proportion. In its current form the Stowa really hugs the wrist which is nice. And I mentioned it earlier but the tone of the strap really makes a difference, to my eyes at least, for how the watch presents. Feels larger with a darker strap.

If the thickness/thinness were maintained to no more than 11-12mm I still think I would prefer a 42mm case. But 40mm is still broadly regarded as an eminently wearable size and I already have too many larger watches so I'm comfortable with this being a bit more modest.
 
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