A Mike Stuffler Watch Review
Watch Review by: Mike Stuffler, Hohen Neuendorf, Germany
( [email protected] )
Watch Brand: Stowa
Watch Model: Seatime (ETA 2824-2)
Serial No.: Watchbizz Limited Edition No. 73/75
Owned Since: February 2005
Retail Price: 590 Euro (incl. VAT 16%); Limited Edition: 490 Euro
Written: 27th March 2005
As most of you know I own a lot of mechanical watches, including diver´s and pilot´s watches (i.e.: Zeno, Ollech & Wajs, Fortis, Breitling, Rolex). Most of them are powered by the well known and trusty ETA 2824-2.
Since I saw the first drawings and pics on a German watch forum (www.watchbizz.de) the Seatime came onto my watch wish list. More or less consequently I tried to follow the steps of its development and participated in the discussion process. It was me to ask to print the old Stowa signature on the dial. Jörg Schauer decided to offer two logos, the old and the new one.
When I first saw the pre series watches at the Open Days at Schauer in 2004 I knew this watch is a "must have" for me.
(pics taken during the Open Days at Schauer, Engelsbrand 2004)
The order was placed at once.
I decided to go for a Seatime with black dial and applicated hour markers, black bezel and date indication.
After wearing the Stowa Seatime for some weeks I thought it would be nice to share my impressions in writing a small review on my Seatime No. 73.
Second reason for writing this review was based on my observation(s) that the Stowa watches earned more an more attention in the world of WIS and especially on the Official Schauer Forum on WatchUseek.
The Stowa building at Engelsbrand
Instead of telling my own version of the Stowa history I´ll stick to what you can read on the Stowa homepage.
All started with Walter Storz. In 1927 Walter Storz founded his own company, meanwhile his father continued running his watch factory at Hornberg/Kinzigtal.
In 1935 Walter Storz moved to Pforzheim and there he founded a watch manufacture. In 1938 he established his own factory building. End of WWII the building was completely destroyed and Walter Storz decided to move to Rheinfelden, close to the Swiss border, and there again set up the Stowa watch production (1951).
At the same time, the building in Pforzheim was reconstructed, and the production capacity of both factories expanded enormously. In the early 1960s, Werner Storz, the son of Walter, joined the company and continued to manage STOWA's business through 1996.
It must have been from 1960 to 1970 when the first Seatime was launched. I am happy to own two of these vintage Seatime watches with PUW (Pforzheimer Uhrenwerke) movements. Here´s one of them:
Stowa Seatime Green Bezel with automatic PUW 1561
Before his retirement Werner Storz was looking for a successor. He found one in Jörg Schauer from Engelsbrand, who continued to produce STOWA watches. Stowa watches are now only available online or directly at the Stowa factory.
Case, Bezel & Crown
The exhibition caseback is screwed in. The back is marked / laser engraved with "Stowa" - "Seatime" - "St.Steel 30 ATM" - "Automatic" -
"Made in Germany".
I decided to order my Stowa with a black bezel (aluminium inlay). The bezel can easily be removed and replaced by another bezel (red, blue, green, stainless steel). I think I am going to order an additional red bezel so I´ll get a second Seatime by just replacing the bezel.
Some variations of the series Seatime:
The bezel ratches in 1 minute intervals and is easy to handle in action. But - and this has to be improved - there´s no luminous dot on the triangle !
Dial and hands
The dial is as clean as can be expected from a diver´s watch. It appears matt black with applicated hour markers (double on 12).
The our markers and the hands are "filled" with luminous compound which is Luminova. A sufficient readability at night is provided (exept bezel!), but not made for "real night owls".
The crystal is a 3mm flat sapphire crystal.
The Seatime came with a black rubber strap and deployment buckle which I didn´t like that much. As a replacement I bought a black 22mm leather strap "chronissimo" (made by di-model) which imho fits perfect with the character of the Seatime.
According to Jörg Schauer a stainless steel bracelet will be available soon.
The Stowa Seatime is powered by a Swiss movement.
It is the ETA 2824-2 which is rugged and reliable and is a proven workhorse.
Diameter: 25,6 mm
Height: 4,6 mm
38 hour power reserve
Incabloc shock protection
Nivarox balance spring
The movement of the limited edition is finished (perlage, blued screws). The rotor comes with a fine decoration (stripes) , "Stowa" is engraved in gold. The rotor is mounted on ball bearings.
Timekeeping over the last 40 days was satisfying - average loose/gain -6/+4 sec/day belonging to the position of the crown (up/down/left/right).
Box and Manual
I did not purchased the Seatime because of the packaging. The watch came in a small aluminium box which some of you probably know from your Antea purchase.
Limited Edition Antea with ETA 2680 (hw)
The case seemed a little bit too small to store the watch properly but this was and is of minor interest to me.
Summarizing I`d say: Nothing really sensational though.
Price of the series Seatime is 590,-- Euro including 16% VAT. The LE retailed for 490,-- Euro.
Due to the European Community regulations the watch comes with a full 2 years warranty.
Summary / Conclusions
By any standards, the Seatime is a pretty well made watch. The movement is not the best available from ETA (the 4 main qualities are: chronometrè, top, elaboré, standard) but on the other hand not the cheapest and suits entirely this application. The care Jörg Schauer took during the manufacturing process is evident by the finish and overall impression. Regarding the price, I do believe that this watch is another rare example of a watch that would cost more if made by other brands. Regarding the price I`d say it´s still a bargain (compared i.e. with a Jacques Etoile "Atlantis"). The watch contains all of the criteria to maintain the quality and ideals that Jörg Schauer is known for ("We owe all progress to those who do not adapt").
Undoubtly the Seatime is an eye catcher and I truly hope we are going to see a lot more beaters from Stowa. According to Jörg Schauer there are more watches in the pipeline.
Moderator German Watches Forum on Watchuseek
All pics by courtesy of Stowa or made by Uvox and M.Stuffler