I often allude to the incredible value German watches offer. I’ve crowned them the king of “mid level” watches (unofficially $800-$2,000). This Stowa Marine is the epitome of this label. Simply stated, this piece offers an incredible value and quality I haven’t experienced in this sub $750 price range.
I normally don’t mention packaging in a review, unless it is outstandingly good or incredibly poor. However I wanted to make a note of it for a few reasons: First, it was different than I expected. Once upon a time, I purchased a Stowa Partitio, and it came in the famous and proprietary metal box that (as far as I thought) most Stowa watches include. This Marine, however, came in a wonderful wooden box. In my unboxing video, you can see the beautiful and, above all, tasteful packaging. This brings me to my second point. We’ve all experienced packaging that simply seems over the top (I’m looking at you Omega Speedy Pro packaging) and makes you question how much of your money is going towards the packaging versus the watch. The Marine’s packaging left me with the opposite impression. It was incredibly fitting to the general theme of the watch: Elegant.
The Stowa Marine was one of the first watches that ever caught my eye, when I started getting deeper into watch collecting. However, handling the (at the time) only available model (40mm) in person left me with a disappointment I’d become very familiar with in the coming years: my wrist was too small for this piece. I explored other alternative deck watches (Hamilton and Steinihart), but found even the smaller 39mm wore big on my wrist.
I’ve been a very big fan of the Urban Gentry and his videos. It was this channel and particularly this video that introduced me to this 36mm version of the watch. My long history of loving this watch bypassed my usual research ritual that occurs before any watch purchase. I instantly purchased it.
Note: I recommend the video above to anyone looking to learn about the history of deck watches. It is a fantastic video.
The Stowa Marine comes in a few variants. A buyer can choose from a 36mm or 40mm case size, date or no date, Arabic or Roman numbers on the dial, hand wound or automatic, and a small seconds complication. This is the Arabic, hand wound, 36mm, no date version.
The watch is:
36mm wide (44.6 lug to lug)
10.2 mm tall
18mm lug width
5ATM water resistance
Houses an ETA 2824-2 movement
Screwed exhibition back.
Why did I opt for Stowa versus Hamilton or Steinhart? Aside from the dimensions, the biggest sellers for me are the temperature blue hands.
There’s a certain beauty and quality to heated blue hands versus painted blue hands that is difficult to put in words. This difference comes alive on this dial and contrasts well with the overall serious and elegant design. Under certain light, the hands look almost black. But when the light shines at the right angle, the hands burst with blue.
The Case Back
The case back allows the wearer to peak into the heart of this watch. Though the 2824 movement isn’t the pinnacle of innovation in watch movements, it’s a workhorse movement that won’t let you down. Stowa has decorated this incredibly well, creating a perfect combination: Optimal performance with beautiful aesthetics.
On the Wrist
The watch all but disappears on the wrist. It’s small 36mm case and 10mm height feel extremely light, comfortable, and fits well under a cuff. It has become my go-to dress watch, beating out watches worth twice its price. Its versatility allows it to wear fantastic in a dressy environment, along with casual, every-day use. It’s a great “every day” watch.
At approximately $750, this piece punches well above its weight class. Its packaging is fantastic, Stowa’s customer service never disappoints, and the watch itself is a beauty. Stowa is quickly climbing the already-elite ranks of German watches.