At the very beginning, when I was just getting to know the world of watches, I was looking at different models and I did not see too much difference between different models, which are colloquially called pilots. With time, however, going deeper into this infinite number of models (seriously, virtually every watch manufacturer has at least a few aviation-style models, there are thousands of them), watch design, I started to notice the differences, I also got to know the genesis of this style. I have already written a little about it while reviewing Laco Dortmund Erbstuck-> https://2gwatchblog.com/pl/laco-dortmund-erbstuck-recenzja/
This style has always attracted me; from the very beginning, I liked such austere watches, referring to, or even being literally vintage, especially if they were related to militaria.
When I accidentally came across the photos of Stowa Flieger Bronze on the Internet, I thought that of all the watches with a bronze case, this one is for some reason unique, as if the quality of this watch literally came out of the glass and hit the person looking at it in the eyes. It seemed to have something that no other watch with a bronze case has, although I couldn’t quite tell what it was.
I am now sitting in front of the computer, wearing this watch on my left wrist, and writing a review of it, I wonder why I bought it so late?
I must admit that I was a bit surprised by the size of the package in which the watch arrived. I’ve seen bigger and smaller boxes before, but Stowa seems to have broken a record in this respect.
So the actual watch case is in a wide but shallow white cardboard box with orange patterns, which is actually the manufacturer’s logo.
Inside the cardboard box we find a photo of Jörg Schauer with thanks for the purchase.
On the right side there is a special compartment for the purchase invoice and an advertising leaflet, on the left side there is the appropriate case with the watch.
In my case, the box is metal, while I was buying a used watch that was originally bought in June 2020. As far as I know, the current boxes are made of some eco-friendly wood material.
In a metal box there is a watch and a handwritten card with the model and the date of sale. The manufacturer made sure that every buyer feels special, and the first impression after buying the watch was the best.
The case of my Stowa is 40mm wide (a 36mm version is also available), the length from lug to lug is 48.6mm and the thickness is only 9mm. Stowa allows you to choose the movement that will drive the watch, at the same time varying the thickness of the case depending on the selected variant. And so, if we choose a manual winding movement, the case is 9mm thick, and in the case of automatic movement is 10mm, both values are amazing. However, in the case of a manual mechanism, the thickness of only 9 millimeters is simply outstanding. This is probably the thinnest bronze watch I know. The proportions of this case are almost perfect – it is slim, the lugs have the right length and are properly folded. It’s a simple structure but worked out to perfection; simply pure classic at its best. Unfortunately, for some reason it does not fit well on my wrist, this is a problem that affects me with most watches with long lugs when I wear them on a strap – they slide to the top edge of the wrist by themselves, which doesn’t look nice.
The case is made of bronze and has some sort of coating to prevent the bronze from patinating. The watch from the manufacturer comes in exactly the same as my one and a half year old watch – with a slight patina that gives it a nice brown color. This guarantees that the watch will not have an ugly patina, for some it will be a plus for others a minus. For me, this is a big plus because the case looks slightly rustic, but at the same time it is very aesthetic.
The cuts are perfect, the entire case is brushed, the cuts are very delicate, it almost look like sandblasting.
Crown in the style of the so-called The “onion crown” adheres perfectly to the case, leaving no space between them a millimeter. Of course, due to its size, it is easy to pull off and handle. However, I noticed a slight slack that I feel when setting the time. It surprised me a bit, because I hardly ever come across such a problem, even in the case of cheaper watches. On the other hand, I don’t remember the last time I had a watch with this movementand how the crown behaved there. Perhaps this is the fault of this movement. The crown is also made of bronze to maintain an austere style, has no manufacturer’s mark and looks great when combined with the case.
The Stowa Pilot Bronze is 50M water resistant. In my opinion, this is a sufficient value. Due to the fact that the watch is worn on a leather strap, I will rather not come close to water with the watch, and to rain or splashes when washing my hands, such water resistance is enough. If the thickness of the case was to increase by increasing the water resistance, I prefer the 50M and the sensational 9 millimeters.
The difference in the thickness of the version with a manual and automatic movement does not result from the use of different cases – they are the same cases, but the watches differ in the case backs. The case back in my version has been designed in such a way as to be as thin as possible and you can see it at first glance. Instead of a screw-on one (the thread is always an additional thickness), here we have a case back screwed on with 6 screws, located on its edges. The caseback itself is made of thin stainless steel, in the middle it has a glass cutout, through which you can observe a rather beautiful mechanism. As standard, information about the watch has been engraved on the edges of the caseback.
This was the first time I had contact with such a case back. I can’t even put words on it, but there is something strange about such a thin flat case back. No watch I have ever come into contact with had a case back like this, and at first it felt as if something was wrong with it. However, the unusual design of the caseback was not a mistake, but a well-thought-out concept, which confirms the extraordinary attention to detail with which Stowa creates the designs of its cases.
As befits a classic pilot, the dial of the Stowa Flieger Bronze model has a very simple design. Does it mean it’s boring? Not at all.
The dial is of course black, with a delicate, porous texture. Indexes are vertical lines, bold and elongated. Every full hour at each hour index, there is a digit corresponding to a given hour closer to the center of the dial and a triangle with 2 dots on the 12 o’clock index.
It is a design that practically reflects the 1: 1 dial design of the real B-Uhrs that Stowa produced for the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. What distinguishes this watch, and gives the aforementioned sense of quality, is the perfect match of the indices color to the color of the case. Perhaps for this reason Stowa applied a special coating on the case, so as not to spoil the perfect harmony of the dial and case with the ugly color of the patina. This is the first, anyway one of the factors that make this watch unique.
The second are hands that have been thermally dyed blue, perfectly polished, sufficiently long, with a lume of the same color as the indices. I must also mention that the hands are a model of perfection for me, on their surface we will not find any unevenness, no burr, anything that even slightly disturbed the smoothness of the surface and the way it reflects light. The hands and a slightly convex sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective inner coating give us a WOW effect from a certain angle, which is hard to describe, but just look at the pictures to know what I mean.
The luma used on the indices and hands is Old Radium. It glows green – very bright and long. We can easily read the time on the watch until the morning. I would say that with the amount of luma used in this watch, it couldn’t have been done better.
Currently, the Stowa Flieger Bronze, in the case of the version with a manual winding movements, due to the limited availability of the ETA movements, is equipped with the Sellita SW215-1. My copy, because it was bought in 2020, was still equipped with the Swiss Eta 2804-2 movement in the Elabore version. It is a 17-jevels bearing movement, working with a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, or 8 beats per second. The movement is only 3.35mm thick, and thanks to its construction, the total thickness of the case is only 9mm. ETA 2804-2 is wound only by hand, and the full tension is enough for at least 42 hours of operation. My copy works with a deviation of about + 9s / day, which is a value higher than I expected from the Stowa watch, but it is almost 2 years old and I don’t know what happened with the watch before, so I cannot judge it on this basis.
The movement itself can be viewed through the glass case back and in this case it is definitely something to look at. The movement is beautifully decorated with thermally colored screws, Geneva stripes on the bridge, or even embossed and gilded manufacturer’s logo. I saw photos of the case back of the 36mm version and there, due to the fact that the case back is also made of bronze, it looks even more effective.
The strap with which the manufacturer supplies the watch is, to put it mildly, ill-considered. The strap is made of a thick piece of natural leather, it looks nice, but it is too thick for a 9mm thick watch case. It is also too stiff, which makes it uncomfortable, but most of all it is too short! With my 18cm wrist, I would have to wear it on the penultimate hole, in the summer, when my wrist swells, in order to wear it comfortably, I would have to fasten it with the last hole, so in practice the strap is not usable for me and I had to mount a different one on the watch. Stylistically, the strap fits this watch perfectly and I bought a practically identical strap for it, only thinner, softer and longer.
The 20mm strap tapers to 18mm at the buckle. The buckle itself is steel, solid and has the Stowa logo engraved on it. The set with the watch also included an additional, original Stowa buckle, which was made of bronze.
The simplicity of design refined to perfection and workmanship at the highest level make the watch look great. Of all the bronze watches I have had so far, this one seems to be the most consistent in all respects and this is probably my first watch to which, apart from the strap, I have no comments. As I definitely prefer smaller watches lately, I am considering selling the 40mm version to purchase the same model of the 36mm version. I would love to see how it will fit my hand.
Finally, I understood why Stowa watches sell so well and have a wide range of loyal customers. The company continues its almost 100-year tradition, relying on several extremely refined historical models and sensational quality of workmanship.
The new Stowa Flieger Bronze, regardless of the size version, costs 1290 Euro. A used copy can be purchased for around 1000 Euro, and in my opinion the watch is worth both those values.