Even those of us whose knowledge of watches extends beyond Rolex, Omega, Tag-Heuer, Seiko and Casio may not necessarily have heard of Stowa. This German watch brand was established in 1927 by Walter Storz and remains independent to this day. Its name is derived from that of Storz – S-T-O(rz), W-A(lter).
Stowa have throughout their existence concentrated on reasonably-priced watches of good quality. Currently costs are kept down by selling almost exclusively on-line.
One of the most attractive watches in their current line-up is the Marine Original which, according to the Stowa website, is “inspired by the observation watches once used on navy ships”.
The watch houses a Swiss-made UNITAS 6498 17-jewel manual-wind movement, upgraded by Stowa with a screwed balance and a swan-neck regulator. The movement is attractively finished, if not to Patek standards, certainly to a level that belies the watch's price.
Originally designed for pocket watches, the UNITAS has been in production since the early 1950s and is sometimes cited as the finest pocket watch movement ever made. In recent years the trend towards larger wristwatches has given it a new lease on life, and modified versions are used in some very exclusive watch brands, including Omega and Panerai.
© Christopher Seddon 2008