This is my review of the Baumuster B, ETA 2801 handwinding movement, with case engraving on Old Style Brown strap with deployant. As I benefitted from all of the Stowa owners who have participated in this forum, I wanted to give back by providing as complete a review as possible. Hopefully other prospective Baumuster B owners will find this information helpful.
Please note that there are no pictures in this thread. If you want to see the pictures they can be found here...https://forums.watchuseek.com/f106/ba...ml#post6600592Background
I first discovered the B dial about two and a half years ago in the Glashuette Original Navigator. Since that retails for $7K+, I sought alternatives and soon discovered Stowa, which also offers the Marine Original. Since then, it has been a toss-up between these two as my first Stowa, but six months ago, I realized I needed a more casual style and the Baumuster B was the natural choice.
After choosing the style, the next decision was the brand. Many options, including a cheap Chinese homage as a test to see if the B dial would be a lifetime keeper, were considered and discarded, until the choice was narrowed down to Stowa and Laco’s closest comparative, the Paderborn.
While I discovered Stowa first, Laco’s case is more historically accurate, so it became the frontrunner. There’s a local AD where the Laco was observed in the metal and handled. This was fortunate because, while the Laco is a wonderful watch, it was evidently not going to be satisfying in the long term, exactly for the reasons it is more historically accurate.
Put simply, Stowa’s Baumuster B is more refined. The following will detail those refinements.Case
The brushed case is not flashy or unusual, neither of which would add any value to the piece. Instead, it is exactly as it should be, even, precise and without blemish.
Additionally, the lugs are curved, resulting in the 40mm case (48.6mm lug-to-lug) having a substantial presence on my round 6.75” wrist, without being too big. The ETA 2801 (handwinding) movement allows for a flatter caseback, so the height is 9.2mm, less than the 10.2mm listed on the Stowa site for the ETA 2824 (auto) movement. I like a watch with some heft, so the height is about perfect. The only drawback to the flat case is that more of it is in contact with my wrist. Not a criticism, just an observation.Crystal
Sapphire on both front and caseback. On both, only the inside is AR coated. It is important to me that there is no AR coating on the outside, since my concern is that “scratches” in the coating would develop, defeating the very purpose of the sapphire crystal. In terms of crystal, this is exactly what I looked for. Period.Movement
Already having an auto, I wanted to experience a handwinding watch, so I paid the extra 50 Euro (VAT inclusive) for the ETA 2801. This is, of course, a proven workhorse movement. While it is not particularly spectacular to look at, as compared to, say, virtually any of the watches coming out of the town of Glashuette, I find all mechanicals to have charm and whimsy. Specifically, Stowa orders their movements with the gold engraved Stowa (stylized “S” in my case), cotes de geneve stripes, and best of all, flame-blued screws. The handwinding has been pleasurable, and my future watch choices will be handwinding whenever the option is available.Dial
My favorite aspect of the watch. The dial is precisely as it should be. Clean and legible, but uniquely a B dial. What does that mean? The outer minute ring is marked from 5 to 55 with indices at each minute and a flieger symbol (I see it as an arrowhead) at 12 o’clock. There is an inner hour ring marked from 1 to 12 with dots to exactly locate the hour marker. This is the classic B dial.
One of the main reasons I was first attracted to Stowa’s B dial offering is that it is not cluttered with the brand name. It takes a commitment to the purity of the design and dare I say, courage, to forego the built-in advertisement of the brand name. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone give Stowa credit for this, but whether I’m the first or not, I’d like to thank them.Hands
My favorite not-expected aspect of the watch. What attention to detail! All three hands extend just to the respective ring. In other words, not too short or too long, just right. The counterweight on the second hand has the precise shape of the hour hand, and because it is black, when it passes over the hour hand, it creates an eclipse. Whimsical detail.
The absolute best part, though, are the flame-blued hour and minute hands. Without any reflection, they look black, but tilt the watch just a couple degrees and watch the hands change from black to deep navy to royal blue. All in reflective, metallic shades. Delightful. I find myself constantly looking at the hands. It’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever tire of their beauty.Lume
Second favorite not-expected aspect of the watch. All the hands and minute and hour markers are lumed, along with the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and flieger symbol. While the lume is not a torch, it lasts a long time on a decent charge, up to five hours, according to my unofficial observation.Crown
Opted for the onion crown, at no extra charge, and am very happy with it. Larger than a conventional crown and easier to grasp. The only thing I wish differently is that the Stowa logo was engraved on it.
Engraving: Opted for the historical “Fl 23883” engraving at extra 79 Euro (VAT inclusive). Coupled with the logo-less dial, the engraving helps to remind me that Stowa was one of the five manufacturers of the original flieger. Special, in my mind.
Strap: Opted for the old style strap in brown. The leather is good quality and thick
. It’s a tight fit through the keepers, which I expect to loosen as it gets broken in. Stowa asks the customer’s wrist size and makes the strap to fit. Mine is perfect with just the right amount of tail.
Really like the rivets, which are polished, not quite matching the case.
I also ordered the deployant at extra 35 Euro, for comfort. I would not recommend this on the old style strap. Because of the strap’s thickness, the deployant is very hard to close. For now, this is acceptable, because the thickness of the strap keeps it in place once the end is through the keepers. I find no fault with Stowa, since this was my not-common decision.Shortcomings
The one minor complaint I have is that Stowa does not offer the Flieger Original strap in 20mm, which is the lug width of my watch. I realize they can’t special order whatever I want and each customization costs them money, but I think the strap “completes” my flieger. I can get the Di-Modell Tornado, but that is offered in one size only and my research indicates it will be longer than I want.Accuracy and Power Reserve
Both the 2901 and 2924 movements are Elabore grade. I haven’t talked about the accuracy of the movement because I think that requires more observation over a couple of months to properly judge.
I can, however, report that I’ve tested the power reserve and it is 44+ hours, 10% higher than rated. Which interestingly leads to the following thought I would like to close with.Overall, I feel that Stowa’s Baumuster B, for the price, delivers much more than promised.