I was at first reluctant to order this Stowa Airman since it is "only" 40mm in diameter and I prefer watches in the 42mm+ size category. However, after asking around and determining that the actual dial size is in excess of 30mm I decided it would "wear" bigger than its 40mm size so I ordered one from Stowa after a few nice email responses from Jorg and Regine Schauer to questions I had asked.
The watch arrived in an amazing 2 days via fedex from Germany and I was thrilled at the prompt service.
Here is my review in ten parts.
The case has a very evenly applied brushed finish on all surfaces. The attention to detail is obvious and renders the case very attractive. The case is manufactured by Fricker for Stowa (my understanding) and measures exactly 40mm in diameter without the crown and 10mm thick from the caseback to the center of the lightly domed crystal.
The caseback is held in place by 6 screws which is a nice departure from the traditional screw-back design seen on many watches. It is engraved with the following around the perimiter:
Stowa...... Made in Germany...... Flieger....5 ATM.....Automatic......Stainless Steel
It has an exhibition window made of mineral crystal which is the exact diameter of the movement.
The lugs are fairly short and downward curving which makes the watch suitable for those with smaller wrists.
The overall ase design is appealing and purpose built. It's what you'd expect from Stowa.
Case Score: 9/10
The crystal is sapphire and measures 35mm in diameter. It is very slightly domed and there is no distortion when viewing the watch at angles.
The crown is very nicely knurled making for easy gripping. It is 6.8mm in diameter and about 4mm wide. It has the Stowa logo engraved on its face. I would have preferred an "onion" style crown on the watch but I'm very happy with this one.
Crystal/Crown Score: 9/10
The dial and hands on the Airman are excellent. The dial is matte black and features numerals at 1-11 and a luminous triangle with two dots beneath the hash mark at 12. Stowa paid great attention to detail and as a result all the hour markers and numerals are fully coated with superluminova. The result is a nice glow!
The hands are lovely sword-style hands and they are richly blued giving a very pleasing appearance. In addition the portion of the sweep seconds hand on the "swing" side is fully coated with luminous material.
The dial is a full 33mm in diameter and the portion within the outer track is 32.5mm in diameter making it "wear" larger than its 40mm overall size.
At the bottom of the dial "Made in Germany" is printed in white script.
Overall the dial and hands are first rate!
Dial/Hands Score: 10/10
The strap on this watch is a wonderfully grained leather with matching stitch. It has no taper which is what I prefer in a Pilot's style watch. The reverse is stamped "Stowa" and "Seit 1927" (since 1927).
The buckle is marked "Stowa" and has the Stowa logo. It is nicely brushed in finish to match the case. Overall nothing extravagant but perfectly suited to the watch.
Strap/Buckle Score: 9/10
This watch uses the ubiquitous ETA 2924-2 movement. I opted for the blued screws and they add a nice complement.
The movement has the Stowa name in gold on the rotor. A simple workhorse movement but nicely presented.
Movement Score: 8/10
I have only had the watch for 8 hours so I can't comment on accuracy except to say that it appears to have neither gained nor lost a second in that time. Will call it a 9 for now and I'll update later. I'm sure the timekeeping will be good.
Accuracy Score: 9/10
The watch wears very nicely and the lug ends don't bite at all.
Comfort Score: 10/10
The watch arrived in a nondescript thin white cardboard outer box. Inside was a nice aluminum box with a hasp closure. There is room for the watch on a small cuff, the warranty papers, and the leatherette Stowa carrying bag.
Packaging/Manual Score: 8/10
This is where the watch really comes through. At $630 delivered to the US I can't think of a comparable watch out there. The styling, quality and price make for an unbeatable package in a Fleiger type watch.
Value Score: 10/10
The watch is very appealing for a number of reasons. Fit and finish, attention to detail, historical connection, etc. It is very legible and there aren't a lot of frills but it certainly stands alone in its class for what you get.
TOTAL SCORE: 82/90