Or, my first watch and what I got versus what I expected to get
It’s not like the Stowa Marine Original is a new watch around these parts, but reading about the watch and owning it are two different things, so I thought I’d write a review of the MO from the perspective of someone who had never seen the piece in the flesh and bought one after studying it obsessively on WUS for a year. Now, don't get me wrong. The watch was everything I had hoped it would be. I love it. But it was a bit different than I imagined it would be from photos.
I placed my order Dec. 6th, asking for an MO, white dial, matte finish with my own little request, an onion crown. The watch arrived the final week in March. I waited until I had the house to myself, cleared off a table and opened the FedEx package. Right off the bat I was shocked by how small the metal Stowa box was. Somehow, after all the fuss and bother I had put into selecting this object, I expected it to be much, much bigger.
Then I opened the box and there was my watch. I was immediately struck by the dial. I was not aware that at some point Stowa had changed to a glossier dial. And frankly in all the photos I had seen, including on the Stowa site, the MO dial appeared to have a kind of matte finish with a circular texturing in the small second-hand dial. But the face of my watch was glossy and crisp like a newly Zamboni’d sheet of ice, with an almost ceramic appearance. Photos do not convey the jewel-like beauty of this dial.
SEE FIRST ILLUSTRATION.
The Arabic numerals and second markers were sharp and dark black. I knew they were printed, but the quality of the printing was such that the numbers actually stood up off the sheen of the glossy dial like applied numerals. The small second dial was a bit lower than the main dial, but did not have the concentric circle texture that I expected. Instead it was of the same glossy texture as the rest of the dial. As with the dial, the fact is that photography cannot convey the crisp beauty of these numbers.
Then, there was the “Made in Germany” mark at the bottom of the dial. I was shocked by just how tiny it was, infinitesimal; almost impossible to read. For something that has caused so much discussion on WUS, this was a feature that hardly made an impression one way or the other. It looks big in photos, but in person you more or less forget it is there.
The case was more or less what I suspected it would be from photos, thick and masculine without being chunky or overwhelming. I was surprised to see, however, that the number of the watch in production was etched into the back and that I was fortunate enough to get a nice round number 2065. I was extremely pleased with the onion crown I had asked for. It made the watch for me.
SEE SECOND ILLUSTRATION
Interestingly, the movement held no surprises for me. I was prepared for it to be spectacular and it was. Nicer than the photos suggest to be sure, but in a way that I expected. I had the standard Stowa black leather strap with white stitching. I loved it and thought it was exactly the right look for the watch. It did, however, irritate me a bit. The second loop of the strap (I know there is a word for this, but I can’t remember it, forgive me) was stitched together in such a way that it was hard and sharp against my skin and I had to turn it around. You can now see where the loop is put together if you stare at the strap when it’s on my wrist, but at least it isn’t scratching me.
I’ve now had the watch for about two months and I have enjoyed every minute of it. The watch is a beauty and I wouldn’t trade it for any watch in the world. It wears well with a suit and with shorts and a polo shirt. It runs on time like Mussolini’s trains and is in every way a superior object. I hope to own it for the rest of my life.