Hello everyone in the land of Stowa!!! I'm very happy to announce the addition to my collection of an amazing Stowa Ikarus! I've written up a bit of a checklist review. All in good fun.
Please enjoy a few photos and my somewhat lengthy write up. I'm sure some of my thoughts are debatable and that's just fine. Happy Holidays and so very happy to add a Stowa to my humble collection!
A BEER to celebrate: sorry not German...but the watch sure is!!
Watch Make: Stowa
Model and year: Klassik Flieger Ikarus November 2016
Country of Manufacture: Made in Germany
Price: used $515.00 USD New: direct from Stowa: 571.43 EURO ($677.12 without shipping) 39.00 Euro to ship to USA.
Other pricing considerations or options: Blued steel hands: and additional 42.02 Euro, Top Grade ETA an additional 109.24 Euro
Brand History and market reputation or Company link: https://www.stowa.de/en/Flieger+Klassik+40+Ikarus.htm
Tool or watch category: Pilot Flieger
Box, papers, materials included and rating? Main box is a metal “pencil box” style case with latch. Inside it is branded with Stowa and its marketing slogan. Comes with small warranty booklet with model name and date of production handwritten on the paper. Watch sits on the left side mounted on a watch holder (not a pillow) outer box is very good, professionally printed, sturdy and overall the kit is very good.
Size diameter: 40mm
Wears (larger or smaller): wears slightly larger due to the absence of a traditional bezel that takes up room on the top surface. A very slight surround of the crystal creates a big watch face that has great wrist presence. For someone who doesn’t want to go larger than 40mm then you may want to go with a Flieger 36 but they don’t make an Ikarus in that size.
Thickness: 10.8mm and wears so sleek and slim! Will fit safely under most cuffs with ease.
Lug Width: 20mm
Stock Bracelet: Stowa branded leather strap with dual rivets on both 12 and 6 sides of the watch. Really outstanding traditional Flieger style watch strap. Buckle is branded, large and fits in the rear center of the wrist!
Strap changes easy or difficult? Easy as long as you have a good tool and some experience doing this.
Strap options? What works with it? With the bead blasted metallic gray dial I’d recommend going black leathers, NATO’s, or darker gray. Dark Navy Blue would be a great match. Rubber would make this one sporty just don’t feel the urge to go swim at 5 ATM it's not for your water sports! COULD totally be a dress watch with the right strap.
Best fashion application: Very casual all the way to black tie with the correct strap. Totally could be a daily watch.
Lug to Lug: 48.6mm fits safely across my 7” wrist and the lugs taper down very nicely feeding the strap directly down around your wrist. Excellent feeling and fitting watch!
Weight: 70 grams on leather strap. Very light on leather. Super light on wrist so long days provide comfort throughout
Movement, decorated, in-house: Swiss ETA 2824-2 TOP Grade (upgrade from basic 2824-2). Automatic and manual wind, hacking. Date Function. Highly decorated, blue screws. Really outstanding interior finishing at this price point or any price point for that matter.
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Shock Resistance: Unknown. Not advertised.
Anti-Magnetic: Unknown. Not advertised.
COSC Certified Chronometer: No. However a top grade ETA 2824-2 is Chronometer Grade? Since the movement is a Swiss ETA placed into a watch produced in Germany (or outside Switzerland) the watch cannot be labeled Swiss Chronometer? This info is at least second hand so I could be misinformed. Either way a top grade ETA 2824 running at -2 is a Chronometer in my book!
Running at currently: -2 seconds/day. COSC specs!
Service of the watch: Its a ETA 2824-2. Really a staple movement in the world of mechanical watches. Can be serviced by a qualified watchmaker anywhere. Stowa has in-house watchmakers to service their watches. A nice option for a small company but living in the USA the shipping cost, time and risk of international shipping would be something to consider. I’d do it locally with a trusted qualified professional.
Water Resistance: 5 ATM (50 meters) really this is a splash resistant watch. Not meant for prolonged exposure to water. So no swims, baths, showers etc.
Crown (function, appearance, fit/finish) crown guards? Not screw down, no guards. To manually wind just turn clockwise or towards the 12 o’clock marker. Works smooth, without very loud, audible noise or resistance. The crown is a beautifully crafted “onion” crown with very sharp lines and a small bead blasted circle in the center.
Lume: C3 SuperLuminova (green) on the arabic numerals, hour markers and hands. Lume is very strong after initial charge in the sun or using strong indoor lights. However, like many watches the charge does not last very long and fades after 10-20 minutes depending on length of exposure. As a lume junky I can never get enough of that strong glow. I wish it would glow super strong for HOURS not minutes. Oh well!
Hands, seconds hands material and size comments: Sword like hands are very large, made of black matte steel with lume inside of each. The minutes hand extends ALL the way to the edge of the dial. One of the most readable watches I’ve ever experienced. The hour hand is nice and large also, making contact with the arabic numeral denoting the hour of day. The real star of the show is the seconds hand….very long and seems to float right up on the sapphire crystal under surface. Almost as if its touching the chapter ring! My favorite seconds hand. Looks like a lightsaber with the black handle and the white (turns green in dark) saber!
Chapter Ring/Rehaut: Stainless steel, unmarked.
Value: Outstanding value. Particularly IF you can source one used. Even new, as long as it's a keeper what you get vs. what you pay is an incredible bargain. Of course, this is assuming that you can live buying a brand that is somewhat off the beaten path. If it's GOT to be a big boy brand or “luxury” then go elsewhere...but be prepared to pay MORE for that marketing, middle-man purchase structure and so on. Of note here specific to this watchmaker: they are a factory direct company. No dealer network and no gray market to speak of (except for used sales) this I believe will aid in preserving the value of your watch. If you want to sell secondhand. You are competing with less sources of acquisition.
Dial: Fine Matte, Glass Bead Blasted, SuperLuminova C3 on printed arabic numerals and hour indices. Printed black minute markers.
Dial markings: printed, not applied. Brand name is also printed, and small/understated. Made in Germany is located beneath the 6 o’clock dial marker in very small black print
Legibility and readability: Outstanding. Simple. Arabic numbers (except at 6 where the date discretely sits) very large hours, minutes and seconds hands. My favorite watch to see the time. Function first then form.
Index material: Printed SuperLuminova C3
Case material: Stainless Steel, brushed throughout
Caseback: Crystal Sapphire, Skelton. Affixed with a series of small well machined flat-head screws. Printed on the steel portion of the caseback: Stainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal, Waterproof 5 ATM, Made in Germany, Stowa. Since 1927, Flieger Automatic
Complications: three-handed watch, date function. Simple, right to the point.
Feel on the wrist: the watch is thin, light and its lug to lug allows it to mostly rest in the center of your wrist depending on strap adjustments. It will float towards the pinky side of your left wrist but then again so do most watches, especially heavier sports watches with more thickness to the case/movement. If you like slight/slim watches you will LOVE this. It's not so dainty or slight either. Just right.
Overall fit and finish: They’ve kept the case, bezel area, lugs, sides, and caseback simple and straightforward. The lines are sleek and clean, very well manufactured. It's not flashy, ornate or intricate. With luxury watches “the devil is in the details” and SOME of those things are not present. That said, for what you pay I think the fit and finish is a 10 out of 10. Phenomenal.
Luxury? On a Crocodile Hirsch strap or some other high end variant….you’ll get DAMN close. I’d wear this at a black tie event in a HEARTBEAT and not feel like my watch was lacking to my clothing/style. This is a HIGH GRADE mechanical watch. I’d put it into the budget luxury class of watches, punches way above it weight class and beats out some other brands that have a “bigger name” and most certainly a bigger price tag but cannot compete with all the of the great aspects of this piece.
Who is it for? Someone who wants to get into the world of automatic/mechanical watches but thinks it's crazy to spend over $1500 dollars for a wrist watch. This could be a man or woman’s only watch for life, no problem. You’d be better and richer for taking this road and you wouldn’t be missing out on much (this coming from a Rolex fanboy and owner.) It's also for a WIS with a diverse collection going for variety in brands, price points, watch types and a variety of dial colors. If you want a Pilot/Flieger but also don’t want it to look like everyone else Flieger the Ikarus is PERFECT! This is why I went for it!
Buy something else instead? What and why? I’d buy this over ANYTHING in its class or price range. Seriously.
Overrated? Underrated? Underrated by people who have to have big boy names with million dollar marketing budgets or watches that need hype or notoriety.
Favorite aspects? Large hands, dial color, Flieger style, watch brand heritage, very thin case, decorated movement with skeleton caseback, comfortable, crown, and versatility.
Shortcomings or things you would change? In a few words: no, not really. It's a Flieger and so any mods take you further away from the spirit of what the watch is. That said, its already got a metallic gray glass bead blasted dial so they’ve already put a spin on this piece. It could have an in-house movement but knowing what I know about that process, the cost, the R and D….its not worth it and would blast the cost into the stratosphere. WHY NOT use a reliable, high grade Swiss ETA? Why on earth this has become an affliction to some WIS is really beyond my comprehension. Now...if you are paying $2000 and you get a ETA? YES….there is where you can express outrage. And….it happens. And people buy those watches and would feel its superior to a Stowa with the same movement. A $2000 watch with an ETA is a terrible value proposition from where I’m sitting. You can disagree...but my dollars will never go to watch with that cost without something more to offer that is special, above and beyond.
Overall thoughts/Grade: It earns a very solid A. All things being considered for what it is, it cannot be better. If it were improved, the price would rise very quickly and then its a whole different ball game on how it is judged.