*** Some pictures are borrowed from STOWA
The Stowa Flieger T01 TESTAF came to fruition last year when Jörg Schauer announced that he would participated the scientific tests designed and implemented by the FH Aachen with a brand new pilot watch. The test, if passed would grant the watch company's the certification of passing a series of vigorous testing procedures that would challenge a watch's technical capabilities and limitations. The test is TESTAF, as known as the Technical Standards of Pilot Watches. Pilot watches used in the aviation industry are required to fulfill a number of requirements such as readability, operability, and as well ability to resist shock and vibration, and pressure.
As indicated by Stowa on their official online shop, those 4 criteria are:
We specially focus our attention to the design and readability of the watch. For example the contrast of the dial marking and hands to the background of the dial. The brightness adaption between marking and background has to be under standard conditions at least 14:1. A fast and clear readability exact to the second resp. minute has to be achieved. The clear orientation of the dial in the dark has to be assured by a convenient design of the illuminating elements.
To assure a tactile feedback the swivel which is turnable in both directions has to have a noticeable minute catch.
The function of the operating elements has to be ensured over the complete temperature range (minus 15 upo to plus 55 degrees Celcius). The operability of the watch and the operating elements also has to be reliable ensured when wearing special gloves which are used in the air traffic.
Due to the frequent pressure gradients and the partially extreme situations during the flight a watch certificated by TESTAF has to pass special pressure tests. For example a pressure difference of 0,261 bar has to run at least 2000 times to simulate a cycle change of the ambient pressure of 1.013 bar up to 0,752 bar to 1013 bar. With this a modification of pressure is simulated which is adequate to ca. 2000 starts and landings of an assumed height. This number results of the assumed starts and landings of a pilot within the service interval of a watch (ca. every 4-5 years). Furthermore our model is up to 200 mtr. water proof.
Shock and vibration resistance
The shock- and vibration tests are very sophisticated. Each test for itself is a challenge. The shock resistance is tested according to DIN 8308/ISO1413 which is equivalent to a fall from one meter height on the ground. After this fall the watch still has to run in the required tolerance. No part of the watch may cease its function. This is similar to the vibration test which toughly tests the watch by varying frequencies between 2 Hz and 10 Hz as well as 30 Hz and 60 Hz and an amplitude of 0,762*-0,127mm. Also after this vibration test all functions of the watch have to be guaranteed, too.
The TO1 stands for Technical Optimized, which this watch is designed to withstand the technical challenges and regulation in the aviation industry. On September 2013, Stowa successfully obtained their TESTAF certification. The new Flieger T01 TESTAF is a modernized flieger with advanced technologies and modern appearance.
The Packaging Presentation:
All Stowa comes with the standard aluminium box. The Stowa watch travelling bag is also a well-known standard equipment. Included are also the TESTAF brochure, the booklet that contains the owner's instruction and the watch's identification. Attached is also the official certification from FH Aachen. What makes it different in the newer package is that Stowa now uses their own orange color called "Stowa Orange" on the booklet leaf. Very eye catching. Included is also a Victorinox multi-purpose knife. The knife is sent as a gift to the TESTAF owner due to the initial delay of delivery. Overall, the packaging is full of goodies and nothing is amiss.
The Appearance of the watch:The TO1 TESTAF possesses all the advanced technologies that make it a very robust watch. While it is a tool watch, it still bears a clean look like every other Stowa watches. The dial is matt black with contrasting white hour indicators and smaller minute indicators. The Stowa (old) and TESTAF logos are colored very subtly in grey. The minute, hour and central second hands are also in the same white color as the markers on the dial.The shape of the three hands remind of me of the hands from the classic Flieger. Though they are without the borders because the lume material fills up the entire surface of the hands. I believe the design is done intentionally for the TO1 to still resemble the heritage-riched classic Flieger. Nevertheless the hands look fantastic on the watch because they match the modern dial of the T01 perfectly.The bezel is also machined beautifully. You will probably notice that the numerals on the bezel are "sort of" reversed. On a more conventional bezel the numerals would start from 10 to 60 or 5 to 55 clockwise. However, the unique bezel of the T01 has the entire numbering system reversed. I believe this is a design for flying purpose.I must also mention the lugs of the watch. The lugs of the T01 are long, curvy, and they are beautiful. I have always loved watches with long lugs. The fact that the T01 has long lugs make me really happy about it.
I also think the lug design of the T01 resembles the lugs from the Schauer watches. See the comparison pictures below and you will see the resemblance.The Stowa Flieger T01 TESTAF is a tool watch with a technical look. At the same time it still retains the same design cues that you will find in every single Stowa watches: simplicity, cleanness, and sophisication. I especially like the clean dial and the long lugs, which make the watch beautiful to look at.
Score: 10/10Functions:The T01 is designed based on the TESTAF testing procedures. The focal focus of design principle of the watch is for it to be able to withstand shock, vibration, and extreme pressure. The T01 is also capable to operate under temperature ranges from -15 to +55 Celsius. In regard to water resistance, the watch is waterproof up to 200 meters.The large crown of the T01 makes adjusting the time very easy. The owner can easily grab and pull the crown out to the appropriate position. The crown is also not screw-down which in my opinion is a good choice. I am not really a big fan of the screw-down crown because if handled improperly, one can strip the screw threads of the crown and tube relatively easily. The push in/out crown system is worry-free and with this system the T01 is still capable to maintain a WR rating of 200m.The primary of a wrist watch is for its operator to read the time at any given time and place. The clean dial of the TO1 helps to enhance the functionality of the watch. It is so easy to read the time with this watch. The sapphire crystals (front and back) of the watch are AR-coated so there is no nasty reflection whatsoever that can affect the time reading, and as well admiring the beautiful movement.The lume of the T01 is also fantastic. All the hour markers, the 3 hands, and the triangle on the bezel are coated with BWG9 Superluminova. The lume material is white in daylight time. At night time it turns into a beautiful light blue. The lume is long-lasting, which a good charge will last through the entire night.The T01 is powered by a top grade ETA 2824-2. Everyone who are into watches knows that the 2824 is the workhorse in watch industry. It is beating at 28,000A/H which is very smooth and this improves the stability of the time keeping. The top version is adjusted in five positions with an average rate of +/- 4 seconds per day, or a maximum daily variation of +/- 10 seconds per day. This means, the top version is extremely accurate as the spec suggests it should not have any difference of +/- of more than 4 seconds per day.The primary function for the T01 TESTAF is to perform flawlessly in telling the time accurately. It must also capable to survive in tough environment which can subject the watch to shocks, pressure, and water. The night time legibility is also important. The T01 passes those objectives with flying colors.
User-Friendliness:The case material of the T01 is titanium. Titanium has many advantages such as being light-weighted, makes the T01 very comfortable to wear because it is not heavy at all. It also possess anti-magnetic characteristic which helps the watch to withstand magnetic field. Despite the large case diameter at 46mm and 54.50mm lug to lug size, the T01 is very comfortable to wear and the size is perfect.The legibility of the T01 is extremely high. In fact, this might be the most legible watch I have ever had. The high contrast between the black dial and the white hands makes time reading extremely easy. As mentioned earlier the lume of the T01 is fantastic, which helps when it is patch dark at night time. The numbers on the bezel are also very easy to interpret. The clean dial with no unnecessary texts as well makes the watch more articulate to its owner.The size of the crown is just right which makes adjusting the time relatively easy. The screw-in bars help to secure the strap in one place and thus makes the watch more secure on the wrist. The bezel has 60 clicks and can be turned clockwise or counter clockwise. This makes the bezel more usable depending on how quick you want to match the bezel to the time interval you want to measure. The bezel is also very solid which each click is precise and there is zero play at all.The case back of the watch is at the right height, which helps to elevate the watch a bit on the wrist to improve veniliation between the watch and the wrist surface.The rubber strap of the watch is very comfortable to wear. The deployment buckle is also very user-friendly and makes the strap more secure on the wrist.
The T01 TESTAF is worth for its asking price. The thoughtful design process that Mr. Schauer and his team put into making the watch suitable for daily use, and the fact that this watch can survive challenging environments makes this watch worthwhile to have.
The top grade, rhodium coated ETA-2824-2 movement used in the T01 is beautifully decorated with blued screws and Geneve Stripes. Not only it is beautiful to look at, but the movement is accurate. This movement makes the watch even better valued.
The Stowa Flieger T01 TESTAF is a tactical watch that can handle tough conditions, but at the same time it is also beautiful to look at. The build quality of the case and other components is excellent. The use of titanium is an excellent choice because it makes the watch more light-weighted and thus more comfortable to wear. The top ETA-2824 inside the watch performs accurately. There are simply not many competitors who are good enough to compete against the T01 in the market today. The T01 is a winner.
- Excellent legibility
- Beautiful look inside and out
- Simple and clean dial
- Excellent lume
- Excellent use of titanium
- Solid bezel
- The top grade ETA-2824-2 is superb.
- Comfortable rubber strap
- Good case back design
- Adequate water resistance at 200m
- Use of push in/out crown design.
- I wish I can find flaws but I simply cannot.
Final Scores: 50/50