First of all, let me say that this is more a collection of thoughts about my new Stowa Partitio than a formal review, which I don't feel entirely qualified to do. I've only had this watch for a couple of days. It arrived at my door in an impressive twelve days. That quick start-to-finish arrival time is made even more remarkable considering I placed my order late on a Friday afternoon here in the States, and well after Stowa had already closed shop for the weekend. Also; it was held-up in transit (while still in Germany) for about a day or two. If we'd not lost those extra three or four days, the arrival time might have been an astounding eight days...again; impressive.
Although I am nearing Social Security eligibility, I still remember playtime in kindergarten. While the other kids were grabbing the biggest or latest toys, I was securing my five rectangular wooden blocks and plastic Army Jeep. With those, I was able to build a garage and have transportation with which to create my-own mind's world. Choosing this watch was a journey back to that part of myself. This watch purchase had come down to either a Tudor Black Bay 36, or ...maaaybe... a Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 no-date. However, once I laid eyes on this simple Partitio, it was all over. I had found my jeep and blocks once again. This watch is simple, functional and can be worn with anything from shorts and a t-shirt, right up to a sport coat and tie. You might even be able to wear it with a full suit if you ditch the necktie.
First Impression: Upon opening the case and seeing it for the first time, I have to admit; it looked to me like a boy's watch. I was wearing my Omega Speedmaster FOIS at the time and the dial of the Partitio seemed stark by comparison. However; when I put it on, my initial thought was of extreme comfort. It's big enough to look substantial when compared to actual vintage watches, yet light enough to wear very comfortably. With its minimal bezel, the dial on the Partitio uses most of the available real estate, making it comparable in dial size to many larger watches. I wouldn't call this watch small as much as I would, compact.
Dial: To my eye, it's near perfection. Time is quick and easy to acquire, there are no distractions, and the hands are right-sized and legible in every way. Ironically, the one thing I can do without are the divisions/partitions for the seconds. But then, it wouldn't be a Partitio, would it? They're (understandably) so small, my aging eyes can't really use them. Where they might come in handy is for sub-dividing the minute sweep into 12-second intervals, but that's it. Incidentally; though some have complained of no tail on the second hand...no problem here. In fact, I think the decision served to give the Partitio an even cleaner look.
Case: The case on this watch is perfectly sized (for my taste) in that it stops just short of looking too small, while still showing enough size to give it some prominence. I like that I'm less aware of its size when wearing it, and that I feel more freedom from the fear of bumping into things with it. Some have mentioned that the lugs are too long, but I find them well-proportioned. I really like the way they curve down and follow the wrist closely. The finishing on the case (and everywhere) is flawless and for such a simple design, it has a subtle presence. This isn't a watch that will likely get you comments from strangers though. It's quite reserved in design and its size doesn't call attention either. This one's for only you to enjoy. Mine is the hand-winding model which I ordered with the solid case back. The cover is nicely engraved as you'll see in the photos. It's also mirror-polished. So much so that I stopped taking a picture in-order to clean-off what I thought was a piece of debris. However, it wasn't debris, but rather, the printing on my cell phone being reflected off the back of the watch. Really; it's that highly polished! Where you see dull areas in the phone's print, it's intersecting the engraving.
Strap: I found the standard black strap that came with the watch more than adequate. It's soft and has a nice grain and texture. I immediately switched it to the Rios Mocha Shell Cordovan strap you see in the photos though. This only because I like to save the original strap in as-new condition. I also have a black 2-piece Perlon strap that I will be using during the soupy weather here in Florida.
Movement: While I am not knowledgeable enough to give an educated assessment of the movement, I will say this: the experience of winding it is perhaps my only minor disappointment. I have and have had a number of hand-wind watches. Among them are a Stowa Marine Original, the aforementioned Omega Speedmaster FOIS, a late '70's Hamilton Masterpiece with the Buren 639 movement, and a recently sold 1967 Longines with the 284 movement. The movement on this Partitio is not as satisfying in the mechanical sense, as any of these. There is a muted sensory connection with the gears. If I had to describe it, I would say that it feels somewhere between winding a hand-wind watch and winding an automatic, though leaning more toward the hand-winder. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this movement is an adapted time/date movement? I don't know. It's not a deal breaker, but I wish it had more feel when winding it.
In closing, I'd like to say that I am becoming smitten with this watch. I think that Stowa absolutely nailed the size and proportions. And as always, the finish quality is right up there with much pricier options, making this watch a great value. What might I change? Aside from the winding feel; maybe...only maybe, it would be nice to have a small dot at each hour marker. It's the only area where it's difficult to see the exact position of the seconds and minute hands. But, I say "maybe" because this dial is so simple and pure, I'd have to think long and hard before changing a thing. Would I do it again? Absolutely Yes.