Sunday, August 23, 2015

Seven Days with the Stowa Partitio

This is a review I've been wanting to get the opportunity to do ever since I started writing the Tempus Fugit Blog.  Stowa is one of those brands that has an incredibly strong following among "those in the know" in the watch world.  And to clear any misunder-standings, doubts, etc.  I purchased this watch directly from Stowa.  That's right, my own money.  This is not a loaner, it was not haggled about on Ebay or some watch sales forum.  I was quoted the price by Stowa, the same as everyone, and I paid it.  I had seen this watch at BaselWorld and I felt confident it would be a "keeper", but in fairness it is easy to get "worked up" during BaselWeek so it is just as well that brands are not allowed to sell watches there.

I can already guess some comments out there -
"But wait a minute...I've never seen ads about them in the watch magazines, who is their ambassador? What movie or tv show have they been placed in?"

If you make your watch buying decisions based on what a pr office is telling you to like, then maybe you are not as familiar with Stowa as your more well-read & informed watch loving brothers and sisters ; )

To put it succinctly, the modern Stowa is one of those unique success stories that has made its reputation (to a large extent) on the strength of positive word of mouth and repeat customers.  If you are looking for a watch connected to a movie star, an aging rock group, a supermodel or a grand prix driver then a Stowa is probably not for you.  If, however,  you are looking for a beautifully timeless, flawlessly functioning wristwatch, if you are not a sheep to be led to the "retail slaughter", then maybe a Stowa is for you.

And those of you familiar with Stowa, it is safe to say that most of you recognize their Pilot, Marine, and Diver's watches, I have always been partial to their more everyday offerings, the Antea, the newly introduced "Back to Bauhaus" and this little bijoux - the Partitio.

This is the Stowa Partitio "Handaufzug" - that's hand-winding to you sir!

First and foremost for me is the dial - which if I'm honest really SHOULD be one of the most important aspects of your watch choice but is all too-often supplanted by "I need a real man's  watch!  55 mm with a 'Bad Ass' bracelet made if 'unobtainium'!" Ever notice how it seems to often be the smallest wrists sporting the bulkiest "tool watches"?

But back to the dial - plain, simple numbers from 1 -12.  A 60 second register surrounds the outer most ring.  Hours, minutes and seconds - that's it!

The hands and the numerals are treated with a wonderfully subtle Superluminova.  This was an interesting, and extremely well informed choice because while it appears to be a simple off-white paint (traditional) in the daylight, it actually glows stronger and brighter than any dive watch I have reviewed in recent memory.  And perhaps I'm going to "date" myself with this next statement as an "old-fart traditionalist", but it seems to merge the desire for night time reading with a classic, timeless look.  The case back is solid - which is as it should be I think.  It speaks to the covenant between watch maker and watch wearer.  I know that what is beating underneath that case back is ETA's 2801 hand winding movement. The Partitio is also available in the self-winding 2824-2, but for me this is a hand-wound watch.  The time keeping was beyond good, with the greatest deviation I noticed being -6 seconds over the week.

The case is of stainless steel, topped with a sapphire crystal.  The case back is secured by six screws.  It measures 37 mm in diameter. I realize that many folks feel that is going to be too small, but in fact the actual length (lug to lug) is 47 mm.  The height is in line with this coming in a little over 10 mm in height.  The sapphire crystal is slightly domed and the perfect balance.  Owing to the total size the watch wears very well and does not seem at all small on the wrist.

The finish work on this watch is first rate.  And I think that this is where Stowa has a lot in common with their German neighbor NOMOS - the attention to detail.  Smooth, clean edges.  And wonderfully decorated with logos on the crown and buckle.  Basic, elegant, tasteful, timeless.

The crown is nice and "grippy".  Very smooth in the winding function and a genuine pleasure to use every morning.
In terms of water resistance, the Partitio is rated to 50 ATM (Atmospheres) or 50 meters.  Although this is deeper than you will go at the local swimming hole, this watch is for dry land ; )

The strap was a very nice surprise.  A very soft leather that did not "crisp up" after a few wearings but rather stayed soft and supple. The buckle matches flawlessly and is smartly finished with the Stowa logo -

But the folks at Stowa know that I am also a man who enjoys a splash of color so they were willing to  sell me an extra strap that is usually earmarked for the Back to Bauhaus collection.

Stowa refers to this color as raspberry, which is very fitting. It made a wonderful pairing with the Partitio and as smart as the watch looks with the black leather strap, I have to admit that the raspberry strap might be what I will choose to pair my new Partitio with for the long term.

So as for Stowa's "brand recognition" among the "great unwashed" I am of mixed emotions.  On the one hand, not nearly as many people know about and appreciate it as I think is justified.  In many ways this watch represents everything that a true watch fan of reasonable but not exorbitant means should wish to own.  This is what NOMOS meant for many people as well, but as they have expanded  (and if I am honest) I think that they have lost sight of that ideal.  

On the other hand, the demand for Stowa watches is BEYOND impressive.  Wait times for a given model can often seem long - several months.  But that is merely testament to how sought after these watches are.  And instead of going "down market" and mass producing a lot of lesser quality watches, the Stowa team have made the commitment to make a smart looking, high quality watch at a price that "mere mortals" might hope to afford.  And ultimately isn't that what the majority of us are looking for?  A beautiful, timeless watch for a fair price?

Me personally, I could care less what watch the cast of the Fantastic Four wore on the "red carpet".  Moreover, the very last thing I'd like is a tongue dangling out at me from the sub-dial of my Zenith El Primero.  And maybe that's just me.  But I don't want a slogan, I don't want an over-priced, indirect connection to a paid endorser who probably wears a different watch when "out of the spotlight".   I want a REAL WATCH.  And that is exactly what the Stowa Partitio is.  Posers need not apply, but true watch fans?  Place your order, and be willing to wait - and do so gladly!  Your patience will be rewarded.

Here are the details: 

Diameter:  37.00 mm
Height:  10.80 mm with domed sapphire glas
                9.50 mm case only 
Strap width: 18 mm
Lug-to-Lug size:   46.90 mm
Waterproof:  up to 5 ATM 
Weight:   62gr. (leather strap), about 110 gr. (metal bracelet)

Case:  Stainless steel, solid case back
Dial:  white matt, black printed, Superluminova Old Radium
Crystals:  Sapphire crystal, domed
Hands:  polished, nickel-plated with Superluminova Old Radium
Strap:  Leather strap or metal bracelet
Crown:  Stainless steel with STOWA logo

Caliber:  ETA 2821
Function:  hour, minutes, central second complication
Power Reserve:  approximately 40 hours

Specific features
screwed case back

You can order directly from Stowa at:


  1. Thanks for this. It's a very nice watch. Just wondering why you think "this is a hand-wound watch" - not disagreeing, just curious. :-)
    P.S. I think it's 5 Atm. :-)