The New Renzo chronographs are housed in solid 316L stainless steel polished cases with a decent set of dimensions for your average modern man. The iteration shown here ( Royale Brown/White ) is finished in an ION plated rose gold color with a mirror like high polish - though there are numerous options of finishing and dial colors available on the Renzo website. In terms of overall dimensions we are looking at 42MM wide x 11MM thick. I really like this size as a chronograph should show a little more wrist presence considering we have a function to read off the dial, as well as normal time. Another thing I do like is the rounded piston head style pushers which function with ease for the chronograph stop/start/reset and show zero signs of wiggle room. Our crown is a pull/push and allows this watch to have a 50M water resistance rating. Now by no means take this into the water...but if you happen to get caught in a rainstorm or wash your hands you will be OK. Small details include the signed “R” crown and a nice screw down ( real screws ) caseback with a fine brushed center. Overall, I like the dimensions and how it fits on my 6.5” wrist and do not see any issues here for this simple and practical modern piece.
The white dial is quite elegant with a Matt Lacqeured finish and definitely pops compared to other colors I have seen. The applied indexes are very neat and match the case finishing as well. If we head over to the 4:00 position a nice matching date wheel is exposed , and doesn’t really get in the way of things - but is legibile. The long chronograph hand paired with bold fence style hands match the aesthetic just fine. Now some brands are horrible when it comes to matching hands and markers , but they did it very proportionately and it looks the part for sure. One thing I did not mention which is extremely important is the fact that this watch is indeed Swiss Made and Assembled in Switzerland ( Swiss Made is Marked below 6:00 ). The sub dials themselves are placed beatly and feature an off white circular pattern which looks nice and helps defer itself from the off white dial. As you can see from the photo, we do get a functional 12 Hour chronograph ( increments of 30 Minutes ) and a separate seconds subdial. Lastly, on this affordable piece at $275 they have gone ahead and placed a nice anti reflective coated Sapphire crystal for increased durability and legibility.
The Swiss Quartz Ronda 5030D is a movement I have experience with, and can stand by it. It does run on a battery and has some
nice features including elapsed time measurement, and pinpoint accuracy of a couple seconds a month. These
movements are indeed thin which allows the Royalé to stand only 11MM thin - making it extremely comfortable and allowing the end user to easily slide this under a cuff.
Leather Band Supplied
This model came equipped on a 22MM brown Full Grain Genuine Leather embossed band which also features quick-release straps. The nice part about this feature is the easy on the go “swapability” to alter the appearance of your watch by changing straps without a tool in seconds. Straight out of the box the strap really conformed nicely to my wrist and there really is no break in period needed for this one. I also think this model would look stellar on a straight black non embosssd band, if you happen to have one. The buckle is signed quite neatly as you can see in the macro shot and matches the case color just fine.
So, what do I think? All in all , it is a good standard everyday chronograph for a simple man. This watch can be suitable for someone who wants a well made reliable swiss watch but does not want to spend a ton of money. If this watch were to be automatic - you would be looking at a pricepoint of around $1000 USD. The movement is decent for the price as is the case cut and finish. I like the overall classic design, and feel something like this can last quite a long time in ones’ treasure chest without issues. Thanks for taking the time to read and please do check out the full hands-on YouTube video of the Renzo chronograph.
1/21/2019 1 Comment
”Original Factory in Germany before it was destroyed and the new modern factory was built”
Background on Stowa
Stowa is a German watch brand most famous for their traditional flieger watches along with their rich history in watchmaking dating back to Pre WWII. They did produce watches for the German Pilots during the second war along with other notable brands such as IWC, WEMPE, LACO, and Lange Sohne. The current watches they offer are almost identical in design to those watches worn back then besides the modern sizes and materials used today. When you purchase a German produced and assembled Stowa timepiece, you are getting much more than just a great timepiece - you are indulging your wrist with a large piece of horological history. Today, we will take a closer look at a traditional B style Flieger...only with a twist - this model has a 200M water resistance rating and slight different dimensions.
”Vintage B-Uhr Flieger from World War II Era”
”The size of the original fliegers were as large as 55MM and meant to be worn over flight jackets”
“Stowa factory watchmakers at work”
The Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport , first introduced in 2013 features a slightly larger dimension than your standard Klassik Flieger, largely due to the 200M water resistance rating this case can hold up to. At 43MM across and 12.8MM thick it most definitely wears larger, but in a good way. I feel the legibility is great with this model as well as the watches ability to portray a manly look , while not being over cumbersome. In terms of finishing, the solid 316L stainless steel case is matte and hand ground brushed which is super silky smooth to the bare skin. I find it hard to believe that brands such as IWC can charge 4 times as much for a flieger , with generally the same quality casework and finish. Now, the crown itself is a midsized pull/push onion crown which is just the right size for my tastes. It is not as exaggerated and as large as the original world war II Luftwaffe fliegers were, which is good to see - as those watches were huge! ( But for good reason ). A nice feature included on my example is the sapphire screwed down exhibition caseback, giving us a real clear look at the beautifully decorated top grade Swiss movement. Overall, the case cut and finish - definitely punches a bit above its’ pricepoint.
Now there are two types of Flieger dials that have been traditionally used since the WWII era. The one on my example is the B style Baumuster dial which looks much different than the traditional A style dial which I reviewed last year. This dial has an extremely legible face at any given angle due to its layout. It consists of a neatly printed 0-60 minutes/seconds track which circles around a 12 hour standard format. The heat treated blued hands are sized perfectly to match each ring making it really easy to distuingish hours from minutes. A thin seconds hand reaches all the way to the fine minute markings for a crisp sweep around the dial at 28,800 BPH ( 4 HZ ). Lume? The whole dial is basically lumed with bright applied C3 superluminova including the orientation arrow triangle pointing directly upwards to the 12:00 position. Obviously at this pricepoint the crystal itself is a nice thick slightly domed genuine sapphire crystal which really doesn’t give off any glare in direct sunlight or indoors - which is a wonderful thing!
There are so many different movement options when it comes to customizing your own Stowa timepiece. The movement I chose is the Swiss Made automstiv ETA-2824-2 which features perlage work and dazzling blued screws. The rotor that came equipped is sort of like a dog tag and lists all of the information belonging to my watch such as Movement,Style,Maker. Anyway, mine is running at +2 seconds a day consistently which is good to see, and I have zero issues with that. This movement also contains hand-winding, hacking, 42 HR power reserve, and boasts 24 Jewels. It is a top end ETA workhorse movement that will last decades if serviced properly over the years.
”Custom hand engraved Stowa Rotor”
Supplied Leather Band
The 24MM brown leather band supplied produced in a traditional pilot style seems of good quality and has a nice soft feel to it. It also contains a brushed sign buckle, and two buttons on each top end for that true flieger style. Overall, It is comfortable, supple, and does not require a break-in period. However, if you are planning to use this watch to go swimming as I am, I do reccommend equipping a nice rubber band or silicone band.
Conclusion and Value
Furthermore, Stowa definitely is in my opinion one of the best value German made timepieces currently available today. It has all the DNA, History, and quality you would look for in a watch that costs even double the price of their standard models. Secondly, the customer experience is truly wonderful as you get a more one to one feeling when talking to their staff, which is almost non existent in the swiss watch luxury industry. This model is priced at around 1050 EUROS for this configuration. I think this is most definitely a fair price for the quality and movements used , as well as the history aspect and true German Manufacture and production. I can definitely reccommend Stowa as I have two timws prior to this with their Stowa Antea and Klassik Flieger lines. Please do check out those full written articles and reviews on the website and YouTube channel. Thanks for taking the time to read.