Since 2016, Sternglas has been succeeding where others have fallen short. Dustin Fontaine started the watch brand after a fruitless mission to find an elegant, high-quality watch at a price within reach of his 21-year-old self. A Bauhaus design and a successful Kickstarter campaign followed. It’s a tale as old as time. Throughout the rise of crowdfunding watch projects, many have delivered quality products. Some have returned for a second bite, while fewer remain successful years later. Sternglas has outgrown that platform, business model, and the “Kickstarter brand” label. Today, I’m looking at a new version of its successful Hamburg Automatik model.

The watch is still minimalist in design, in keeping with most of the Sternglas catalog, but it features some delicate touches of color against a dark gray canvas. The German city of Hamburg is home to the brand. As a result, the line of watches bearing the same name is an important part of the brand’s identity. Integral to Hamburg’s own identity and history is its port and harbor, Germany’s “Gateway to the World.” Sitting just off the coast, in the Wadden Sea, is the tiny island of Neuwerk, described as a hidden pearl in the North German coastal landscape. The island’s most important building, the Neuwerk Lighthouse, has seen various uses throughout history. The people of Hamburg have used it as a defense tower, a refuge, and a lighthouse. The island of Neuwerk is the inspiration for this latest watch.

Sternglas Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

A dark and stormy dial

Sternglas describes the dial as “stormy gray” with a satin finish. According to the brand, this is a nod to the rugged North Sea. Having grown up close to the North Sea at its westerly reaches, the dial doesn’t evoke childhood memories for me. Nevertheless, it is a nice shade for a watch dial. It is lighter than black and has a noticeable sheen. The dial markings and hands veer slightly away from the minimalist style Sternglas has become known for, with small touches of red, yellow, and green. The colors give off a more fun summer vibe, while the delicacy of the dial markings and slenderness of the hands stay true to the brand’s elegant ethos.

The numerals on the inside of the busy minute track mark the hours, with the outer numerals appearing at five-minute intervals. The markers between each numeral are perhaps slightly confusing, with each hour (or five-minute period) split into five or ten segments. Due to the watch’s nearly bezel-less appearance, the dial’s congested outer portion still leaves significant negative space in the center.

Sternglas Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

A large yet modest case

The polished stainless steel case, deliberately discreet from the front, makes more of an impact from either side. The footprint of the Hamburg Automatik ebbs away immediately down from the thin bezel, leaving a significantly smaller surface in contact with the wrist. This bowl shape exaggerates the watch’s thinness while also helping it sit nicely on the wrist (however, that’s not entirely true when fitted with a nylon strap). The solid case back, secured with four screws, is laser etched with an image of the Neuwerk Lighthouse. Although the bezel is slim and the lugs delicate, their shape still provides a little flair.

The dimensions are perhaps on the larger side for a minimalist, all-dial watch. The 42mm diameter and 45mm lug-to-lug length are, on paper, ideally suited to my 17.5cm (7″) wrist. The Hamburg feels light and appropriately sized, but depending on the strap, it can appear oversized.

A budget-friendly movement

Beneath the solid case back beats the Mioyta 8215. This automatic caliber is often described as a reliable “workhorse” and has been seen in many affordable mechanical watches for this reason. Expected accuracy is between -20 and +40 seconds per day, and visually, the 8215 is nothing to drool over. Still, it does provide hacking, hand-winding, a date complication, and a 42-hour power reserve. While these specs aren’t remarkable, the choice of movement is commensurate with the asking price of the watch.

Sternglas Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

Choosing the right strap for the Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

On the Sternglas website, the Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwek has three different strap options, and the brand sent over all three to try out. My default selection (and advice to others) is to always opt for the OEM bracelet. The bracelet option here is a thin, segmented stainless steel bracelet with a brushed finish. As Sternglas didn’t fit this to the watch upon delivery, I was hesitant to try it out. The finish doesn’t strictly match the polished case. Plus, it isn’t a seamless fit due to straight end links. However, the combination just works. The links are small, and the clasp can clamp securely to any of those links, giving a very high chance of a comfortable fit.

Of the other two options, the ridged yellow nylon looks good and emphasizes the dial details. However, as hinted at above, the extra layers of fabric lift the case sides even further above the wrist. The rustic brown two-stitch leather strap is another good-looking option, but unless you are head-over-heels in love with either the nylon or leather options, I would still recommend going with the stainless steel bracelet as that’s the look that will be harder to recreate with aftermarket options further down the line.

Sternglas Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

Summing up the Sternglas Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk

Sternglas was founded with the aim of making good-quality watches at a fair price. I believe it’s reasonable to say that Sternglas remains committed to offering watches at an affordable price, but that’s not to say that there aren’t examples of quality throughout the watch too. Granted, the Mioyta 8215 movement will always be outshone by its brother, the 9015, with its higher beat rate, accuracy, and power reserve. Additionally, a slightly better antireflective coating and an application of lume on the hands would have been welcome. Nevertheless, Sternglas has produced a rather-handsome watch that screams affordable summer fun. You can learn more and buy the watch for €429 by visiting the brand’s website here.

Watch specifications

Hamburg Automatik Edition Neuwerk
Storm gray
Case Material
316L stainless steel
Case Dimensions
42mm (diameter) × 45mm (lug-to-lug) × 12mm (thickness)
Sapphire with AR coating
Case Back
Solid stainless steel, screw-down
Miyota 8215 — automatic and hand winding, 21,600vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve,
Water Resistance
Brown leather, stainless steel bracelet, or yellow nylon strap
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds) and date