Over these last couple of years, we have come to know Sternglas as a brand that offers Bauhaus-inspired watches. Inspired by the famous German design movement, the Hamburg brand has built a reputation for offering watches that combine style with affordable prices. But it’s time to break new ground for the brand. Although the Bauhaus signature is great, Sternglas doesn’t limit itself its restriction. The first proof of this is the all-new Sternglas Marus. It’s a modern-day diving watch that explores new territory for the brand.
When I first received the Sternglas Marus on my desk, I was quite surprised, to be honest. After reviewing a number of Sternglas watches over the last two years, I am used to seeing a series of sleek and minimalist design watches from the brand. With the new Sternglas Marus, the brand stepped away from the watch design that got them where they are today.
And I have to say I admire that. You don’t have to be limited to one thing and one thing only. On top of that, the Marus is a modern-day diver that doesn’t completely let go of all we have come to know from Sternglas. Ever since 2017 brand founder Dustin Fountaine always wanted to create a diving watch for the brand. After two years of development, the brand made that a reality with the Sternglas Marus.
The first thing that stands out when picking up the Marus, is its size and weight. While there is nothing strange about a 42mm diving watch, my first thought was: “This is rather huge…for a Sternglas”. It’s weird how the brain works sometimes. But the association is not so much defined by just size. The brand actually offers 42mm watches with their Hamburg and Topograph series. But the overall profile is much slimmer and more elegant. It’s the combination of size, weight, and bulkiness that I had to get used to for a second.
After that first initial reaction, you quickly realize that the Marus is a different direction for the brand. It explores the incredibly popular diving watch category by combining everything you want from a modern diver with the typical Sternglas design characteristics. And I understand that the brand has created the Marus.
With diving watches currently being the most popular watch category out there, there is a huge potential audience for this new Marus. It’s a potential audience that might not be attracted to the Bauhaus-inspired timepieces that the brand is known for. But that doesn’t mean they do not like the same design traits in combination with a diving watch that could become their daily wearer.
So let’s find out more about what the brand has come up with. The Sternglas Marus features a 42mm stainless steel case that looks and wears a bit bigger because of its long lugs. With a lug-to-lug of 53.8mm, this is not a watch for people with smaller wrists. The case is 14mm high and has a lug width of 20mm. The watch comes with a modest screw-in crown assuring 200M water resistance.
Overall I can say that this is a pretty serious-sized case that doesn’t hide easily under your cuff. But that is probably not what the brand was after in the first place. Or should I say customers as Sternglas listens carefully to what its customers want. Once again, they have also had help from their loyal followers in developing the watch.
Underneath the double domed sapphire glass, you will find a black dial that has the typical Sternglas design traits. It features slim hour markers and the logo and text on the dial printed in white. By deliberately leaving the logo and text small, you get that typical Sternglas design feel. Especially on bigger dials like this, it gives the design room to breathe. The date indication is placed above the 6 o’clock position so it doesn’t stand out but it’s there whenever you need it.
The watch features slim steel needle-style hands that also greatly contribute to the typical Sternglas design. Both the hour markers and handset are filled with white Nemoto Luminova W&W800 that really lights up bright in darker light conditions. The watch comes with a steel rotating bezel with a black ceramic bezel inlay with the diving scale printed in white. A ceramic bezel inlay is something we usually see used for watches in a higher price range than this Marus. So I have to compliment Sternglas for offering a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel at a price point well under 500 Euros.
Sternglas offers the Marus on a black rubber strap for €389 and the one we had in our offices comes on a stainless steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp for €429. The design of the bracelet is what the brand calls their Block design bracelet. It’s a simple but effective design that is in line with the design language that we have come to know from Sternglas.
Inside the case, we find the self-winding Miyota 8215 movement that Sternglas uses for more of its watches. This Citizen-owned movement maker provides a lot of smaller and indie brands with solid automatic movements. It makes sure that Sternglas can offer its mechanical watches at an attractive price. The Miyota 8215 operates at 21,600vph and offers 42 hours of power reserve. As mentioned the movement features a date function that is located just above the 6 o’clock position. The screwed caseback features an engraving of seabed topography creating a nice pattern.
As I stated before, putting the Sternglas Marus on your wrist makes you realize this is a substantial chunk of steel. With its modern proportions and 190-gram weight you definitely realize you are wearing a watch at all times. For my 18cm wrist it’s no problem at all but I can see this being too bulky for people with smaller wrists.
The overall aesthetic does work nicely if you like a rather minimalist aesthetic. Which is something we do not see too often in the category of diving watches. Next to the minimalist dial, another element that is proof of that is the rather small screw-in crown. While it’s easy to operate, it’s pretty small in size. It’s definitely a design choice rather than a practical one. It’s usually about big practical elements that make sure you get all the crucial info while you are diving. That’s why I would put this Marus definitely more in the design-orientated diving watches rather than the hardcore divers. But by doing so, the brand stays true to its roots and it makes the Marus clearly a Sternglas watch.
Once on the wrist, you realize the sharp angles of both the case and the bracelet define its presence. While I like the design of the bracelet, the execution is decent at best. Having said that, this is not something unique to Sternglas. Steel bracelets on affordable diving watches are always a topic of heavy discussion. As we know, designing and executing a great stainless steel bracelet is one of the most expensive and difficult things to do. With the objective of keeping prices at an affordable level, Sternglas got the job done.
If you like the design, this bracelet will carry out the task of balancing the serious weight of the watch on your wrist. On top of that, the design fits the overall design quite well. One thing my eyes kept coming back to is how the bracelet is connected to the case. There is a rather big gap between the last link and the case. As a result, when the watch is on your wrist, you will see the two pins of the quick-release system of the bracelet. It’s a direct result of integrating the quick-release system. It’s definitely not the nicest design solution and once seen, it cannot be unseen.
Overall I understand that Sternglas has created the Marus. There is a huge group of potential buyers that will be interested in buying a modern-day diver for under 500 Euros to use as a daily wearer. By keeping the design traits we known from Sternglas, the brand has made sure that the watch definitely feels like a Sternglas watch.
And those characteristics make it more a design-orientated diving watch. Sure, you can dive with it and offers all the necessary specs. But I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is a direct competitor for the divers from brands like Seiko, Hamilton and Citizen. While they focus on creating modern versions of their classic diving watches, this is more focused on being a style statement. And I have no doubts, that the brand will find new customers that like that statement.
For more information about the Sternglas Marus, visit the official Sternglas website.
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted... read more