New Sternglas Marus Diver’s Watch For 2021 — Exploring New Territories The Hamburg brand trades in their characteristic minimalist design for a modern-day diver's aesthetic

New Sternglas Marus Diver’s Watch For 2021 — Exploring New Territories

The Hamburg brand trades in their characteristic minimalist design for a modern-day diver's aesthetic
May 03, 2021
5 MIN READ
New Sternglas Marus Diver’s Watch For 2021 — Exploring New Territories

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.

Exploring new territory

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.

Modern-day specs

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.

A Sternglas with a ceramic bezel

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.

The Miyota Caliber 8215

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.

Wearing the Sternglas Marus

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.

Balancing out the weight

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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  1. Prices on Sternglas’ website:

    – 350 euros, inclusive of VAT and international shipping.

    – Put in a US address, price becomes 475 USD (350 euros minus the VAT comes out to ~340 USD)

    – Put in a US address with website set to English and paying via Paypal: 475 USD

    – Put in a US address with website set to German and paying via Paypal: 350 euros (420 USD)

    – Put in a Canadian address, and the price is 425 Canadian. Which is equal to ~290 euros, which is equal to 350 euros minus the 19% VAT (and equal to 345 USD)

    Hmm. One of these things is not like the others!

    Really like the watch. Really like the nominal price point.

    But really don’t like feeling like I am getting hosed (you’d think spending half the year in Canada that I was accustomed to said feeling, but in reality it only makes it sting worse).

    1. Maybe you want to send them an email regarding this issue. I guess Dustin and his team will have a solution.

  2. This seems to have a design made for a 40mm case. And given it’s minimalist design the watch (and the undeniably huge lug to lug) will wear like a giant 42 even on my 19.5cm wrist. There’s a time and a place for big chunky divers like my MM300 and Pelagos but it just doesn’t make sense here.

    That’s irritating because it’s abundantly clear that the 42mm size was made solely to make it 42mm. The layout, overall aesthetic, and water resistance of 200m could have been achieved easily at a much smaller size.

    I guess the main reason why I’m this agitated is because I 100% would have ordered one immediately if it had been 40mm. I love the look of the matte ceramic bezel and the lines of the fully brushed case really looks cool. And all that at such a great price really did make for a special watch.

  3. Great write-up Jorg.

    Overall the Marus is a good looking watch. Personally, I prefer the green dial version with the steel bezel – a pastel blue dial would be killer.

    What strikes me as odd, in terms of wearability, is the huge 53.8 mm lug to lug size. Even my 43 mm Halios Laguna II has a smaller lug to lug size at “just” 49 mm.

    For comparison: A Doxa Sub 300 is 42.5 x 45.00, a Seiko Turte is 45.00 x 47.70, the Tudor Pelagos is 42 x 50.

  4. Interesting watch. The case shape reminds me a lot of old skin-divers, but even better with the beveled edges. I like the knurling on the bezel and crown as well. But I think they made a mistake making this 42mm OD x 53.8 LTL and 14mm thickness. I thought we were a bit over the trend of bigger = better? I think this one would be a lot better at 40mm OD and shorter LTL.

  5. 53,8mm lug to lug
    Hands which are almost equal in length
    Twisted numbers on bezel
    No thanks

  6. 53,8 mm l2l
    Non differentiable hands
    Numbers on lower bezel half upsidedown
    No thanks

  7. The lenghts of the hands look really odd, bad design in my opinion. Date sits awkwardly high in the dial, due to the too small movement for this chunky case. An index at six could have helped.
    And a decades-old, cheap, non-hacking 8215 for this price shows where the costs were cut, at the heart of the watch.
    Endlinks for the bracelet were obviously also too expensive or difficult and a butterfly clasp without any micro-adjustment…two years of development?! :DD

  8. this is probably the worst designed “dive watch” of the past decade.

    1. horrendous proportions

    2. they’re not even justified by a design feature or a good movement

    3. and most crucial: bad legibility. every marker is the same, hour and minutes hands are the exact same shape and have a minimal length difference. seconds hand unlumed. no lumed bezel markings.

    this is “bauhaus” in the meaning that minimal thought has gone into designing it. there is a whole host of much better and more intelligently designed minimal/bauhaus divers out there.

    this isn’t just a badly designed diver (hell, it’s not even a diver), it’s just a badly designed watch

  9. Hi Jorg This does i think keeps to the essence of the sternglas philosophy it does have a minimalistic look in my opinion.

    But I have to agree with other contributors about the size, whilst the width appears OK to me, the lug to lug size does appear somewhat on the large size!!

    I have a 19.2 cm wrist and the largest watch I have has a 52mm lug to lug and it covers the top of my wrist, So this one would start o overhang I’m sure!!

    Otherwise I really like the whole look of the watch

  10. Hi Jorg,
    I like the green dial version ! and the bracelet and the bezel and for this price cant go wrong i`d say. If you have firm wrists that is, because that L2L is not made for me. That size also seems off with the sleek bezel design ( blancpain bathy ? ) and sculpted sides. hard to believe in 2 years of dsign feedback no one in the test groups mentioned this.

  11. Thanks for the great review, Jorg. Small comment: it’s “traits”, not “trades”.

  12. i’m not a fan of this design, but that’s just my opinion being truly entrenched in dive watch history. it just doesn’t work regarding the rich history and aesthetics. further, not having lume on the seconds hand belies this ‘pretender’ status.

    BUT the real issue is the use of a movement with problems for a tool watch. i say this even as a personal fan of the seiko skx, even with it’s 7s36 movement from the good ole days, having no manual winding or hacking ability. but the 8200 caliber miyota is especially troublesome in that it has the infamous stutter when shaken or knocked under what would be normal circumstances for any other watch.

    sure citizen used, and still uses, the movement in lower cost dive watches, but it is truly a movement from the deep past, with the seconds hand stalling, it falls behind even the seiko 7s36 in problems. also, because of this and the winding/hack issues, it is a movement used in $150 watches.

    but it’s not simply snobbery. anyone who’s seen their seconds hand stop or stutter with a normal shock or bump, immediately wonders WTF. while the hour/minute hands do not lose time with this issue, the seconds hand does definitely lose time when it stutters or stops. for a cutting edge tool watch, this is laughable actually.

    most people don’t know this about the 8200 miyota calibers, and so most microbrands will shove it into their watches to increase profit. for a watch, especially one pretending to be a tool watch, using design or aesthetics as their strong point, this really cuts the wrong way.

Jorg Weppelink
About the author

Jorg Weppelink

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

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