My longtime watchfriend Bas van Dorp informed me that he just ordered the Stowa Airman. Stowa was also present on the Watch 2008 event in Maastricht, but I must admit that I skipped this brand because I don’t like their bauhaus style watches. They remind me too much of Nomos. And I prefer Nomos if I’d wanted a Bauhaus style wrist watch.

Stowa is a brand founded in 1927, by Walter Storz. After their factory was destroyed in Word War II (February 1945), Herr Storz immediately started building a new factory in Pforzheim. During the war, there were only five companies that made official/original pilot watches. These were IWC, Lange & S???hne, Laco, Wempe and Stowa.

Stowa Airman

Just like the other brands, Stowa is still alive & kicking today and is also still producing pilot watches. With the Stowa Airman, you can own one of the famous pilot watches. Recently, Stowa introduced the Airman Original, which comes closest to das Original from the 1940s. It is a 41mm wrist watch with a handwound Unitas 6497 (also used in Panerai for example) with blued screws, swan neck regulator (optional) and Geneva stripes for optical finish. Stowa offers this watch for 990 Euro, but it won’t be available before mid-2009.

Stowa Airman Original

Another very nice classic Airman is the Airman Automatic without logo. This means that there is no ‘Stowa’ wording printed on the dial. Which I don’t care for anyway 😉 A pilot’s watch needs to be as readible and therefor ‘clean’ as possible. This version is 40mm and uses the proven ETA 2824 movement. For an additional 210 euro, you can have it COSC certified. The basic non-COSC version is for sale on the Stowa website for 590 Euro. Available within 8 weeks. You can choose between a brown or black leather strap, or a metal milanaise bracelet (additional 130 euro).

Stowa Airman with ETA 2824

Today, Stowa is owned by Jorg Schauer. Herr Schauer is also known for the watches labeled under his own name.

Stowa Airman

I don’t think there are a lot of watches that offer the same for 590 Euro. A quality movement, great history and – today also important – an online community to support these watches. Ernie Romers of WatchUseek hosts the official Stowa & Jorg Schauer forum. Click here to visit the official Stowa forum.

  • @RJ: ‘Flieger’ re-editions are popular these days, and almost every German brand offers them in one version or the other – Germans obviously still like the era of ‘real men’ fighting each other in their war planes.

    However I can’t agree totally with your statement “I don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t think there are a lot of watches that offer the same for 590 Euro.” Archimede is offering the Pilot H (for historical I guess), which is fairly identical to the Stowa, for ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 345,=. That’s quite a difference; or did you mean that not a lot of brands offer this watch as high as ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 590,=? 😉

  • Archimede wasn’t used during WWII, right? 😉 Anyway, if it is the same quality, then it is an even better deal of course!

    I am curious about Bas’s findings on the Stowa Airman and assume he will post his experiences here 🙂


  • No that’s right, Archimede wasn’t used during WW2, it didn’t even exist if I’m right. Don’t know if this is an advantage or disadvantage however.

    On the other hand I’m pretty sure that the Stowa’s used during WW2 had no brushed finished casing nor a glass case back (which is kind of stupid anyhow for pilots watches which you would like to be as anti-magnetic as possible).

    At least Archimede offers a solid stainless steel case back at ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 25,= extra – ha ha!

    Of course I’m waiting for Bas his findings and reasons here as well of course…

  • Hi RJ – I’ve liked both the Stowa and the Archimede since I’ve seen them. Their non-labelled fliegers are extremely similar, but I find the look of the Archimede just slightly nicer at 42 mm, and it uses the same ETA 2824 movement. And if you want the labelled version, it’s onlu 295 Eruo. So, fron looks & cost I’d have to agree on getting the Archimede on this one. But what I don’t know, and Ernie can probably speak to, is how well built both are compared to each other (movement excepted), how well they retain value, service, etc.

    Archimede used to also offer a version with a vintage Junghans 687 manual wind movement which I would have preferred over either, but these were a limited edition of 90 pieces only not listed on their catalog.

    I like the look of the Stowa sports divers better than the equivalent from Archimede, but again there is a 200 Euro difference (roughly speaking).

    So let’s add a third consideration … Christopher Ward. It’s not as traditionally plain a look, but their C8 Pilot uses the same ETA 2824 and is available on their site for 212 GBP (about 230 Euro at current rates). Or go for the cheaper Malvern Aviator for 165 GBP (175 Euro). I do not like these as much as either the Archimede or Stowa, but if you’re looking for one that’s more of a bargain these might be the best selection.

    Have a great 2009!

  • Henry Louis

    The Stowa is obviously the best. Stowa is handmade, while archimede is machine manufactured. When you wear a Stowa you wear a piece of history, but when you wear an archimede to me it just feels like you are wearing a replica of a real watch. The lume on the stowa is unsurpassed, has a domed crystal, and a choice of a COSC movement.