If you’re visiting Stührling‘s Brooklyn-based headquarters, odds are you’re there to talk watches. And if you’re there to talk watches, sooner or later the conversation will turn to dive watches— a brand staple.
Like most every brand’s dive watches, Stührling’s flagship Regatta 842 features design cues that bring Rolex to mind. At the same time, the brand’s founder Henry Fischer has no problem telling you that, though Stührling didn’t introduce the core dive watch design to the world, they did introduce the world to a dive watch for serious dive fans to add to their collections, without having to sell off the rest of their watches (or body parts).
TAKING IT FORWARD INSTEAD OF TAKING IT EASY
As dive watch design remains fundamentally unchanged, the safe move would be to follow most every other brand’s lead and design cues, create a supply, and sit back while nature (and search engines) create the demand.
Fischer, though, has never been a fan of sitting back when he could be moving things forward. And while most would be content with—if not downright proud of—the fact that they had the skills to actually bring a bona-fide dive watch collection to market, Fischer focused on producing dive watches that, design-wise, took less and innovated more.
THE DIVE WATCH—REIMAGINED
“Dive watches are like the minivan of the watch industry— once you decide you’re producing them, you find you only have so much creative latitude given the level of functionality expected,” Fischer explained. Despite his generally envelope-pushing mindset, he was careful not to alienate his core customer by integrating a level of features and/or complications that would price the watch out of reach.
“I’m a big believer in ‘dancing with the one who brought you,’” Fischer explained. “We’ve all seen what happens when a brand with a loyal following tries to attract new, different markets instead of focusing on expanding their core. Even if you have the resources and operational bandwidth to broaden your brand’s footprint, what you’re still missing is the credibility and awareness you enjoyed with your core customer. That can only come with time—and, of course, the right products.
“Once we became associated with dive watches,” said Fischer, “The Regatta 842 was our flagship. The precision engineered, flawlessly crafted 43mm surgical stainless steel case, bezel, and triple row bracelet instantly say classic dive watch. Then your eye takes in the subtleties, like the unique fluted screw down crown, the bold and commanding ultra-luminescent Arabic numerals that mesh seamlessly with the shark-tooth inspired markers and dagger-like hands—and you realize you’re looking at a dive watch with it’s own sense of adventure.”
A DEEPER LOOK AT AN INSPIRED DIVE WATCH
While most brands would be happy with that level of fit and finish, Fischer’s brand is also known for it’s “guts”—the features you don’t immediately see but will immediately appreciate. In the case of the Regatta 842, that includes a precision Swiss Quartz movement, 20 ATM (200m/600ft) water resistance, user-adjustable sizing thanks to removable micro-milled screws, fold-over locking safety clasp, and more. When asked if this level of obsessive attention to detail was really necessary, Fischer pointed out that the difference between a watch company and a timepiece brand was about paying attention to the details you don’t see.
“When you take pride in your craft, there is no such a thing a ‘small’ detail. If a product has your brand’s name on it, every detail matters… whether it’s seen or not.”