Stowa Antea KS Review

Review | Under $1k | 11.27.2013

Photo credit: Ilya Ryvin

One cannot begin to review the Stowa Antea Kleine Sekunde without first taking a look at the Bauhaus school of design. Dating back to 1919, the Bauhaus movement began when Walter Gropius opened the physical Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany. Bringing together art, design, craft, and functionality, the Bauhaus movement produced some of the most memorable designs in recent history and to this day, whether it’s the White City of Tel Aviv or the latest Apple product, the Bauhaus design philosophy remains far-reaching and pervasive.

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original 30’s Stowa from the Stowa Museum

In the watch world, the Bauhaus influence is undeniable, especially when it comes to German watchmakers who, when compared to their Swiss counterparts, prefer cleaner designs to bling and excess. Stowa, founded in 1935 by Walter Storz, is one of those brands, and it has followed a Bauhaus-influenced design philosophy for most of its existence.

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Today, Stowa is under the helm of veteran watchmaker Jörg Schauer, who developed Stowa’s current lineup by tapping into the brand’s history, bringing back updated versions of beloved designs like the Flieger series and the Seatime. Though not as talked about as their sportier models, Stowa’s Antea line – influenced by a design found in the Stowa archives dating back to the 1930s – is a true Bauhaus gem, with the Kleine Sekunde silver-dialed model anchoring the collection. So, how does Stowa’s Bauhaus inspired entry stand up? Let’s find out.

Stowa Antea KS Review

STOWA_ANTEA_KS_face1Case: 316L Steel
Movement: Peseux/ETA 7001
Dial: Silver
Lume: No
Lens: Sapphire with internal AR on both dial and case-back
Strap: leather
Water Res.: 3 atm
Dimensions: 35.5 x 44.6 mm
Thickness: 6.9 mm
Lug Width: 18 mm
Crown: 5.5 x 2.5 mm
Warranty: Yes
Price: approximately $775 – 911

Case

Coming in at roughly 35.5mm wide, 6.9mm thick, and a lug-to-lug height of 44.6mm, the stripped-down case on the Antea KS is a masterclass in minimalist design. Eschewing many modern design cues, the Antea instead favors straight lines and hard angles: the sides of the case go straight down, the flat sapphire crystal is enclosed by a level bezel that is slightly narrower than the mid-case, and the lugs are angled batons jutting out from the sides of the case.

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From the top down, the case forms a perfect circle (lugs aside). From the side, the angled lugs emphasize the severity and intricacy of the design. All elements of the 3-piece stainless steel case come together seamlessly and are anchored by a beautiful high polish finish. On the flipside, the case back details the specs of the watch and features a sapphire crystal that showcases the beautifully decorated Peseux/ETA 7001 movement. The case back is secured by 6 evenly spaced small screws.

Because the Antea KS is a hand-cranker, I have to give special attention to the crown. With a diameter of approximately 5.5mm and a thickness of 2.5mm, the signed crown on the Antea isn’t particularly hearty or unique. It is, however, the most comfortable crown I have ever encountered on a watch, manual or automatic, and is a testament to the design that went into even the smallest details on the Antea.

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What’s great about the crown is that it ever-so-slightly juts out past the bottom portion of the case, which allows for an easy grip and smooth wind. And because the crown isn’t oversized and the Antea is already a smaller watch, this causes no noticeable discomfort on the wrist.

Dial and Hands

The dial on the Antea KS is the true showstopper, and at approximately 31.5mm wide, it takes up quite a bit of real estate. The color of the silver dial is a bit difficult to describe, especially because the tone of the dial changes under different lighting conditions. Sometimes it can look white, other times cream, but my personal favorite is how the dial looks when the tiny silver specks scattered about capture the light. I have seen the black version in person and, while an attractive piece on its own, it doesn’t compare to the beauty of its silver-dialed brother.

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The design and layout of the dial appear simple, but upon closer inspection one can see that it’s the details that make the Antea shine. The subdial for the seconds counter is placed over the 6 o’clock marker, and is adorned internally with a series of concentric circles. From the numerals to the logo, the printing is simple and precise.  The Art Deco typography harkens back to the 1930s and, due to its angular quality, is a perfect complement to the aesthetics of the case. The typography also helps soften the visual impact of the radial flip (note how the numbers are read from the inside of the dial from 9 to 3, then from the outside between 4 and 8) and helps balance the dial.

The baton hands are blued steel, which means that they have been thermally made blue, rather than painted or chemically treated. They appear jet black under certain angles, but when they catch the light just right the hands glow a bright blue. Visually, it’s perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Antea.

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Other than the “STOWA” logo with its beautiful stylized “S” and the “Made in Germany” designation, there is no extraneous text on the dial. The internal AR coating on the sapphire crystal also adds to the immediate clarity of the dial, and ensures that that coating won’t fall victim to scratches (take note, Sinn).

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  • http://URL Aaron

    At first glance I thought this was a Nomos! I feel Stowa stole the design from them and slightly adapted it… But that may just be my thinking here.

  • http://URL Leoric

    Timeless beauty! It was worth wainting for one for half a year in my case… It was only minus buying one: WAITING. 100% agree with your opinion abuot the crown – wisely designed!

  • http://www.joelconison.com Joel

    Great looking watch that I’ve had on my ‘want list’ for a while. It’s also an attribute that it’s the correct size for thin wristed people like me who really don’t like the wrist monsters or bling.

  • http://URL Norman4Law

    I’d love to see a comparison reivew of this Stowa and the Nomos Tangente.

    • http://URL Evan

      Despite the different price points, I agree, that would be a great read!

  • http://URL SH

    Thanks for the excellent breakdown!. I’ve always been on the fence about buying one and this definitely helps sway things.

  • http://URL Markus

    im wearing mine right now :) waiting time felt like ages

    maybe i should get one of those horween straps

  • http://URL Roy

    I want to buy one for my own Antea KS. Where can I buy the Horween shell cordovan strap featured on this review?

  • http://URL ilya ryvin

    The horween shell cordovan strap seen here is from fluco, which can be found through a number of e stores.

    • http://URL Roy

      Thank you!

  • http://URL Michael

    Absolutely beautiful watch from a great company. I’m still waiting for my Stowa flieger to be delivered, but I am seriously considering buying this too.

    You guys should do some Stowa video reviews.

  • http://URL David

    I too would like to see a comparison between the Stowa Antea KS and the Nomos Orion.

    They’re very similar the Nomos is twice the price. A direct comparison by the same reviewer would be helpful.