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.
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.
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
Case: 316L Steel
Movement: Peseux/ETA 7001
Lens: Sapphire with internal AR on both dial and case-back
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
Price: approximately $775 – 911
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Peseux/ETA 7001 is a high-grade hand wound mechanical movement prized for its robust build and small dimensions, and as such, is used by a number of different brands for their dressier timepieces. Though it has a BPH of 21,600 and doesn’t hack, the 7001 is capable of extreme accuracy when adjusted properly, as is the case with the Antea. The movement is also highly decorated; the Stowa logo and Geneva stripes beautify the surface of the main bridge, the screws are blued, and there is perlage on the base plate. If you’re a sucker for highly decorated hand wound movements, the exhibition caseback on the Antea does not disappoint.
Wearability and Straps
The dimensions are quite deceptive in that the Antea KS wears larger than specs suggest due its slim bezel, elongated lugs, and in my case a light-colored dial, making the Antea KS a versatile watch for a range of wrist sizes. It is a perfect fit for my 6.75 inch wrist, and I usually prefer my watches around the 40-42mm range. However, I should note that when I had a chance to try on a black-dialed Antea, I found that the slightly larger size of the day/date and automatic models looked better, since black watches tend to look smaller than their lighter-dialed counterparts.
The stock strap on the Antea, while suitable, was not to my liking. The main issue was that it felt a bit flimsy and too casual for the style of the watch. Instead, I outfitted the Antea with a Horween shell cordovan strap. Shell’s smooth, shiny, and understated quality is the perfect complement to the stripped-down aesthetic of the Antea. For a more playful look, you can also pair the Antea with a regimental nato strap. Whatever your prerogative, the drilled-through lugs make switching out the strap easy.
Though we don’t normally include customer service experiences in our reviews here at Worn and Wound, I believe that when one buys a watch, they’re also buying the brand and the people behind that brand. When buying a Stowa, you’re getting top notch customer service from a small company whose employees are dedicated to their craft and stand behind their product. Schauer is a regular contributor on watch forums, and the staff is extremely responsive to questions and customer service inquiries. When I first received my Antea, I noticed a slight blemish on the dial that was only visible under sunlight. I notified Stowa, and they immediately got back to me and paid for the shipping costs back to Germany. I had my watch back in less than two weeks, equipped with a brand new dial. Customer service like that is priceless.
The Antea is a fantastic watch and at approximately $815 shipped, you’re getting a great deal for a Bauhaus-inspired timepiece that won’t drain your wallet. If you prefer an automatic movement, or perhaps a larger watch, check out the rest of the Antea line for something that is better suited to your needs. Granted, it can be difficult to buy a watch sight unseen and the wait times can be killer, but that also works in your favor as Stowa watches generally don’t take a huge hit on the secondary market due to their overall scarcity.
The Antea, and the rest of the Stowa collection, can be purchased here.
written and photographed by Ilya Ryvin