Stowa Celebrates 90 Years (and Some History on DUROWE)

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This year marks Stowa’s 90th anniversary of uninterrupted watchmaking, and the Black Forest-based brand is celebrating the milestone in a big way. First, Stowa will be offering an entire range of limited-edition Fliegers, taking its already existing catalogue and mixing things up with a handful of small changes. The most significant of those changes is that all anniversary Fliegers will feature “Old Radium” lume. Also, all will have engraved cases, custom rotors, and will be presented in a custom watch box. Furthermore, Stowa is unveiling the Flieger Classic Chronograph Tachymeter, a sportier riff on the firm’s popular, single-register chronograph. To accommodate the sparse tachymeter scale bordering the dial, the case has been bumped up to 43mm. There will be 90 numbered units available of each watch. For a full rundown of all available anniversary models, click here.

Stowa 90th Anniversary Flieger Marine
Stowa celebrates its 90th anniversary with a series of watches. Introducing the Marine Automatic Blue (L) and the Flieger Klassik 40 with “old radium” (R).

Going beyond the Fliegers, the more exciting release, in my opinion, comes in the form of Marine Automatic Blue powered by a new-old stock DUROWE 7526-4 automatic caliber.

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Some history on DUROWE. DUROWE, or Deutsche Uhrenrohwerke, was a German movement manufacturer founded in 1933 by Ludwig Hummel. At the time, the German watchmaking industry was heavily reliant on the Swiss for movements. Hummel, who had also co-founded LACO, saw DUROWE as a way to ween German watchmakers off the Swiss. The manufacture saw near immediate success, producing at its peak 30,000 movements per month before the start of the Second World War.

The original DUROWE factory was destroyed during an Allied bombing raid, but with the help of the Marshall Plan the company was up and running not too long thereafter. By the mid-‘50s, DUROWE was producing 80,000 movements a months. By the late ‘60s and ‘70s, DUROWE was the largest German movement producer, making upwards of one million movements a year.

Durowe7440
Jorge Schauer’s DUROWE Kaliber 7740, a reworked Unitas.

In the years that followed, DUROWE saw a revolving door of ownership, being owned by TIMEX for a time before, quite ironically, being bought by Ebauches S.A., which eventually merged into ETA, Switzerland’s most prolific movement producer. DUROWE, like so many others, was hit hard by the quartz crisis, sinking away into oblivion. That is, until Jorge Schauer purchased the rights to the movement maker in 2002. Not only did Mr. Schauer get his hands on a stack of new-old stock movements—some of which were used in special-edition Stowa and Schauer-branded watches—he also developed the “Kaliber 7440,” a DUROWE-branded reworking of a Unitas 6498 featuring a three-quarter plate, new bridges and Schauer’s “Duoreg” regulation system.

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Stowa-Marine-Blue-Durowe
The Marine Automatic Blue with a new-old stock DUROWE 7526-4 automatic caliber, without or with date.

Now, back to the watch. The Marine Automatic Blue measures 40mm across, 10.2mm thick, and has a lug-to-lug height of 48.6mm. The dial is matte blue with grey printed numerals, and the hands are high-polished. There are two available versions—one with and without date. While I personally prefer the symmetry of the no-date model, the one with the date at three preserves the original DUROWE date wheel. It’s a bit visually jarring to my eyes, but something worthy of note for the most hardcore of collectors. Being that the DUROWE 7526-4 is an older movement, it doesn’t hack but it does have a quick-set date. It is also left unadorned. All in all, this is a pretty cool package that celebrates one angle of Germany’s rich watchmaking history. The Marine Automatic Blue is limited to just 250 units.


For more information, visit Stowa Watches.

 

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Ilya is worn&wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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