Steinhart, makers of the venerable Ocean Vintage Military, made an extremely exciting announcement this morning… They’ve released their own caliber! The ST. 1 premium is their first foray beyond decoration and into actual movement modification. The heavily decorated ST. 1 features a radial striped ¾ plate (a plate type often seen in watches from the Glashütte region) contrast plated wheels, skeletonized ratchet wheel, perlage under the ratchet and balance, screw balance and more. It will also come in 3 color variations; gold, silver and black. The look of this movement is luxurious and impressive, emphasizing the large-scale balance, ratchet and crown wheels.
Now, this is not a true “in-house” movement, which is to say they did not design, engineer and build their own design in-house, but rather, this is a substantial rebuild of an existing ETA caliber, the Unitas 6497-1. As such, the ST. 1 is a handwound caliber with 17 jewels and a frequency of 18,000 bph. The Unitas is a great movement for them to modify to be their own as it is very reliable and its extra large size allows for decoration to all the more visible. This is a typical way for a brand to create a signature design without having to invest in the r&d and equipment necessary to create genuine in-house calibers. Nevertheless, it is an impressive step into being a more full-featured watch manufacturer for Steinhart to take.
No word yet on pricing or what watches the ST. 1 will be available in, but given the brands reputation, we suspect that it will be surprisingly affordable. And since the ST. 1 is based on the Unitas, a movement they have used regularly in their marine and pilot watches, I wouldn’t be surprised to find new “premium” variations on those watches coming out soon. Hopefully, they will also use the opportunity to create new original watches that feature the movement. Regardless, expect them to be very popular, sell fast and potentially be collectible.
by Zach Weiss