Introducing the Stowa Marine Classic 36 with a Hand Wound Movement

German brand Stowa has quietly released a new version of their popular Marine Classic in a 36mm handwound variant. Stowa had previously introduced a virtually identical watch with an automatic caliber, but this is the first time they’ve offered this signature design with a manually wound movement in a smaller size. This classic design, based on so-called “deck watches” used by the Royal Navy, has an almost inherently seafaring aesthetic, and is both highly legible and classic enough in appearance to be worn casually or as a dressier piece. At this size, the watch really takes on a different personality, and will perhaps be more versatile on a wider variety of wrist sizes.

Stowa Marine Classic 36 Hand Wound

  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: White  
  • Dimensions: 36 x 8.10 x 44.6mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire 
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM  
  • Crown: Push/pull   
  • Movement: ETA 7001
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather strap  
  • Price: $908 
  • Reference Number: n/a
  • Expected Release: Available now

This style of watch has its roots in one of the oldest types of mechanical timekeepers: the marine chronometer. Used by ship captains for navigation in combination with a sextant, marine chronometers were typically housed in large boxes attached to the deck of the ship itself, designed to keep the chronometer isolated from the movement of the vessel at sea. The mid eighteenth century saw enormous developments in precision timekeeping standards, and eventually these watches moved from ship decks, to pockets, and after many, many years, to wrists. All the while, a familiar time tested design was often used, incorporating long, heat tempered hands and railroad track minute markers and large, black Arabic or Roman numerals against a crisp, white dial. 

Stowa made their first marine chronometer all the way back in 1939, and began designing and releasing tributes to this historic genre of timekeeping in 2002. A variety of subtly different variations on the theme have been made since then, with both long sweeping seconds hand, subsidiary seconds registers, precious metal versions, and even a chronograph. The new 36mm size is a welcome addition, as this style of watch, with an expansive white dial and thin bezel, has a tendency to wear large. Of course, size aids in legibility, so it’s fitting that previous Marine Classics have come in at 40mm and above. But if your wrist is on the smaller side, or if you just have a preference for something a little more discreet, this design in a smaller size will be a welcome option. The use of the manually wound movement keeps the watch thin at just 10.5mm, but with a lug to lug length of 44.6mm, the Marine Classic is maybe a bit bigger than what we’d think of as a typical “vintage” sized watch. This should be quite comfortable for many, and not look ridiculous on those of us who are larger wristed.

At around $908, based on today’s exchange rate, the 36mm Marine Classic represents a solid value for enthusiasts seeking something with a traditional and historic design. Stowa, as is typical, adds plenty of value to their product just by the nature of how they build their watches. Stowa offers a high degree of personalization – all of their watches can be engraved (for a small fee) with important names or dates to commemorate a specific occasion, person, or accomplishment. Engravings are made on the movement itself, which can be seen through the display caseback. Finishing on the movement includes plenty of Geneva striping, which is a great look on a handwound movement like the ETA 7001 used in the new Marine Classic. 

The Stowa Marine Classic in a new 36mm diameter is available now on Stowa’s website. Stowa

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.