The Xetum Stinson is a watch that we’ve been curious about for quite some time. Known for its uniquely minimal design and Swiss made credentials, it stands to reason that this is a watch that has received a rather positive response from the watch community. And the Xetum brand itself is quite unique, but without trying too hard. Located in San Francisco, the company is committed to not only quality design but also sustainable operations, having taken several steps to limit their environmental impact. So we were excited to receive a Stinson for a few weeks of wear and closer consideration.
Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Strap: Brown Leather with cork lining
Water Res.: 100M
Lug Width: 20mm
Warranty: 30 day return / 2 year movement
What will likely strike you first about the Stinson is its lugless case design – the case is round and the band connects to lugs hidden on its underside. Measuring 40mm in diameter and 11mm tall, the Stinson’s modest size (by today’s standards) is made even more unassuming when paired with its lugless design. The sapphire crystal takes up most of the top case real estate when viewed from above however, leaving plenty of space for the dial, which we will discuss momentarily.
Along the side case you will note some nice detailing. There is a brushed base finish with polished stripes that work to break up the otherwise very simple design. Sitting between these two line details is the screw down crown of the Stinson, arguably the most bold aesthetic detail of the entire piece. the crown measures 5mm in diameter and protrudes from the case approximately 7mm. It takes a hexagonal shape which is rather uncommon for a crown.
While logic may lead you to believe this shape would make the crown easier to grip, in our experience, it did not. In fact the smooth edges of the hexagonal shape were quite difficult to grip. Generally speaking, for such a aesthetically simple watch, the crown seems a bit large and bold in comparison, but we also appreciate that this unique design may very well be what draws you to the watch in the first place.
Moving now to the rear of the watch case, you find an exhibition back with hardened mineral crystal revealing an ETA 2824-2 Swiss automatic movement. The movement rotor has been signed with the Xetum logo, which is a very nice touch on any movement, especially one visible through an exhibition case. Along the rim of the case back you will also see important watch specifications, such as its 100M water resistance and indication that the watch is Swiss made.
The Stinson comes in several color variants, and the model we reviewed came with a very nice off-white dial. The dial is easy to read due in great part to the stark contrasting of the light off-white base dial color and black numbering. Small minute/second hash markers line the outer rim of the Stinson, with hour indicators positioned just slightly inward from there. There are large numerical markers, colored white with black outlining, at 12, 3, 6, and 9, and slightly smaller black numeral markers at each additional hour. Moving further inward there is an additional set of small hash markers for the minutes/seconds, which aesthetically works on the dial, but is functionally a bit redundant. But hey, if it looks good, that’s all that really matters.
The date window at 3 o’clock features black lettering on a white background, which allows it to blend easier with the off-white dial. On the opposite side of the dial is the Xetum insignia, positioned vertically, which is a very interesting choice and certainly a point of distinction from a design perspective. At 6 o’clock you find the word automatic, and at 12 o’clock there is a small green hexagonal dot, referring to the crown shape.
The hour and minute hands of the Stinson are straight fence post style while the second hand is a long black needle reaching the outer rim of the dial. Both the hour and minute hands are lumed, as are the 12, 3, 6 and 9 hour indicators. Taken together, the design of the Stinson dial is clearly driven with legibility in mind, and this is achieved through contrasting coloration and minimal ornamentation. That said, between the vertical Xetum logo, green dot at 12 o’clock and secondary minute register, there is a fair amount of quirkiness build into the Stinson’s design, which makes it seem less robotic or cold.
The strap that came with the stinson we reviewed was brown leather with Italian cork lining and contrast white stitching. The back of the band is actually quite unique and the strap was generally quite comfortable to wear. The signed metal deployment clasp hardware is also well made and pleasant to use.
What you likely won’t know from simply looking at this strap is that it has been designed and built with environmental sustainability in mind. First, the leather was tanned using vegetable-based dye, rather than less-environmentally friendly substances like chromium. Chromium used in dying can end up in soil and the water supply with a potentially negative impact on vegetation and wildlife. Second, with the inside of the strap being lined with cork, rather than more leather, Stinson has reduced its use of leather, which of course has a number of benefits to the environment, not to mention our cow friends.
The Xetum Stinson, due to its clean, simple aesthetic, quality build, and fairly unique design, has developed a rather broad appeal. Its unique design and quality components make it a great daily wear that you can depend on. We also really like the steps Xetum has taken to limit their impact on the environment, without compromise to the quality of their product. Not to mention, it is great to see such great design coming out of an American company. At $995, the Xetum Stinson pushes the limits of affordability for a three-hand watch with a stock ETA movement. That said, for all of the reasons listed above, the Stinson also does quite a bit to stand out from the crowd. So if you’re in the market for a aesthetically minimal, quality Swiss made watch, we definitely recommend considering the Stinson.