Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport Review

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When I think Stowa, my mind immediately jumps to the Flieger. It is undoubtedly the watch that Stowa is best known for, and under the helm of Jorge Schauer the famed German firm has done consistently well with its many takes on this style. In the last couple of years, Stowa has slowly made some additions to its cataloge, introducing watches like the TO1 TESTAF, TO2, and the Flieger GMT with the intention of contemporizing both the aesthetics and functionality of the flieger lines.

STOWA-FLIEGER-KLASSIK-SPORT_dial_1

This past summer Stowa quietly unveiled a new flieger collection dubbed the Flieger Klassik Sport. Where watches like the TO2 and TO1 marked a radical design departure for the brand, the Klassik Flieger Sport brought things back to basics. By keeping the overall look of the classic flieger, and pairing it with a more robust and sportier case, Stowa created a watch many of us have been waiting for. Today, we go hands-on with a watch from my personal collection–the Flieger Klassik Sport A-dial without date and logo.  Let’s take a closer look.

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$1175

Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport Review

Case
316L Brushed Stainless Steel
Movement
Top-Grade ETA 2824 with Custom Rotor
Dial
Matte Black
Lume
C3 SuperLuminova
Lens
Domed Sapphire w/AR
Strap
Rubber
Water Resistance
200m
Dimensions
43 x 51mm
Thickness
12.8mm
Lug Width
24mm
Crown
7
Warranty
Price
Price
$1175

Dial and Case

The dial and handset of the Flieger Klassik Sport are lifted straight from the classic series. In keeping with that, Stowa still offers a sterile dial (with or without date), a logo dial (also with or without date), a B-dial, and a grey Ikarus dial. As we’ve come to expect from the brand, the hours and minutes hands are temperature-blued steel. Because thermally treated hands are much harder and more expensive to produce than hands that are simply painted or chemically colored, they’re usually reserved for higher-end watches. The payoff, however, is that temperature-blued hands are far more interesting visually, and inimitable in terms of both color and luster. Under certain lights they look black, that is until they catch the light and turn a saturated blue.

STOWA-FLIEGER-KLASSIK-SPORT_dial_4

The dial is a gorgeous matte black with excellent printing and generously applied C3 Super Lumi-Nova that gives the markers an almost 3-D quality. It’s a simple dial, for sure, but I would argue that simple dials are even harder to pull off because there is absolutely no room for error. The execution here is flawless.

Now, let’s get to the case. It comes in at a width of 43mm, a height of 12.8mm, a lug-to-lug size of 51mm, and a lug width of a whopping 24mm. I know a number of you already thinking, “this thing is a dinner plate!” And believe me, as a card-carrying member of the smaller-watches-are-better club, I completely understand the sentiment. With that said, trust me when I say that this is not an oversized watch. Yes, there is certainly some added wrist presence, but it doesn’t wear like 43mm watch. But more on this later.

One of the first things I noticed when the watch was announced was the general height and thickness of the bezel. I initially though it looked too big and unrefined, and rather out of proportion with the diameter of the dial. Fortunately, this is a perception exacerbated by flatly lit product photography which only gives the bezel the appearance of being thicker than it truly is. In the metal, the bezel has a steep slope, which ultimately helps break it up visually. In profile, the bezel only looks large when the watch is off the wrist; when worn it looks perfectly balanced.  Aesthetics aside, the added height of the bezel actually serves a functional purpose. It accommodates the extra thick domed sapphire crystal sitting atop of the case, which allows for significantly better water and pressure resistance. The crystal also has an excellent antireflective coating, one that is much better than what I’ve seen from the classic series.

The stainless steel case is actually made up of two parts: the combined mid case and bezel, and the screw down case back. Overall, the case finishing is excellent, with brushing that is both fine and precise. It is essentially the same case as the one on the TO2, with the only discernible difference being the crown. The TO2 features a push-pull diamond crown capable of 200 meters of water-resistance. The Klassik Sport replaced it with a much simpler screw-down assembly, roughly 7mm in diameter and also rated to 200m. There is a somewhat noticeable gap between the case and the crown when screwed in, but it will not effect water resistance as all the O-rings are fully engaged.

STOWA-FLIEGER-KLASSIK-SPORT_crown_1

My only significant issue with the case is the logo engraving on the crown. As you can see from the photos, the etching looks a bit crooked and unfinished. It’s certainly a minor fault, but it’s also not something I’ve come to expect from Stowa. Given that my watch is a very early serial, I would be curious to see if more recent production runs have since rectified the issue. Nevertheless, the logo has not diminished my enjoyment of this watch in the slightest, but I imagine it might if you’re less forgiving.

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Movement

The screw down case back features a large sapphire viewing window displaying a highly decorated top-grade ETA-2824 with a custom rotor by Stowa. This higher tier movement comes with a number of improved elements, namely the shock protection, springs, and balance wheel. Structurally, it is the same as a chronometer-rated 2824, just without the official COSC certification. It also features greater finishing than its basic and elabore counterparts, and includes Geneva Stripes, perlage, blued screws, and a handmade rotor with an engraving mimicking those found on the case backs of historical fliegers. After wearing the watch regularly for the past two months, I found it to be exceptionally accurate at approximately +2 seconds a day.

 

Straps and Wearability

The Flieger Klassik Sport comes paired with a 24mm natural rubber strap and push button deployant clasp.  The rubber strap is an unorthodox choice on the pilot’s watch, but given that it is intended to be an all-around timepiece a waterproof strap does make sense. The natural rubber is comfortable on the wrist and doesn’t pull on hair, and features a smooth topside with a waffle-like pattern underneath.  Sizing is simple; you just cut off the extra material at the ends where the clasp attaches. There are also several points for micro adjustment on the clasp, so play with that and measure twice before cutting down to your preferred size.

STOWA-FLIEGER-KLASSIK-SPORT_dial_5

As previously mentioned, the lug width comes in at 24mm. The strap is not a precise fit against the case and there is a small gap between the lugs and the strap. It’s not too extreme, but it is something definitely worth noting. And to sort of piggyback off that point, I do think that the case would have been better served with a 22mm lug width. 24 just seems a tad wide against a 43mm case, especially if you consider that the 40mm case has 20mm lugs. Again, by no means a deal breaker, but rather a wishful musing.

Now, I am about to do a complete 180 on the smaller-is-better gospel often preached across watchdom; 43mm is a great size for this watch, and I wouldn’t want it any smaller. Before you burn me at the stake, hear me out. I’ve already discussed how the case and bezel design temper the overall size. At 51mm the lug-to-lug length is also a bit deceptive, because it doesn’t account for the downward curvature of the lugs which allows the case to hug the wrist. The overall effect is that the watch wears somewhat similar to its smaller 40mm brother without sacrificing presence. As such, it works on a wide range of wrists, including some that you might not expect given the dimensions. Case in point: photos here show the watch on my 6.75-inch wrist. Not bad, right?

STOWA-FLIEGER-KLASSIK-SPORT_WRIST_1

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Conclusion

The Flieger Klassik Sport is a great addition to Stowa’s ever-growing catalogue. One of my favorite watches is (or rather, was) my logo-free 40mm flieger. I loved its simplicity, and few watches could match its inherent beauty and legibility. But one of its biggest shortcomings was the case. I was always disappointed with its rather weak water-resistance. Sure, it’s a pilot’s watch and not a diver, but I’m not a pilot. I just want a watch that I can wear to the beach without having to worry about it getting ruined. So the Flieger Klassik Sport offers that middle ground, and I was more than happy to trade up.

The Flieger Klassik Sport is available Stowa.de for €1270 ($1396.48), or €1067.23 ($1173.52) without VAT.

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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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19 responses to “Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport Review”

  1. Svetoslav Popov says:

    I like Stowa and own Marine Original, but this case I don’t like, especially for a flieger. The bezel is thick and ugly for my taste.

  2. chenpofu says:

    it would be cool to have side by side comparison to the 40 mm version.

    • Ilya Ryvin says:

      Of course there are plenty of divers I can wear to the beach, but there is really no reason, practically speaking, for me to have to own two separate watches for something as simple as going to the beach. Making a case with upped water-resistance isn’t exactly rocket science. I owned the 40mm flieger and loved the watch, but the new Sport model is undeniably more versatile. It’s not a forced knock; it’s simply my experience having owned both watches.

      • chenpofu says:

        Would love to see a shot of the flieger at the beach.

      • egznyc says:

        Thanks for the review. I understand your desire to have the flieger look with the additional water resistance. Surely there must be some otter good options in this regard, no? Nonetheless this is a great looking piece.

        • Ilya Ryvin says:

          My point is basically this: It’s 2016. We know how to make a watch water resistant, and it’s not a prohibitive process. If I were absolutely smitten with the 40mm flieger and it was going to be my one watch, I’d be disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to expose it to certain reasonable elements, like swimming in a pool. And relatively speaking and according to modern conventions, a flieger is in many ways a sporty watch, and many brands treat it as such. So based on this criteria and my own personal experience of owning both watches, I have come to the conclusion that I much prefer the new Sport model. It’s not a knock on the original piece. it’s simply what works better for me and my life, and I’d imagine the same might apply to others.

          • egznyc says:

            Maybe you misunderstood me – I completely agree that it’s nice to have a flieger that you can get wet! I just wonder if there are other fliegers by other brands that look this good and are at least 100m water resistant. I would think there’s a few good options out there but maybe not?

          • Anthony Dimaano says:

            IWC MK watches have screw down crowns. For a more affordable option, try the Time Factors Speedbird 3. I have this watch and love it!

          • egznyc says:

            Anthony, thanks for your suggestions. Timefactors was not a brand I was familiar with, so I had a look and even found a review of the PRS-22. It certainly has a good movement and solid specs (100m water resistance is adequate for most activities). I don’t mind the stripped-down aesthetic, although 39mm sounds on the slightly small side (for a flieger; it’s a great size for some other styles, IMO). But I’m having an even harder time with the hands – they just don’t seem thick enough for this style. But how is the lume, both on the hands and the dial? (And do you miss the 6 but prefer having a date?)

  3. Никита says:

    Looks surprisingly good on your 6.75 inch wrist! I was expecting it to wear much bigger, so I never considered this model for purchase. Now I see it is actually a beatiful piece.

  4. sfbaydawg221 says:

    I have the 40mm and it fits my 6.5in wrist perfectly. The strap is superior to my Laco Leipzig B-uhr. BTW Stowa also offers these with the SW 215 manual wind movement.

    • Svetoslav Popov says:

      I have Laco Dorthmund and it is perfection. Because of it I will never get another Flieger.. They all seem unconvincing and pretentious.

  5. Alex Vildiridis says:

    I don’t normally really like pilots, but this is a good one! great review too 🙂 The movement being a Top Grade ETA is also pleasing

  6. Mazen says:

    Final verdict; which one do you like more? This or the classic line at 40mm?

    I haven’t received mine yet because I opted for a manual movement and paying the price in extreme delays now, but that aside, the crown worries me and so does the bezel. I was expecting a larger dial to be honest since it is a larger case but it’s clear that the dial is exactly same size as the classic line sized 40, hence my worry 🙂

    • Ilya Ryvin says:

      I prefer this one. I love the flieger aesthetic, and the new Sports line allows me to enjoy that without having to worry about the conditions I expose the watch to.

  7. Boogur T. Wang says:

    Vdery good review – Thank you.
    Stowa is finally getting some recognition for the fine marque that they are.
    Beautiful pic of the reverse side. Good comparison with the 40mm.

    • egznyc says:

      I’d say Stowa has been getting good recognition for some time now. I really liked a few they made using a Unitas 6497(8?) movement which was nicely decorated – wish I remembered which one – that I was able to have a good look at. Unfortunately, they were much thicker than necessary – maybe to offset the extra diameter?

  8. Ken says:

    I see what you mean by the crown and I can’t wait to see what a 24mm strap (rubber, really?) looks like.

  9. Randy S says:

    Looks great on the brown leather strap in the photos above. This doesn’t appear to be a optional Stowa strap (from searching the website). If not, what strap is it?