You gotta hand it to Stowa. The German watchmaker famous for fliegers – the most conservative of watch genres – is kicking out the jams with the Stowa Onehand 44. It’s about as faithful to their 1927 pilot’s watch design as the camp remake of The Stepford Wives was to the deeply unsettling original. Look a little closer, though, and it’s clear there’s method to Stowa’s minimalist madness . . .
On one hand, money. Like every other watchmaker on planet earth, Stowa discovered that offering minor variations of a core product manufactured in small batches brings in big bucks. Limited edition watches are catnip for gullible and greedy – I mean discerning speculators. I mean, customers.
On the other hand, vanity. The Stowa Onehand 44 is the brainchild of Jörg Schauer, a German watchmaker who also happens to own Stowa watches. Not that you’d know it from the poorly translated ad copy promoting the LE at stowa.de – unless you noticed the unexplained use of the word “also” in the text.
Jörg Schauer has also been building single-hand watches for over 25 years. A design has prevailed that he has also repeatedly put to the test, but has not yet been able to improve. A classic typography with a very fine division results in a perfect combination with the typical 12-fold screwed Schauer case.
The Stowa Onehand 44 is nothing more or less than the Stowa CEO’s horological hobby horse: the Schauer Uhren Einzeiger.
Actually, it’s both more and less. To make the Onehand’s design more palatable to Stowa’s mainstream clientele, Schauer dialed-up the Einzeiger’s case size from 42mm vs. 44mm – improving the legibility by a significant margin. To make the Onehand less expensive, Schauer swapped the Einzeiger’s 18ct. pink gold hand for stainless steel.
According to Herr Schauer’s Stowa-branding-free website, the Einzeiger’s powered by the German DUROWE 7426-4 movement. That’s a bit misleading. The once gigantic movement maker died in the 70’s, killed by the quartz crisis. Herr Schauer bought the rights to the DUROWE name and slapped it on a Stowa-modified Unitas 6498 movement. Which also powers the Stowa Onehand 44.
The Stowa Onehand 44 is the boss’s attempt to move the metal his boutique brand couldn’t shift. At $2642.01, the Onehand will certainly find more buyers than the indeterminately more expensive Schauer Uhren Einzeiger (no price on their site and the phone number doesn’t work). And I gotta say: the Onehand looks both handsome and well made. But . . .
Schauer Uhren promises that “only 25 pieces each color [of the Einzeiger] will be made (creme, white, black and rhodium coated).” Stowa promises that “the model with black dial is limited to 100 pieces.” Hear that? It’s the sound of one hand clapping.
Stowa Onehand 44
Price: €2.400 ($2642.01)
Click here to purchase from Stowa (no commission paid)
Case Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 10.60 mm
Strap width: 24.00 mm
Lug-to-Lug size: 52.50 mm
Waterproof: up to 5ATM
Weight: 3.53 ounces (100 grams)
Case Material: Stainless steel, matt
Hand (singular): stainless steel, handmade
Movement: Caliber Unitas 6498 with handmade Schauer bridge
Mechanism: mechanical, hand wound
Specific features: limited to 100 pieces