STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik LE

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STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik leaf

STERNGLAS has released a new Hamburg model spin-off: the STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik. For each watch sold, the watchmaker makes a $17.80 donation to Coast against Plastic, a German environmental group that describes itself as “coastal people who no longer accept that the plastic waste literally falls at their feet by the sea.” If you’re a minimalist watch buyer who no longer accepts cheap watches that fall into your in-box, read on . . .

Overall, the STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik looks like a distinguished and discrete instrument. Like the rest of the Hamburg model line, the case is made of 316L stainless steel. It is, essentially, a large ring of glass and steel attached to a cowhide strap by two outer and almost straight lugs, with a round lip of stainless steel where the glass takes over from the metal.

Every bit of the case is polished, supporting a sapphire dome. The STERNGLAS’ glass rises nearly 3mm over the edge of the steel case, amplifying its reflections-bending shape. It makes you want to look at what’s on your wrist for the sheer pleasure of watching the glass play with the light.

STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik close up

The STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik features a thematically correct “satin deep blue” dial that gains richness and depth in direct light. As the dial approaches the edge, it curves out with a slight camber, adding a sense of relief and depth. The brushed rehaut reflects light back onto the dial, accentuating the impression.

The STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik’s blue hands continues the marine theme. Two tracks of white indices circle the dial. The outer track indicates the minutes, the inner marks the hours. The hour indices are zero-padded, reading “01”, “02” and so-on. The small indices rotate along the track instead of providing clean breaks in it.

Fluff shot

I suspect the hands’ luminescence was applied at sea; there’s paint all over their sides, in addition to a dangling piece of fluff. The hands glow orange as night falls, rotating around four markers, which glow silver. This is not the night light you’re looking for; I had to spend time in our walk-in pantry to confirm there was indeed any lume.

STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik caseback bird

On the flip side, the case recedes into the wrist towards a 37.4mm caseback held in place by four misaligned screws. Rubber seals are conspicuous by their absence. Hence the STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik’s 5 ATM water resistance rating. In common parlance, the German timekeeper’s splash-proof. Enjoying pride of place: a beautiful engraving of the Northern Fulmar, a North Sea bird famous for eating just about anything.

The content of the [dead] Fulmar’s stomachs are considered a reliable indicator of marine debris concentration. Researchers report a dramatic rise in the level of microplastics in the birds’ bodies. “In more than half of the birds, it is even more than the critical point of 0.1g of plastic. Grossed up accordingly to a human body size, this means you have 10g of plastic in your stomach.”

STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik caseback

Also on brand (metaphorically): the anti-plastic model is a featherweight, weighing in at 51g. That’s no surprise given its 6mm case height and the fact that the watch’s beating heart is a Swiss (oh!) quartz (ah) movement.

The Ronda 715 promises a five-year battery life, boasts hacking seconds – by pulling the crown two notches – and reduces power by 70 percent when you do so.

Recycle plastic logo

STERNGLAS engraves the crown with the “Replace Plastic” logo. FYI The charity has a Germany-only barcode scanning app (and website) that generates a “friendly message” to a manufacturer using plastic packaging asking to “reconsider” and to “offer the goods plastic-free in the future.”

PETA members need not apply. The STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik strap is made of black cowhide. The quick-release spring bars are practical enough but attach with a little bit of play. The small, STERNGLAS branded buckle small makes fitting your newly-purchased,  stiff strap through the aperture a bit of a challenge.

The press release draws our attention to STERNGLAS’ use of recycled materials for packaging (”trays made of biodegradable sugar cane waste instead of harmful Styrofoam”) and filling. The watch sent by Sternglas was delivered with DHL GoGreen, a climate-neutral German shipping offering. 

The watch industry has taken to “greenwashing” in a big way. The STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik continues the trend with a handsome and affordable timepiece that salves environmentally conscious consumers’ collective conscience. If you don’t like the color scheme or prefer a different STERGLAS model, feel free to buy an alternative and donate $20 to the cause. Either way, both organizations accept plastic.

Model: STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik
Price:
$299

SPECIFICATIONS

Diameter: 42mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire<
Movement: Ronda 715 quartz
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date
Water resistance: 5ATM
Weight: 51 grams

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Design * * * *
Elegant and slim. Very German.

Legibility * * *
Bold markers were cut for design and aesthetics. The hands are a shade too slim and the lume not lumey enough.

Comfort * * * * *
The ultra-light watch is quickly forgotten on the wrist.

Overall * * * *
The STERNGLAS x Küste gegen Plastik is a simple, cheap and beautiful watch. Priced to go, you get “free” karma points for helping a charity dedicated to eliminating ocean plastic.

The Truth About Watches is a fully independent website No commercial consideration provided by the manufacturer or seller. No payment for links. The model reviewed was provided by the manufacturer and sent back after review.

17 COMMENTS

  1. So the 6mm case thickness is excluding the height of the crystal, right? I’m a little perplexed by why they put 120 tickmarks on a quartz watch that presumably makes half as many beats per rotation. I guess it looks precise? There must be some sort of sealing surface on that case back, no? I’m glad to see a quartz movement photographed nonetheless.

    • Indeed, the specs read 6mm for the case thickness, while I chose to list an effective measurement of 9mm – it’s the domed crystal, as you mention. Which looks lovely viewed from the side, don’t you think?

      You’re not the only one to point out the oddly dense seconds track. Its only job, from my perspective, was to trigger anxiety as the hand would more often than not be off from a tick. But it might just be me… 😉

  2. This looks like a great watch – so much so that I just tried to order one. It’s out of stock already but they have plenty of similar watches. I’m on the email notification list for when they have more to sell.

  3. Either way, both organizations accept plastic.

    I see what you did there! 😉

    I realize this makes me a social troglodyte, but I find the corporate virtue signaling to be a turn-off. I’m actually LESS likely to buy. Not because I’m opposed to protecting the environment. I’m not. But, because it’s contrived virtue-signaling that insults my intelligence (I also see what they’re doing there). Charitable actions as braggadocio is a turn-off, man!

    • I hate to cite Fussel again but it’s applicable. From the BAD behavior chapter of 1991’s “BAD or, The Dumbing of America”…
      “Beneficence, congratulating oneself on one’s own. For example, including in a wedding invitation a card reading
      ‘We are aware of the plight of the less fortunate and homeless. Please bring a spare article of winter clothing.’
      The second sentence: acceptable behavior. The first: BAD.”

      Relegating the charity to the case back is much better than some cutesy logo or other kitsch on the dial. The logo on the crown is innocuous to me. I’m also giving a half point for the advocacy of minimizing plastic usage as opposed to the meritless feelgood hyping of unfeasible plastic recycling.

        • I mean this: the path from my home to the dump crosses no oceans–in fact, crosses no waterways. Why would it? But the trans-oceanic shipping trade is essential, as I understand it, to the plastics recycling industry. If my plastics end up in the ocean, which is more likely to be the culprit?

    • I absolutely see your point.

      Without saying I disagree with it, and without knowing anything about this particular deal (I did not ask the PR), I imagine it from the angle of there’s a local charity and a small watch brand that somehow agreed on a deal, which is in line with the watch company’s efforts over the last two years, and the result is a limited edition blue dial…

      Seems like as a consumer I get to buy something a little more exclusive, the watch company gets a PR tailwind, and the charity gets twelve grand. Win-win-win?

      • Sorry… I don’t see it that way (as a win-win-win). Besides finding virtue-signaling “charity” distasteful… I also will not enable another company or party to gain “social credit” on my dime. If they want to donate to their favorite cause, that’s great. But, if you’re using that to entice me or guilt me into some action, it will backfire. It has the opposite effect on me.

        For example… at Chili’s restaurant, they ask for donations for St. Jude. Mind you, St. Jude is one of the most worthy charitable organizations on the planet. But, if I want to give to them (and I have), I will do it directly. Why should my dollars help Chili’s restaurants get “social credit” and PR? Just bring me my burger. I don’t need nor want a middle man for charitable donations.

        That’s not to mention the lack of trust most of these organizations have earned (see Red Cross and United Way). Money just disappears. Nope. I’ll do it myself… and without fanfare or social media virtue-signaling.

        I stand by my position. It’s a REAL turn-off for me. I will actually go out of my way to AVOID being involved in such shenanigans. I realize that will make me a pariah among the sheeple. So be it. I’m quite comfortable in that role.

        • Once again: I see your point, and I am not saying I disagree with it. Clearly, you’re a free agent and a conscious, active economic actor (read: buyer).

          As far as this website is concerned, I’d be interested in testing your signalled behaviour (wink wink, I mean this in a friendly way 🙂) against the second-hand market: are limited, sponsored runs / “collabs” good investments or crap at retaining value?

          • Well, that’s an odd departure from the topic at hand. 🙂

            But…. I’m not a fan of “collabs.” Mind you, I’m fairly new to the watch collecting / enthusiast world. First… I’m NOT a fashion-brand-conscious person. It seems that a majority of the collabs are fashion-brands. I’ve literally never heard of ANY of them. I’m also not one to fawn over celebrity or make decisions based on celebrity endorsement. Similar to my aversion to charity-by-proxy, I’m more likely to AVOID products that are endorsed or marked up with endorsements (embossed signatures, images, logos, etc.).

            Furthermore, I don’t see ANY watch as an “investment,” nor do I even think about value retention. Just don’t care. I buy watches, guns, knives, cars, etc… to USE and enjoy for myself. When I had sports cars, I drove the SHIT out of them. I don’t buy special edition or collector guns. I buy guns to shoot them. I don’t and won’t own “safe” or “garage” queens.

            My 2nd “real” watch, a Rolex Yachtmaster, was gifted to me by my wife. I wore it every day, regardless of activity, for about 15 years. I wrote about it here. Go look at the “before” photos to see how well “loved” that watch is, and you’ll understand why I don’t care about value retention or resale value. 🙂

            I understand other people DO place “value” in collabs, endorsements, special editions, etc. It’s just not my “thang.” 😀 And, I’ve yet to come across a collab by a brand or person I’ve heard of. I guess I’m “out of touch” with current pop culture. Honestly… I’m glad I am!

            If I like it, I like it… and I’m going to use / wear it.

          • Hold on a sec! I just had an idea for a collab! A Glock X G-Shock collab!

            We can call it a “G-Lock!” Brilliant, I say!

            I’d buy that!

          • You can’t lump all collaborations together. IMHO there are two types that have staying power. The first is when the second party has a massive obsessive following that will actively pursue anything with the name on it. The second is when the resulting product is deemed an actual improvement, or at least prettier, than the original. The Sternglas may fall into the latter where as the former is almost entirely cultish fashion brands. Of course initial awareness (aka promotion or hype) in conjunction with limited supply are paramount too.

  4. I appreciate the reviewer opening the caseback to show the glaring white plastic movement spacer and primarily black plastic movement in this supposedly non-plastic watch.

    Nobody should feel bad about their Swatch or G-Shock. Plastic watches are not causing ocean plastic.

    Here is what is causing ocean plastic. The truth about ocean plastic:

    https://cei.org/opeds_articles/counterpoint-plastic-bans-wont-solve-ocean-plastic-problem/

    “Interestingly, the primary culprits weren’t straws, cups and plastic bags. In The Ocean Cleanup’s Pacific patch sample, 46 percent was fish nets. When combined with ropes and lines, it amounted to 52 percent of the trash.”

    “Other studies confirm that Asia is a substantial source of ocean garbage. Data in a 2015 Science published study revealed that China and 11 other Asian nations are responsible for 77 percent to 83 percent of plastic waste entering the oceans because of their poor disposal practices. A 2017 Environmental Sciences & Technology study reported that up to 95 percent of plastic waste enters oceans from one of 10 rivers — eight in Asia and two in Africa.”

  5. Hi Basile, I stumbled across your blog while looking for Sternglas Hamburg reviews. Not only do I love your irreverent yet wholly candid analysis, you helped me make up my mind coming from a country where $299 isn’t exactly “cheap” for a quartz watch, provenance be damned.

    Bonus point really for making me laugh out loud while reading it too. You’ve got a new fan in me!

    • Thank you for your kind words. You’re quite right to point out that 300 bucks isn’t little money in absolute terms. As far as enthusiast watches go, however, that’s not a lot – or at least it’s difficult to find a nice, original watch around this price mark 🙂

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