The dive watch’s resurgence is hard to miss – and easy to diss. The genre’s popularity is inversely proportionate to the number of people who dive. Never mind. In the interests of staying in business, Germany’s STERNGLAS says they’ve “listened to their community” calling for a dive watch. The STERNGLAS Marus Automatik is the result . . .
First impression: the STERNGLAS Maurus is a weighty piece. The timepiece tips the scales at just under 100g (3.53 ounces). Add another 100g for the metal bracelet. That’s a hunk-a hunk-a of 316L stainless steel. Cocaine analogy aside, wearing this 42mm water resistant watch, you feel every gram.
STERNGLAS’ diver is the polar opposite of fragile and delicate: it’s a machined piece of metal that happens to house a delicate mechanical movement. The case aligns with the bezel and recedes slightly at the top and bottom, measuring 53.8mm lug-to-lug. The metal is slightly brushed, marked with sharp edges.
STERNGLAS offers what mainstream watch blogs call a “value proposition.” The finishing betrays the simplicity of the machining. Hit them at the right angle and the case’s edges and vertices would dent wood and metal. The contact between the bezel and crown is rough, betraying a lack of polishing or abrasive brushing.
The unidirectional bezel marks minutes in increments of five, rotating counter-clockwise. The rotating “click” is as sharp as a Shun Santoku, with minimal play.
The engraved numbers on ever-so-trendy “circular burst” green dial version (NEW!) are the soul of discretion – just the thing for divers keeping track of their air supply. Not.
In their defense, the small, monochromatic indices are a versatile choice for those who want a dive watch that does double duty as a dress watch. But the design puts the Marus more than slightly outside the traditional dive watch genre.
The black dial Marus’ slightly contrasting black ceramic insert, with white indices, rectifies the “issue.” It creates a less monolithic, more elegant form-follows-function look while being miles better for timing boiled eggs (as RF is wont to do).
Both dial options include painted markers: batons for the hours, dots on the outside track for the minutes. The date window at 6 o’clock does its best to match the dial, though the green flavor is slightly on the darker side. The green dial’s circular brushed finish projects a distinctly metallic look. The black satin dial variant has a beguiling silken finish.
The STERNGLAS Marus’ simple silver hands are entirely in keeping with the brand’s Bauhaus minimalism – a welcome break from the funky styles best (worst) seen on Seiko Turtles. The Marus’ hour and minute hands are filled with green Super-LuminNova, ideal for nighttime legibility.
The Marus’ dial text – viewed through a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating – is also suitably discreet. It combines a proclamation that batteries need not apply (i.e., Automatik) with a clear statement of the screw-down caseback’s tool watch qualifying water resistance (“200m = 660 feet”).
The caseback is engraved with a boat-load of technical details circling an abstract contour map of a seabed. A Miyota 8215 beats away underneath the protective cover. It’s a cheap-and-cheerful little thing with a 42-hour power reserve and -20 to＋40 seconds per day accuracy.
If you turn the STERNGLAS Marus’ crown counterclockwise, you can hack (stop) the second hand to set the time precisely. Right until you can’t, because it’s not designed to do so. Setting the watch is a comical moment; there’s plenty of play whichever way you turn the crown.
The Miyota’s spinning rotor is as loud as a Hawaiian shirt at a black tie soirée, particularly when you move your wrist to a vertical position. The rotor’s so loud my partner insisted that I remove the Marus at night.
This is a tale of two dials and two straps, and any combination thereof. Both rubber and steel attachments measure 20mm across. The “fluoro” black rubber strap (a $47 option if you buy the steel bracelet) is super smooth, comfortable, just as stretchy as it should be and no more.
If you buy the rubber strap Marus and order a metal bracelet (a $108 option), rest assured it matches the case’s steel, held in place by a branded butterfly buckle. STERNGLAS’ quick release system makes tool-less strap swapping a breeze.
The STERNGLAS Marus is a dive watch, but not as we know it. In fact, the Marus is best viewed as an elegant swim compatible everyday or dress watch. Which is just as well given “proper dive watch” competition from the likes of Seiko, Citizen and Orient at around the same price point. In short, it you like the look, you’ll really like the price and love the watch.
Model: STERNGLAS Marus Automatik
Price: $579 on a steel bracelet, $529 on a rubber strap
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Miyota 8215
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date
Water resistance: 20ATM
Weight: 96 grams
RATINGS (out of five stars)
Design * * *
A dive watch that doesn’t look like a dive watch, in keeping with STERNGLAS’ Bauhaus minimalism
Legibility * * * * *
As you’d expect.
Comfort * * * *
The rubber bracelet is particularly comfy and the steel bracelet is well made, but the Marus’ tall profile and weight drag it down. So to speak.
Overall * * * *
Sternglas’ first dive watch is for people who don’t want a dive watch that says “dive watch.” Final star deducted to burdensome weight and less than stellar finish.
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I find both the Bauhaus/minimalist and diver styles to be stale and formulaic, but this mashup remedies that. I’ve been wondering why, just to get a fidget bezel, the entire package of a chunky watch with a coin-edged inlaid bezel and big lume pips on the dial must come along for the ride. Danke for not going with the superfluous exhibition case back, Sternglass. And I’m oddly fond of the native tongue text back there too.
I like the knurling on both the crown and bezel edge, industrial without being aggressively sporty. To be honest, I’m most excited to hear about these double knob quick release spring pins. That means one can just slide things in square in one step instead of the old angled two step.
A dive watch that doesn’t look like a dive watch
More like a non-dive watch that sort of looks like a dive watch, but is in no way a dive watch.
Accuracy seems awful even for a mechanical movement
I suspect that they are way too honest with these accuracy ratings. Instead of giving a range that 99.44% of units will meet, I think this is absolute worst case guarantee. As if they’d calculated what would happen if every single input was on the pass/fail line, it will still meet that spec.
I never used a Timegrapher or any of those apps, but I’d know and object if any watch was off by over three minutes in a week. I think Mr. Simon would have noticed this and mentioned it were it the case, but he can confirm.
Not sure why this review is so positive, to be honest.
1. The watch is huge (53.8mm L2L!), so too big to
2. The movement is mediocre (why no 9x series Miyota?), and noisy
3. The hour and minute hands are basically identically shaped and sized
4. The bezel doesn’t look like it reads well
I dont know who this review is for – it’s to bulky to be dressy and too stuffy in design for a dive watch.
1, So…. “too big” for you, according to an arbitrary rule. “Huge?” Hardly (see below)**. It’s only 42-mm wide.
2. Perhaps. I’ve got one watch with a Miyota 9015 that works quite well and is remarkably accurate. I can’t speak for the 8XXX series. But, I would not be super-pleased with a -20 to +40 s/d accuracy. I guess I’m spoiled. 🙂
3. It would seem that way in the photos, but it may not be that way in “real life.” I submit that legibility may not always be portrayed accurately in photos. My Lunar Pilot has very similar hands, and I find it very legible.
4. I would agree and wouldn’t really consider it a dive-WORTHY watch. But, the average dive watch wearer doesn’t even own a snorkel. It’s more about the general style.
**I have a 7-inch wrist. I’ve got four watches I enjoy immensely with L2L dimensions even bigger than this. The biggest (G-Shock Frogman) is 3-mm longer and 11-mm wider than the Marus Automatik. Now, THAT is a big watch. 🙂 My Bulova Sea King is 55.5 x 49. That’s a big watch, too. And, I love it.
It’s all ultimately a matter of taste. It doesn’t really float my boat, either. I like to say, “Your mileage may vary.” 🙂
Cheers, and stick around!
Good eye on the hands. I’d agree that the hour hand would ideally be shorter, to fall within the index circle without overlap. I won’t begrudge their shape or the thin, non-contrasting bezel as these are presumably for sleekness over total functionality. The bezel numbers could always be colored in with a china marker for a temporary modification in your choice of color.