If we delved a little into the history of chronometry, we would notice that the world never stopped perfecting the ancient art of watchmaking yet some moments in history have frozen legendary design style in time, a certain pack of features became timeless.
It says it all right?
We may not be able to put a finger on what exactly we need to call a watch timeless on the street but the school of Walter Gropius certainly did, what we do know is that a perfect balance struck up between style, functionality, and quality is always going to be the hallmark of the BEST ever.
And this is where Stowa comes in- a brand that has been a game-changer in itself since 1927. More than watches itself, Stowa has been an inspiration in quality and consistency to thousands of other brands.
And that one category of chronometers from the brand that has won a million hearts since its launch is the rooted in the original Bauhaus. With a spectacularly dignified design, the Stowa Bauhaus watches stand to be the epitome of elegance in premium watch-making.
And right now we’re gonna be reviewing the Antea 390; simply put a legendary Bauhaus watch from the house of Stowa.
Since we’re going to review a classic Stowa Antea for you in some time, it’s only plausible for you to understand how this magnificent range had come into being and done to perfection.
So, the Antea from Stowa takes its inspiration from the several models that were partly made using real gold in round or square shapes back in the mid-thirties. These earlier watches were somewhat based on the Lange watch models from that same year.
The dials of these Lange watches were made in Pforzheim, manufactured by none other than the largest dial company in the world back then: Weber & Baral.
These endlessly inspired the earliest Bauhaus from Stowa. In 2004, Jorg Schauer reissued the original 1937 watch from the brand, and the first Antea Classic was manufactured with straight-cut designs, different case sizes along with a manual wind or automatic movement.
The polished stainless steel case, the silver-plated dial, and the temperature-treated blue steel-watch-hands became the patented features of the category.
Finally, in 2015, Jorg Schauer together with renowned designer Hartmut Esslinger redesigned the Antea as we know it today, fusing the essential element of the traditional and authentic Bauhaus in the layout and, making it a unique blend of the traditional and the modern.
So now that we have contextually placed the brand, it’s finally time to bring you a review of a classic model from its house: the Antea 390 that is just a captivatingly beautiful chronometer from Stowa.
We’ll attempt to review each feature for you as well as our personal experience with it so that you understand the vital elements of the watch better.
At first look
The Stowa Antea 390, at first glance, looks every bit the elegant timepiece that the brand had intended it to be. It comes in a metal box that looks like a vintage valuables chest. The watch sits right in their snugly along with the warranty card provided by the brand.
The Antea 390 gives about a 39mm in dial measurement and a 20mm lug to lug distance. This is a large watch that wears ideally on any kind of wrist for that matter. It wears big and shows off its features boldy. The dimensions also ensure comfort without compromising on the overall style.
The thickness of the dial stands at a good 9.2 mm which isn’t quite heavy but still houses an elaborate ETA movement.
If the 390 is not a great fit for you, multiple sizes are available for the Antea line-up, you can see them here.
The dial and watch case
So, like every other Bauhaus from the brand, the Antea 390 too, comes with a polished silver coated stainless dial with a sapphire crystal dial face. These ensure maximum durability and a scratch and chip resistant structure through and through.
The sapphire crystal dial that the brand uses is manufactured by Weber & Baral. It looks exquisitely beautiful in whichever way you look at it. The silver-coated casing accentuates the entire look of the watch-face. It almost transitions and deviates between a soft cream and white tone at different angles.
The numerals are printed in a clean, straightforward and dignified font in the vintage Bauhaus style. The dial has the brand logo and the words “Made in Germany” printed across its face in black. The entire look is one of utmost elegance, bringing a perfect play of the elements for the perfect look.
Temperature-treated blue hands and back-screws
One of the things that impressed us the most about this watch is the temperature-treated blue hands on the dial as well as the screws that bolt down the back case. Now, why we are mentioning this is because temperature-treated watch hands and screws signify the worth and value of the brand itself.
These steel hands are subjected to a particular degree of heat to get that perfect blue color which glimmers dazzlingly when the light hits the dial at certain angles.
It is actually a highly expensive procedure and is usually found in the high-end watches that belong to luxury brands. Most brands that are not high-end use fake blue hands which can be discerned easily on closer inspection.
And this what makes Stowa amongst the very few that ensure the highest quality for each of its users.
The movement of the watch
Finally, let’s come to the movement of the Antea, it houses an ETA 2824-2 Swiss automatic movement. The push/pull crown on the watch offers us three positions. The first is self-winding, which is pretty smooth for an ETA 2824.
The watch has date-window on the dial that displays the date nice and fine. Pull the crown once to change the date. With the second pull, you’d be able to set the time by adjusting those beautiful blue hands on the dial.
It offers a bit of good resistance over here that allows you to set the time by the millimeter. Push the crown back into place, and you’re good to go with your Stowa.
The movement in itself is great providing you about +3 seconds a day that is pretty good. It comes with around 25 joules and a 38 hours power reserve which is amply nice.
The water resistance on the watch is 5ATM, so do not jump into the pool with it. It is more of a beautiful casual dress watch, a timeless timepiece, treat it as such.
The case back and watch strap
The case back is a sapphire crystal one that comes with a fully polished surface. It has the brand monogram stating the brand and model name, the place of manufacture and material around the circular structure of the watch. As had been mentioned earlier, the screws on the back have also been blued.
One of the features to notice over here is that the brand makes its own rotors that you can see engraved on the back with the brand logo.
This has a high-end ETA movement, and you can see the perlage, put together perfectly in there.
Coming to the watch strap, you get an 18mm hand-stitched leather strap for comfortable wear. It’s a cow-leather strap that is quite soft in texture.
The brand gives you a high-end and superior butterfly-clasp that ensures complete protection against the watch slipping off the wrist or the clasp coming undone.
What we did also notice about this is that there is a small slot for size adjustments which you can tweak with a screwdriver to get the ideal strap size for you.
All in all, it is a very flexible and soft strap that snaps right into place, giving you a comfortable and secure wear.
The cost and availability of the model
The model costs around 950 euros, which is of course subject to change. This makes it come down to a little over a thousand dollars in the States. In our opinion, this is an extraordinarily inexpensive price tag from an authentic German brand like Stowa and more so for a genuine 2428-2 Bauhaus.
Also, the watch does come with complete documents of authentication and certification as well as of genuine warranty from the brand itself. All of this makes the Stowa Antea 390 a stellar model that is worth every money you pay for it.
One of the things that should be stated on these lines is that Stowa never compromised on quality by investing money in retail and cover to lower the cost of its exemplary watches. The brand prides itself for providing complete customer satisfaction and most importantly, in maintaining a relationship of trust between the manufacturer and the customer.
The overall look of the watch itself makes it a masterpiece in superior craftsmanship. The model is available on the brand’s website, which you can easily access to avail.
What could have been better?
From a brand like Stowa that speaks of the highest degree of perfection and quality, there’s hardly anything that needs rectification of that sort. And the Antea 390, too, establishes the same for its users.
However, we would have liked probably a slimmer case, yet the case thickness is heavily restricted by the ETA movement, all in all, the STOWA Antea line-up is by far one of the most legendary timepieces in the world at the moment, a must-have for any Bauhaus enthusiast.
Needless to say that the thickness contributes to the powerful boldness exuded by the piece and this is not something that could dilute the admiration we had for this watch in any way whatsoever.
About the brand
Stowa was founded in the year 1927 in Hornberg, Black Forest by Walter Storz, and has been producing brilliant Bauhaus watches since the year 1937. A few specimens that have survived from that time period stands as some of the most incredible examples of brilliant craftsmanship that could be understood better on closer inspection.
The history of the brand during that period and the evolution of the styles are marked by the unbelievable hard work of every single person who has been a part and face of the brand itself.
One of the earliest designs ever in the range of Bauhaus styles that the brand had released was the Rectangular Bauhaus watches with a solid gold plated casing and Roman numerals. These are considered rare and invaluable items for collectors all over the world now.
Since then, Stowa has indeed done a sterling job of bringing a collection of absolutely marvelous timepieces that are not only matchless in form and structure but, most importantly, outstanding in preserving the uncomplicated and clean look of the classic Bauhaus style.
So, what is the “Bauhaus” style ?
The German word “Bauhaus” literally means “building a house”. It was actually the famous German school of art- Staatliches Bauhaus, that was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar during the early 1900s.
However, Bauhaus in terms of watches signifies a style that is based on the same principle as that of the art-school: “form follows function.”
This essentially means that the Bauhaus design is one which primarily focuses on the “functionality” of the object taking it to be the main element of the overall design, rather than hassle about creating an ornate structure artificially.
The Bauhaus ideology could be mainly seen in German watches which gave birth to this idea, following the rule of the form following the functionality of the watch and not the other way round.
This is why authentic German Bauhaus watches reflect a dynamism of form that is at the same time disarmingly simple and charming in overall structure.
Stowa’s Bauhaus History
The Bauhaus, although a very dated and traditional style in watches, has seen an enormous demand even in the current generation owing to its suave and chic appeal.
And for Stowa, there was simply no looking back since the launch of its first Bauhaus in the year 1937, which was truly a historical moment in German chronometry of newer times.
You could see some of the rarest models from that time at the Stowa museum that’s located in Engelsbrand.
Some of the most beautiful models that you could find on display over here are the “historical gold watches” from the brand. These include small, solid gold watches for women having Roman numerals or the rectangular gold, Arabic ones that are iconic collectors’ specimens.
Stowa finally brought in the touch of the modern in the year 2000 with a stunning contemporary twist to its classic models, redesigning the existing layouts with a modern approach regarding their shape, size, and versions.
The Stowa Antea 390 with its exceptional design and quality of performance, unquestionably stands in a different league from numerous other models that we come across. It is a time-tested, superior chronometer that almost fits every specification of the “perfect” watch that one could desire to possess, a physical piece of the brand’s heritage, a living contemporary heirloom, a must have piece of history for watch enthusiasts.
Bu how do you see it?
We would love to hear your thoughts about this timepiece in particular and STOWA overall in the comment section below!