Sternglas is a Hamburg, Germany based watch company that designs all of it’s watches with the Bauhaus school of design in mind. Bauhaus, which means “building house” in German, was started in Weimar, Germany by Walter Gropius. Bauhaus became one of the most influential entities of modern minimalist design. The Bauhaus school was located in three different locations during its lifetime from 1919 to 1933; Weimar, Dessau and finally Berlin. As a side note, the third and final location of the Bauhaus school in Berlin was run by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who later emigrated to the US in 1937. He became the head of the architecture school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. My father knew him there while attending IIT to become an architect.
Sternglas offers five different lines of minimalist mens watches as well as women’s watches, with either automatic or quartz movements. For this review I have the men’s Naos, a two hand, quartz date watch design. Available in a silver case with either a white or black face, options include two different brown leather watch straps as well as a silver Milanaise bracelet. As a Bauhaus watch assembled in Asia, Sternglas watches are a far more affordable alternative to watches made by the very famous Nomos Glashutte. Nomos Glashutte is a 29 year old German watchmaker that designs it’s watches in Berlin, about 180 miles from Sternglas, who designs it’s watches in Hamburg.
The 9.4mm thick, 38mm in diameter Naos is a relatively small men’s watch that measures less than 46mm lug to lug with a 4.5mm diameter polished gear edge crown. It measures 20mm between the lugs and the German, Bavarian made, soft, dark brown leather strap on my example includes quick releases. It has a polished silver, signed buckle with one fixed and one loose loop and the strap tapers from just under 20mm to just under 18.5mm. The 20mm lug width allows the Naos owner the option of choosing a virtually endless variety of straps. The silver case has nicely downturned lugs, which helps keep the watch relatively close on the wrist. The strap lugs actually are taller toward the strap connection points, something I have not seen before and to me is a welcome design change. The completely polished silver finish watch case has relatively thin flat sides that taper down like a bowl to the four screw, polished and engraved case back. The watch is topped off with a domed, beveled edge, sapphire crystal with double a/r coating.
Underneath this optimized crystal is a black printed on white face with six short and six long indices, 48 minute indices and six double numeral hour markers. The face is flawlessly printed. The three o’clock black on white date window is nicely moved inward which maintains symmetry to the watch face. The well proportioned black stick hour and minute hands complement this design perfectly. Correctly proportioned and tasteful branding information on the upper half of the face consists of the brand name above the smaller font word “ZEITMESSER”, German for time measurer or watch. The lower half of the face indicates, in two lines of the smaller font, that this watch is 38mm in diameter and a Bauhaus design. Oddly, the model name of this watch, Naos, does not appear anywhere on the watch.
Powering this minimalist design is a well proven, Swiss made, quartz Ronda 714 movement, which is stated to be accurate to -10/+20 seconds per month. I cannot easily confirm the movements accuracy since it does not have a second hand. This movement has five jewels with gold plating, per the Ronda website spec. I find this type of movement with a five year battery life to be the perfect choice to power this watch for the occasional wearer. Interestingly, Ronda states that pulling out the crown will reduce battery consumption by 70%! I do not know if any other aspect of the watch’s operation is affected by pulling the crown out, but I imagine it’s 50m/5atm water resistance rating would be compromised.
Sternglas is also, at this time, in the preorder phase for the Naos watch powered with Miyota automatic movements. By assembling the Naos line in Asia, this German timepiece is quite affordable without making any compromises. If a Bauhaus design dress watch is what you are looking for, I think the Naos line from Sternglas is an excellent choice. I find nothing of note amiss with it’s design, quality or performance and it is a great value. $329 US. sternglas.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.