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The Stowa Marine Original (Live Pics)

Stowa's Marine Original has enjoyed a certain popularity since its release due to a combination of good looks, sturdy build quality, and an attractive price point. These factors combine to make the Marine Original a fake watch that is frequently touted by those in the know as offering great value for money in the tough $1,000 marketplace. Here we've an in-depth look at this much buzzed about fake watch from Germany cheap replica watches.

The most telling mark of this replica watches popularity and value is that you can't just go to Stowa's site, buy one, and have it show up at your door a few days later. You have to wait. Pretty much since day one there has been a several month waiting list on the Marine Original. I cannot think of another serial production fake watch at this price point that has been so in demand for so long. It also speaks volumes about the quality of the product that Stowa has avoided ramping up production to meet the increased demand, preferring instead to maintain the standards and quality their customers are used to.


The style of the Marine Original is visually distinctive, but actually takes its inspiration from a very classic and traditional pocket watch. The contemporary Marine is inspired by naval deck replica watches produced by Stowa for the German Navy. Stowa only made 288 of these replica watches between 1938 and 1940. The use on ships required a very accurate and very legible watch. These were the portable evolution of the marine chronometer, and because of this they are the by-product of hundreds of years of naval timekeeping tradition and design.

Deck replica watches were not intended to replace the marine chronometer, rather to act as a more portable auxiliary timepiece. The distinctive large, clear dials with clear numerals and a well-demarcated minute chapter were all carried over from the chronometers though. The Stowa above even has a wholly luminous (and non-radioactive) dial that has been painted with an ingenious mixture of zinc sulfide and copper. The legible dial was coupled with big movements reliable over long periods of time. Regularity was valued more highly than accuracy, given the role of this fake watch and that it would be corrected and standardized against the ship's larger marine chronometer.

The Case

The three-part case is very solidly built, and well finished. This particular example is brushed, but a polished option is also available. The crystal is slightly domed sapphire with a matching sapphire caseback that shows off the movement generously. It is worth nothing that the Marine Original feels and wears a little larger than its on-paper specifications of 41mm wide and 12mm high would suggest.

One of the things I really like about this case, and indeed this fake watch in general, is that has been specifically designed around the movement. The fake watch isn't 41mm across just because it's a popular size at the moment ?it's because the fake watch needs to be that large to fit the large manually-wound movement. And when you flip the fake watch over and look through the sapphire caseback, the movement is all you see. No ugly spacers - just well finished bridges and blued screws.

The case design is simple but well thought through. The crown (with Stowa logo) is large enough and well knurled enough to make the daily wind easy and painless. Likewise, the lugs are fairly classical, nicely tapered, and relatively straight. Slightly more curvature on the lugs might have made this fake watch wear slightly smaller on the wrist, but they look and feel properly proportioned as they are.

The Movement

The Marine Original stays true to the legacy of the original Stowa deck watches, with a big, slow-beat Unitas 6498 ticking away inside. It's a manual wind movement that has been finished off very nicely for the price. Geneva stripes, temperature blued screws, and a swan neck regulator are all standard here. The only gripe some people may have with the movement is that the small seconds hand doesn't hack like on many military watches.

Interestingly Jörg Schauer (the man behind Stowa) has, since 2002, owned the rights to Durowe, who made movements up until the 1980s. With the increasing cost and scarcity of ETA/Unitas movements, the Marine Original will in coming years shift to using the newly developed Durowe 7440.

I'm a big fan of manually wound movements for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of the ritual afforded by the daily winding of your watch. For some people this daily maintenance is a hassle, but for me there's something deeply pleasing about a fake watch that requires your interaction to tell the time.

The Dial

While the whole package is of top-notch quality, it's the dial of the Marine Original that elevates it to a whole other level. The glossy white dial has the appearance of enamel (in actuality it's brass, coated and highly polished) and it looks stunning in all different light conditions. The black printing is crisp and clear, even at high magnification. The stark dial provides the perfect foil for the hands of the Marine Original, which are classically styled, blued spade hands. These are heat-blued, not chemically-blued, to a deep, lustrous blue that is a beautiful, stunning color that is difficult to capture precisely in photographs.

But the quality construction of the dial is only half the story; it's the design that completes it. The dial of the Marine Original could be an object lesson in well-balanced design. Stylistically it blends traditional and modern tastes, and there is not a single element that is too small, too large, or out of place. The prime focus here, as it was for the original deck watches, is legibility. The main elements of the dial, the railroad style minute chapter ring, large Arabic numerals at the hours, and the subseconds dial, are all clear and extremely easy to read at a glance.

The Strap

This particular fake watch came on an alligator strap with deployant clasp, and while the strap, (22mm tapering to 18mm at the buckle) is well made and lightly padded, I was not in love with the deployant buckle. Aside from not sitting particularly comfortably, the deployant fastens to the strap utilising a small, and fairly fiddly screw. This seems unnecessary to me, and it would be nice to have a replacement screw included, as I can imagine a lot of these must go missing.

In a more general note about straps on the Marine Original, it is one of the replica watches great strengths that it is so versatile. It can be very easily dressed up or down (especially in the brushed finish), I've worn it on everything from dressy croc to casual NATO, and it has handled them all with aplomb.

The Verdict.

The Marine Original is something of a purist's watch. If you want the convenience of an automatic movement or a date function, the ability to tell the time in the dark, or an of-the-moment design the Marine Original may not be the fake watch for you. But, if you want a fake watch that is designed with legibility in mind, has a very classical aesthetic, is nicely finished with great attention to detail, and you want all that for a reasonable price, the Stowa Marine Original should make your short list.

The Marine Original is available in a range of configurations directly from Stowa, with prices starting around 750 euro (ex VAT).

Technical Details Diameter: 41.00 mm

Height: 12.00 mm

Strap width: 22 mm

Lug-to-Lug size: 50.20 mm

Waterproof: up to 5 ATM

Weight: 77gr. (leather strap), about 130 gr. (metal bracelet)

Case: Stainless steel, polished

Dial: White high polished (enamel look), black printed

Crystals: Front Sapphire crystal domed and sapphire display case back

Hands: Temperature blued steel

Strap: Leather strap or metal bracelet

Crown: Stainless steel with STOWA logo

Caliber: Unitas 6498-1

Mechanism: Manual Wind

Half vibrations: 18,000 A/H

Function: Hour, Minutes, Small Second

Power Reserve: Min. 46 hours

Number of jewels: 17 synthetic rubies

Finish: Geneve Stripes finish, screw balance, swan neck regulator, blued screws, golden STOWA engraving

Specific features: Screw balance, swan neck regulator, screwed display case back