People ask me all the time, "Mike, what is the best watch for the One Watch Challenge on WatchCrunch, which now has an app for Android and IOS?" I am growing weary of answering this tired inquiry. The question seems to stalk me like a phantom that takes momentary control of others to torment my waning will. The question. It's presented with such earnest curiosity. Even mere mortals, not bound by the compulsion to don such a shackle, fix their eyes on me and utter these vexing words. "What is the best watch..." Sometimes I don't even hear them say the rest, but I know they did. I am going to get a closet full of T-shirts that all say, "Don't even ask. You and I both know it's the Stowa Flieger Classic 36. DM @Aurelian with any further questions"
The inevitable follow up of, "Why?", cuts deeper and sears even hotter than the dizzying sting of the first. You know what? Screw it. I normally don't even answer this question but today I will.
Rarely, a watch enters my life that is impressive, but doesn’t demand my attention or obsessive admiration. This type of unicorn usually falls quickly into the rotation without the dopamine filled honeymoon that other watches expect from you. Then, slowly and patiently over years, the watch becomes increasingly inspiring with the subtle details that take longer to appreciate than our impulsive hearts usually allow. You’re surprised by the amount of connection you’ve formed with an organized pile of metal. If you can be disciplined and allow these quiet watches the time to blossom, they reward your dedication in a way that few can.
The Stowa Flieger Classic 36 is the epitome of the description provided. The seemingly pedestrian case, all finely brushed, appears simultaneously sharp and soft with organic lines that bend gently as if Mother Nature made the case herself. The dial is not as stark as you would expect from a stoic German Flieger. The matte black dial is approachable and the contrast against the white details is clear without feeling cold or stark. The dream-like heat-blued hands are seen only at certain moments, angles, and light. Each time the lapis steel reveals itself, the shimmer somehow feels new. The blue somehow warm. The second hand glides with confident leisure, slicing into the next indice and abandoning the previous without haste. The 50m of water resistance reminds the custodian that we should all strive to be confident enough to be vulnerable. It’s not any single detail that brings this satisfying experience to full realization. The seemingly effortless cohesion of elements creates an experience beyond the meager abilities of what language could convey.
This watch is almost too ideal for the challenge. I am starting to feel the weight of guilt. How dare I choose a watch that gets more pleasurable to wear with each subsequent day. Who am I to have the most trying day be the first?
I believe Elsa from Frozen would wear a Stowa Flieger Classic 36. First, she doesn't need a ton of water resistance as all the water around her is in its solid state. Second, Elsa and I both wrestle with the possession of something too power for this world (the Stowa is basically cheating). The blued hands of this watch almost seem to have been struck by her frigid powers as well. Lastly, she seems to have skinny wrists, so the 36mm wrist size should be reasonable for her.
I have a had a watch on almost my whole life. Most days I find a diver or my square G on my wrist for work, cycling, or sitting on the beach. To me, a watch's value is in the story I've made with it.
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