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Despite Stuhrling being one of the youngest notable brands in the watchmaking industry, these watches are some of the most talked-about amongst the aficionados.
They’re also selling in outstanding numbers.
The main reason for the above is simple: they offer a unique and extremely easy-on-the-eye design that oftentimes looks way above the moderate price tags. Dare we say it, design-wise, it can easily put to shame some of the top-shelf watchmakers listed for 5+ figures.
What’s the catch, then? For many, the combination of amazing exterior and bargain-basement prices raises a red flag regarding the longevity and reliability of these timepieces.
In today’s Stuhrling watches review, we will take a deep look at all the aspects of the brand. Doing so, we will determine whether the doubts are warranted or the up-and-coming watchmaker indeed provides excellent value.
As usual with brand reviews on our website, we begin with the history and background of the brand. If you’d like to skip that part and move to the quality review, click here. Alternatively, choose any topics of your interest in the Table of Contents below.
Without further ado, let’s go.
Table of Contents
Stuhrling History & Background
As already mentioned, Stuhrling is a freshman in the 3-centuries-old industry.
Compared to other popular brands such as Bulova, Citizen, Seiko, or Tissot, the 1999 foundation date seems like only yesterday. In fact, it wasn’t until 2002 that the brand started selling timepieces.
This fact will make the history section one of the shortest we’ve covered on our website.
The company was founded in New York by Chaim Fischer. The name of the company pays homage to Max Stuhrling, a master watchmaker of the late 1800s who lived in Switzerland. Hence, despite the strong American roots, the brand takes a lot of inspiration from the country with the most illustrious horological history.
Unlike many other brands that just start out in this dog-eat-dog environment, Stuhrling decided to burst onto the scene with a bang. Instead of picking a less challenging movement to launch the debut collection, Chaim Fischer, challenged by his critics and non-believers, opted for launching a line of tourbillon watches.
Fair to say, the move proved to be a shrewd one. Stuhrling tourbillons proved to be an instant hit due to their moderate pricing (compared to competitors) and head-turning design. In the subsequently released collections, a wider range of watches was made available that included open-heart/skeletons, chronographs, dive watches, and GMT (dual time) watches.
These days, the number of Stuhrling timepieces is countless. The brand enjoys a massive presence not only on its home soil but also overseas.
The question that now arises is: are Stuhrling watches any good for long-term use? Find the answer in the next section of today’s Stuhrling watches review.
Are Stuhrling Watches Any Good? Quality Review
There’s no denying that Stuhrling watches turn heads like few other brands – especially in this price basket. However, even the most brilliant-looking timepieces will turn out a major disappointment if the beautiful exterior isn’t backed with good durability standards.
We also can’t downplay the importance of lasting and accurate movements.
Of course, when trying to define the quality of any watch brand, we also have to stay realistic. There’s no point comparing low-to-mid budget brands (such as Stuhrling) to some of the finest names in the industry. Instead, we need to define how good Stuhrling watches fare against competitors in the same price sector.
Taking everything of the above into consideration, let’s now review all the crucial aspects contributing to the overall quality score – starting with the much-discussed design.
Certainly, the beautiful exterior is what people love Stuhrling the most for. Without a doubt, it’s their strongest point.
Since the release of the first model in 2002, the brand continues to deliver a large number of tourbillon and skeletonized timepieces. Both types allow you to marvel at the intricate workings of mechanical movement. These are a great pull for fans of hand-wound and automatic watches.
However, as the years go by, more watch types are added to Stuhrling’s offer. Currently, you can find classy-looking models in categories such as dive watches, dress watches, or moon phase watches. The range of styles is huge.
We will have a closer look at the style and functionalities offered by the most popular collections further down the article.
Gladly, the relatively low prices of Stuhrling watches don’t seem to be compensating for poor durability.
Without a doubt, the most damage-prone part of any watch is the dial window. A cracked window isn’t only hard on the eye but can lead to unrepairable damage to the movement. Thus, solid protection in this field is needed. And that’s exactly what Stuhrling delivers.
All Stuhrling watches use Krysterna crystal glass which is inherent to the brand. It’s an extremely durable form of crystal and probably somewhere in-between a mineral crystal and sapphire crystal used by the vast majority of watchmakers.
In fact, the shatter-resistance properties of Krysterna are even higher than in sapphire crystal watches. With that said, the scratch resistance isn’t as good. Also, Krysterna glass doesn’t offer as good an anti-reflective coating.
Moving on to other watch parts, there’s a huge selection of bracelets available. Because of the diverse watch types offered by Stuhrling, that’s no wonder.
The durability of these will depend on your own preferences. The available materials include:
- leather straps – definitely the most elegant but quite fragile
- stainless steel – classy and super durable
- rubber straps – extremely durable, used mostly in sporty models
- nylon straps – as above
What’s worth noting, many of the models allow for interchangeable straps. These can be purchased individually at Stuhring’s official website.
All Stuhrling watches use a unified case material in the form of stainless steel. The exact type of stainless steel used in the watches is 316L, an industry-standard choice providing excellent anti-corrosion and anti-scratch properties.
Stuhrling offers a 2-year international warranty on all watches. The guarantee period covers all manufacturing defects. 24 months of protection is about what you should expect from a budget watchmaker. You can read the full T&Cs here.
According to many critics, Stuhrling’s Achilles’ heel is the quality of movement. On one side, we can see where they’re coming from as a large chunk of models run on Chinese mechanical movements. On the other, it would be a lie to say that there are no quality movements on offer with Stuhrling.
Now, let’s explain.
As you already know, Stuhrling is an affordable brand that specializes in tourbillon and skeleton watch designs. These, in most cases, run on mechanical calibers which are usually much more expensive to assemble than standard quartz mechanisms. Hence, the brand is not able to offer Swiss (or even Japanese) mechanical movements with watches way below the $100 mark. Quite frankly, it would be impossible to profit from.
In fact, Stuhrling was one of the first watchmakers to publicly proclaim the use of Chinese mechanisms in their timepieces. Although the very first batch of models, which included the so-called “Lexus” movement turned out to be a major disappointment, the quality of Chinese calibers is on a different level now.
An example of a reliable Chinese complication used in many models is the “Sea-Gull”. Many other brands in this price sector, such as Fossil or Invicta, also utilize the movement. Nowadays, some of the Chinese-made calibers used by Stuhrling seem to be getting quite a number of positive reviews in online watch communities.
If you have reservations about wearing a watch powered by a Chinese movement, not all is lost.
As years go by, and as the demand increases, Stuhrling continues to add more collections powered by the much more respected Japanese and Swiss calibers. An example of a popular model utilizing a Swiss automatic movement is the Depthmaster which is an excellent dive watch for the price. Another quality dive watch, this time using a Japanese quartz mechanism, is the Pro Diver.
For die-hard watch collectors, the overall standard of movement may not be perfect. That’s especially true when compared to other well-known brands in the same price basket such as Orient. However, with the money you spend, you’ll be able to own an original work of art that meets the necessary quality criteria for everyday usage.
Stuhrling Watch Collections
At the time of writing, Stuhrling offers 7 watch collections. Four of these are men-exclusive, one is crafted entirely for ladies, and two contain watches for both.
Each collection has its unique style and offers different watch features. Below find a quick summary of what’s on offer with each, as well as check out some of the best-selling models.
The Legacy collection features watches that will stand out in every situation. These watches are distinguished by their beautiful skeletonized dials and mechanical mechanisms.
Such a design approach makes the intricate workings of mechanical complications largely visible both at the front and at the back (Legacy models also use transparent casebacks).
The collection offers various watch sizes, with case diameters ranging from 40mm to 50mm. Movement-wise, you can select from automatic and hand-wound calibers. Straps-wise, there are two options available: leather or rubber bands.
Finally, all Legacy timepieces come with a 5ATM (50m) water resistance.
Below find the best-selling model from the collection, Anatol 371. More Legacy models are available on Amazon.
The Aquadiver timepieces by Stuhrling are sporty in character but elegant in appearance. Since these are considered diving watches, they all come with a unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, and are water-resistant to 100-200m, making them ideal for a variety of water activities.
This is by far the most feature-rich collection Stuhrling has to offer. Depending on the model, you can expect such perks as chronograph timers, date displays, or GMT. An example of a beautiful GMT model is Aquadiver 3968.1.
Case sizes vary between 39mm and 45mm. The collection consists predominantly of stainless steel models although there are also some watches with leather straps.
The low-cost pieces run on Japanese quartz movements, while the most expensive models use Swiss automatic mechanisms.
Below find a solid representative of the collection, Regatta 792. You can find more Aquadiver models on Amazon.
The Aviator collection has plenty to offer for fans of pilot watches. All pieces pay homage to the golden age of aviation. It also offers many models utilizing the modern men’s style.
As you’d expect from pilot timepieces, all models boast good legibility thanks to the presence of large numerals and strong luminescence. The majority of models come with a stopwatch and tachymeter, although there are also simple analog pieces with a single sub-dial for seconds measurement.
Stuhrling Aviator is a collection running exclusively on Japanese quartz movements. It offers leather or rubber straps and case sizes ranging from 42mm to 45mm. On the water-proofing front, you can expect resistance between 3ATM-5ATM (30m-50m).
Apart from the popular Aviator model listed below, you can find many more on Amazon by clicking here.
The inspiration for these watches originates from music, as the collection’s name suggests. It’s also the only place where you’ll find modest dress watches appropriate for formal events.
Next to Legacy, it’s another collection that offers a plethora of models both for men and women. Hence, there’s a wide range of case sizes to pick from. The smallest Symphony models are as tiny as 32mm whilst the largest don’t exceed 42mm. That’s exactly what you expect from a dress watch.
All Symphony watches use leather straps and run on Japanese quartz movements. They normally come with minimalistic, feature-less dials. However, some of the popular models, like the one listed below, come with a Moon Phase function. It represents the cycle from one new moon to another.
Check out more Symphony timepieces on Amazon here.
Timepieces with chronographs and tachymeters are included in the racing-inspired Monaco collection. Despite being far more modest than the skeletonized models from earlier collections, this sporty range does not disappoint in terms of appearance.
Since chronograph is the ever-present feature across the collection, it’s no surprise all Monaco timepieces use Japanese quartz movements. Apart from the chronograph function, some models also offer dual time tracking and date displays.
Because of the feature-rich dials, a large chunk of models uses fairly massive cases. The smallest pieces measure 38mm whereas the largest 48mm. Both stainless steel and leather strap models are available. Stuhrling Monaco models offer 30m-50m water resistance.
Certainly, the Tourbillon collection is a clear departure from the affordable price range offered by every other Stuhrling line. But there’s a reason for it.
The tourbillon complication takes a long time, a lot of expertise, and a lot of money to create, and it has a God-like reputation in the industry. If you have a peek at tourbillon watches at any online store, you will struggle to find models that are not well into 4 figures.
The watches have a sophisticated appearance and are available in a variety of dial styles, and they are powered by Chinese mechanical movements with manual winding options. At the very least, prepare to shell out $1,500. At the other end of the pricing scale, the priciest models can set you back up to $3,500.
The collection is listed exclusively on Stuhrling’s official store.
Vogue is the only ladies-exclusive Stuhrling collection as of now.
As expected, all models present a feminine, delicate design. Style-wise, these are great examples of minimalistic dress watches. However, there’s also a sole model with a chronograph function.
These watches are available with case sizes ranging from 32mm to 38mm. A lion’s share of models use stainless steel bracelets, whilst there are also a few leather strap watches.
All watches are powered by Japanese quartz movements and offer water resistance between 30m-50m.
Where Are Stuhrling Watches Made?
Although the company is based in the United States and all watches are designed in the Brooklyn, NY headquarters, the manufacturing process takes place on the other side of the globe. Stuhrling watches are assembled in Shenzhen, China.
Bear in mind that doesn’t mean the watches consist exclusively of Chinese-made parts. Despite a large chunk of models utilizing Chinese mechanical movements, there are many timepieces running on Japanese quartz or Swiss automatic calibers.
Is Stuhrling a Luxury Brand?
Although the brand’s prestigious Tourbillon collection might be scratching the surface of the Entry-Level luxury sector, particularly in terms of pricing, Stuhrling watches on the whole can’t be considered luxurious.
Despite the beautiful exterior, the brand can’t be put on the same page as top-shelf watchmakers in terms of the quality of movement and the level of craftsmanship in general.
Where to Buy Stuhrling Watches?
Stuhrling is one of few watchmakers that sells their watches entirely online.
When it comes to the destinations deemed safe, the first one is naturally the brand’s official website. It’s the place where you can expect the newest models to appear first. The website offers free shipping on all orders within the United States. In the case of worldwide shipping, it’s free of cost with a minimum spend of $430.
Another rich source of Stuhrling watches is Amazon. The popular marketplace offers a wide range of models at competitive prices and oftentimes same-day shipping.
One of the most popular jewelry and watch stores in the US, Jomashop, is another reliable provider of these timepieces.
Finally, if you’re shopping on a budget and don’t mind a pre-owned piece, feel free to check out eBay.
You can also check out our list of top watch shops on the web.
Stuhrling Watches Review: Conclusion
That was quite a long read, wasn’t it? If you’ve been on the edge regarding the purchase of your first Stuhrling timepiece, we hope that the article has helped you make your mind up – whatever that means.
To sum up the Stuhrling brand review, it’s fair to say that the US-based company, despite a relatively short lifespan, is one of the most talked-about watchmakers online. The fact that the company has sold over 17 million timepieces during merely two decades of existence suggests a huge success on a global scale.
Certainly, what gets people raving so much above all is the beautiful design. Whether talking about the skeleton watches, dive watches, or dress timepieces, it’s fair to say the exterior looks way above the modest pricing.
The biggest doubt casting over Stuhrling is the quality of movements they provide. To this day, a large chunk of Stuhrling watch models run on Chinese mechanical calibers. Despite the quality of these movements improving over the years, they’re still not on the same page as Swiss or Japanese mechanisms.
With that said, if you’re looking for a unique-looking automatic or quartz watch, the number of these is constantly on the rise. An example of a timepiece running on a Swiss automatic caliber is this Depthmaster Heritage. On the other hand, this Stuhrling Original piece is a popular Japanese quartz model.
In a very brief summary, what are the pros and cons of getting a Stuhrling timepiece? The top pros definitely include a luxurious design, wide selection of styles, super-affordable pricing, and durable built (especially the crystal). On the downside, the quality of movements offered by Stuhrling is inconsistent, to say the least.
Stuhrling watches are a match made in heaven for folks who love the flamboyant appearance that doesn’t require breaking the bank for it. At this moment in time, there aren’t many more flashy watchmakers in this price range, maybe JBW timepieces being the sole exception.
Final Say: if today’s Stuhrling watches review has convinced you to add one of these pieces to your collection, we’d love to hear which one you’ve chosen and why! Let’s interact in the comment section below.