Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Steinhart World Traveler Chronograph Review

On an aftermarket 22mm aviator band. Buttery soft waterproof leather. Got it at Central Watch Band Stand in Grand Central Station. Highly recommended.

On a nylon Nato band for hot weather.

Update: If you are wondering who Steinhart is or are having a hard time tracking the company down, point your browser to Debaufre . After another company threatened to sure Steinhart because they thought that their name and the Steinhart name were too close, Steinhart decided to change their name to Debaufre (an early watch maker who pioneered several innovations in design). Nothing else has changed (aside from models being offered), the service and value are still excellent.

It has been a long time since I had the opportunity to open a box with a brand new Swiss watch inside. There are few events that are as nice for a watch collector. (OK, it’s not up there with the arrival of my kids, my wedding, graduating from law school or other such big life events. It probably rates just a few clicks below on the happiness meter. Maybe.) The subject of this review, the Steinhart World Traveler, arrived new-in-the-box courtesy of Steinhart and the Poor Man's Watch Forum (PMWF). The watch was a prize that I won in the PMWF Ascension Contest. (The subject was the history of New York if anyone is interested.) I still can't believe that I won this beauty and I wish to thank both Steinhart and PMWF for making it possible (that it arrived a few days before my birthday was icing on the cake).

Before I launch into the review, I think that an introduction to Steinhart is in order as the company's presence in the United States is still pretty new. The firm was founded by Gunter Steinhart (who I believe is also associated with the Robert watch brand of Germany see: Robert Imprint page). Steinhart watches are made in Switzerland and are marketed in the U.S. online through the Steinhart website. The company offers an interesting line of watches that include several Unitas based vintage military style models, some automatic diver models (including a GMT variant) an automatic aviator watch and the chronograph model being reviewed here. Update-Steinhart has also introduced a fine looking new line of mechanical chronographs. The models all have a generally upscale look and feature set. It seems that Steinhart is still in the early stage of its marketing efforts (at least in the U.S.) and I would not be surprised to see the brand achieve a greater market share in the future. Incidentally, the World Traveler is Steinhart's only quartz regulated model and, as such, is sort of their entry level piece. That it is as nicely made as it is speaks well of the rest of their line. Update: Steinhart has changed it's name to Debaufre. Apparently another watch company felt that the name Steinhart was too close for trademark comfort to their's and threatened to sue. Rather than face a lawsuit, the Steinhart folks adopted a new name.

The World Traveler is a large stainless steel aviator style chronograph whose overall look is consistent with the trend towards big watches these days. The watch measures 42mm in width (49mm from crown to crown), 11mm in height, 51mm lug to lug and has a 22mm band lug width. My watch shipped with two bands, a nubuck leather band and a thickly padded model (pictured) with a large signed buckle. (Note to Steinhart, if you are only going to ship this watch with one band in the future, make it the second one). The World Traveler has two crowns. The 3 o'clock crown is conventional while the 9 o'clock crown adjusts an internal chapter ring. The lume on the face and hands appears to be superluminova and, while not in the league of a Seiko diver (what is really?), it remains visible in the dark for at least five hours by my observation. The case appears to be a three piece design, i.e. the bezel/crystal is part of a removable unit and the back snaps on. The watch is rated at 5atm water resistance which is fine as this isn't a diver's watch. Lastly, the crystal is made of mineral glass which is adequate but not as scratch resistant as a sapphire crystal (although it is less expensive which counts too I suppose).

Internally, the World Traveler is powered by a Ronda 5040.B 13 jewel quartz chronograph movement. As an aside, Steinhart deserves praise for both inscribing the movement type on the case back and further for including in the box a copy of Rhonda's manual for the movement. (It took me months to find a third party's documentation of my Tag Heuer Formula One's movement. It was an ETA. I could have just opened it I suppose, but then I would have to get its water resistance checked again after closing it). Unlike many ordinary quartz movements, the 5040.B has an interesting complication that sets it apart from most other movements. The complication is what Ronda calls a "big date" feature. See: Timezone Simply put, instead of just a single rotating date wheel, this movement has two, one for each digit. The result is a comparatively large twin date window that is very prominent on the watch face. In other respects, the movement is very much like most other multi-function chronographs. Accuracy is excellent, as is typical for a quartz movement and the battery life, which is rated at 48 months, is quite good. This particular movement is also used in watches made by Mondaine, Jacques Lemans, and Traser. To my knowledge, the World Traveler at the current price of $249.00 is among the least expensive watches available with the 5040.B movement.

To sum up this review, I think that the World Traveler is an exceptionally fine watch that is well worth its price. I particularly appreciate again having a chronograph that I can use as a worry free daily wearer. (A quartz chronograph should be much more durable than a mechanical model. A few ordinary knocks here and there should not damage one. Servicing is considerably less of an issue too.) This Steinhart appears to be very well made, it uses an interesting movement and it is quite handsome. It really would be an ideal traveling companion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just recievec my World traveler as a birthday present from my wife and kids. I could not be more pleased with the watch. My wife got it during the Steinhart close out and there was an issuse when it first arrived... Elsa took care of it within days and had the last World Traveler in her hands in time for my birthday. The size and weight of the watch is impressive and being a quartz it is very very acurate, I two recieved two straps and have opted for the grey zulu band as a third. Your review was spot on and there is not much to add

From MA

11:29 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Congrats on the World Traveler. I wear mine at least once a week and that says something considering how many watches I have. You did very well if you got it on the closeout sale. Given the current dollar/euro exchange rates, I expect the newly re-branded Debaufre models to be more expensive. Enjoy :)

12:43 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

if you ever wanna sell your world traveler i would love to buy it. email me

6:44 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I doubt I'd sell this one. Its sort of my lucky watch.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Clyde said...

shucks =/. i thought i would have at least given it a shot. now i can't say that i didn't try. i very much love this watch and have been looking all over the internet for one. If you come across one could you please let me know. i really have to have this watch =)

3:12 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Try contacting the folks at Debaufre. They might have some unsold stock. Can't hurt.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Hey great idea thanks alot Ed. BTW i forgot to mention your review is what really sold me the watch. Keep up the good work

4:44 PM  
Blogger Clyde said...

Last random comment lol but uhhhh where can i get leather strap fromm sorry i wont bother you again

3:46 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I got mine at watchprince.com . Great selection there.

6:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

free web counters