Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Steinhart Militare UT 6498 Review

UPDATE-Steinhart/Debaufre released a small crown version of this model for a while. Thanks to the generosity of a fellow member of the Poor Man's Watch Forum, I have that crown, free of charge :) . Here it is fitted to the Militare. I think it looks terrific.

On a Nilsen aviator for a change of pace. This watch would work well with many military style watchbands.

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.

I am starting to associate the arrival of a new Steinhart with good developments in my life. My last one, the World Traveler, arrived a few days before my birthday. The subject of this review, the Militare, has come to me just days before the start of a new job (more $$, better benefits, all that stuff). I view its arrival as a harbinger of good things to come.

I am a sucker for watches with subdials. There is something about that style that says old world class to me. Until now though, I have not owned a Swiss watch with this feature. My newly acquired Steinhart Militare UT 6498 perfectly fills that void. As its name implies, the Militare is designed as an ode to early military watches. The large onion crown, in particular, recalls military watch styles from the time of both of the world wars. (See examples here)
The Militare is a large and attractive watch that measures 42mm in width (50mm with the crown), 50 mm lug to lug, 10 mm in thickness and uses a 22mm lug band width. The watchcase is made of stainless steel and is equipped with a display back that gives a wonderful view of the movement. The crystal on the Militare is made from sapphire, the best material to make a watch crystal from in terms of scratch resistance. The hands and indices on the face are coated with superluminova (a high quality glow-in-the-dark paint) that after 30 seconds of continuous exposure to a light bulb remained visible for slightly more than six hours in darkness. The indices on the face incidentally have both a 12 and 24 hour scale if that is important to you. Water resistance is rated at 5 atm, which should be fine provided you don’t go diving with it. The watch comes with a comfortable, well-made, black leather band that has a signed deployment clasp.

Internally, the Militare is powered by a Unitas 6498 17 jewel hand wound movement. The Unitas is an old and very well thought of Swiss watch movement. It was originally developed by the Swiss firm of Auguste Reymonde in the 1950’s as a pocket watch movement. Today, it is manufactured by the Swiss movement maker ETA. (For a terrific history of the Unitas and Auguste Reymonde, see: this site) The movement’s large size and robust performance has made it a popular choice for many watch manufacturers these days. The example in the Militare is decorated with an engine turned finish and blued screws and makes for a nice view through the display back. The 6498 does not have a hacking feature if that matters to you. Accuracy of my example appears to be in the neighborhood of ten seconds daily, which is just fine.

To say that I like this watch would be an understatement. It has a unique look to it that pays homage to vintage military timepieces but still manages to look original. It appears to be very well assembled and contains a movement that has a rich heritage. Price wise, this one falls in the middle of Steinhart’s line. Currently listed at $695.00, the Militare is a fine watch and a good buy in my opinion. (Unitas equipped watches run the gamut from a low of $200 to well up into the thousands) I fully expect to get many years of enjoyment from this watch and its apparent high quality speaks very well of Steinhart as a company.

(As an aside, the October 2006 edition of iW (International Watch) magazine has a very nice article about Steinhart. If you want more information about the brand, this would be a good read. Additionally, Steinhart is acquiring a reputation for truly world class customer service. E-mails are returned promptly and any issues or questions are dealt with in a straightforward way. These folks really want their customers to be happy and they provide a level of service that I have frankly never encountered before. If the personal touch matters to you, you’ll love this company).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool watch Ed, love the crown.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

It is a unique feature to say the least :)

9:09 PM  

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