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The Stuhrling brand offers aesthetically majestic and stylish watches that often look better than the majority of world-famous watches from renowned brands. However, the low prices at which the timepieces are sold inevitably raise questions over the quality the company provides with its wearables.
The following Stuhrling watch review covers everything you should know about the brand, starting with the history and places of production and finishing with quality standards of the timepieces and the most notable collections.
By the end of this post, you’ll be better positioned to examine whether Stuhrling watches are of good quality to be considered pursuable.
Amongst the well-known watch brands, Stuhrling sticks out as being relatively new in the field. The American company started selling its timepieces in 2002 and have maintained their approach of doing business solely online up to this day.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach, though it’s quite unusual, especially in the well-established watch industry full of traditions.
Leaving aside this particular business format, the guys behind the brand seem to have heaps of expertise.
Chaim Fischer, the founder and CEO of Stuhrling Original, has been in the watch industry for decades.
The same applies to Max Stuhrling IV, the great-grandson of Swiss watchmaker Max Stuhrling. His watchmaking know-how helped the brand go online in 2002, and has already resulted in over 4,000 different models and millions of watches sold.
Where Are Stuhrling Watches Made?
Although the origin of one of the founding members of Stuhrling hints for a Swiss background, and probably a Swiss production as well, the greater part of the components still comes from China, except for the quartz movements that originate from Japan.
The assembly and manufacturing of the watches, on the other hand, take place in Shenzhen, China, which explains the affordable prices they sell their eye-catching watches.
Now, is it a problem for the wristwatches to be mainly Chinese made?
To argue that Chinese quality is as good as Swiss or Japanese is pointless. We’ve witnessed the standards the two countries have provided, so nothing to discuss here. But claiming the Chinese products to be junk is also a blind exaggeration.
Long gone are the days when all the goods coming from that part of the world lasted the same time as a one-day butterfly.
Over the years, the quality levels have come along, the machinery has been updated, and the people working in the industry have acquired the knowledge of producing quality products. Of course, there’s still some catch-up to do in regards to the quality control, but overall, you can’t call Chinese production junk anymore.
Quality has a subjective meaning though. One of the ways to evaluate the grade of Stuhrling watches particularly is to look into the materials and mechanisms they employ.
Quality of Watches
The first thing that instantly catches the eye with Stuhrling watches is the quality level of the materials.
Almost all the watch cases are made of 316L stainless steel, a common material in the majority of wristwatches. It is durable and reliable, so no trade-off here.
Krysterna crystal, inherent to the Stuhrling brand, is used throughout their entire watch collection. The glass is shatter- and scratch-resistant and is considered a solid material.
In fact, Krysterna’s shatter resistance is higher than it is in the most sought-after material of sapphire crystal. However, scratch resistance and anti-reflectiveness fall short in the comparison.
The bands are of stainless steel, rubber, and leather. Stuhrling also adds a little spice to their selection by including exotic crocodile, alligator, and lizard-embossed bands in the higher-end timepieces.
Probably the most critical part of wristwatches, the calibers, come mainly from Japan and China.
Though more expensive models have Swiss automatic movements with high reputation, and Japanese quartz calibers won’t disappoint either, the biggest concern lies in the Chinese movements found in mechanical timepieces.
Stuhrling was one of the first watch manufacturers to publicly declare the use of Chinese movements in their watches. The first batch of wristwatches employed the so-called “Lexus” movement, which, in the end, was a total disappointment.
The more recent wristwear is free of such problems when Seagull and Shanghai Watch Factory movements have provided better reliability.
Stuhrling is not the onliest brand to use Chinese movements. Fossil, for example, uses Seagull mechanisms in some of the mechanical watches. A vast majority of other manufacturers also employ parts of their wristwear that come from China.
Since the Chinese watchmaking industry is still in the development phase, it would be too soon to expect the same quality levels as the Swiss and Japanese counterparts. But it is clear that the country’s vast industry is taking giant leaps towards the standards we all crave.
But don’t get me wrong – the backlog doesn’t mean they can’t provide high-quality movements. The real problem with China lies in the inconsistency of quality when a couple of failed products take the limelight away from the exemplary models.
All in all, Stuhrling provides genuine quality in regards to materials and Swiss and Japanese movements, but concern possible buyers with often unreliable Chinese mechanical calibers.
For the die-hard watch aficionados, the overall quality could be insufficient, especially when compared to well-established Seiko or Citizen brands, but all the others, rest assured. With the bucks spent, you’ll get to hold an authentic piece of art with sufficient enough quality standards for everyday use. And what’s most important – the prices are very appealing.
Why Are Stuhrling Watches So Affordable?
Since manufacturing and assembly of the watches are carried out in low-cost Asia, the final price of the watch will be undoubtedly lower than producing it in Japan or Europe, for instance.
Another cost-cutting factor is the cheaper-end movements that beat its higher-rated competitors with incomparably lower price.
Contrast the labor costs in Asia with the Western equivalents, and add the movement cost difference – the outcome is clear to all.
Shipping & Warranty
Stuhrling offers free shipping inside the US with the delivery time 3-5 business days. So within a week of purchase, your brand new wristwatch is in your possession with no extra costs. The conditions apply to homepage purchases.
A piece of fantastic news for international customers is that the free of charge shipping is eligible to the vast majority of countries. Exclusive promotions, combo packs, and under other similar circumstances, the free shipping may not be available. Typical delivery time ranges between 10-20 days.
All the watches come with a 2-year warranty, a standard period for the majority of brand watches sold these days.
The warranty covers a faulty and malfunctioning movement and will be repaired or replaced with no incurring costs. For quartz watches, the battery is covered for one year.
The warranty will not cover the watch case, straps, bracelets, or crystals. Nor will it cover any wear and tear damages, or any water impacts to non-resistant wristwatches.
A downside with the warranty is that although it is free of charge, you still have to pay for shipping your watch for repair works. A $20 check for domestic and $40 for international purchases is required. An overseas customer should expect 20-25 days in total for the repaired timepiece to arrive.
Now that we’ve covered the essential information about the company, it’s right about time to compile it into definite pros vs cons overview, based on customer reviews and the author’s observations.
Pros of Stuhrling Watches
1. Luxurious Design
The most significant advantage of Stuhrling is the unbeatable design when literally every other model looks like a several-thousand-dollar piece of art. Luckily with this brand, you only pay a fraction of the price.
Tourbillon and skeleton watches are the crown jewels of the design. A few brands in the world stand the comparison with Stuhrling in regards to the appearance of these watches, and the few being top-notch luxury brands.
In fact, we’ve listed several Stuhrling pieces on our list of the best skeleton watches. So, feel free to check them out!
2. Broad Selection of Watches
The variety of types of watches and models is huge, offering something for everyone. Currently, Stuhrling offers about 200 different models for men and around 50 watches for women, which is a considerable number.
You’ll find aviator and dive watches, dress and chronograph watches, and the aforementioned skeletons and tourbillons. Approximately half of the watches are automatic, while quartz and manual mechanical options are also available.
3. Affordable Prices
Another overwhelming advantage besides the design is the affordable price when the majority of watches range between $50-$300.
Probably the most notable in value-wise are the tourbillon watches. While the luxury brands sell their tourbillons in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, then one from Stuhrling is available for an amazing $1,500-$2,000.
Not many people have the resources and privileges to own a tourbillon. Therefore, it would be a perfect opportunity to go for one of the affordable tourbillons for as little as $1,500.
Cons of Stuhrling Watches
However, besides the magnificent advantages, there are still a couple of disadvantages you should know before going for a Stuhrling.
1. Inconsistent Quality
As we’ve already stressed, the biggest concern with Stuhrling is the inconsistent quality of automatic movements. Some owners complain about losing or gaining too much time, while several complaints also mention the watch stopping entirely.
In contrast, you’ll also find utterly positive reviews where people are delighted with the movement with no underlying concerns.
Therefore, it would be wise to buy a Stuhrling watch from an official dealer to ensure a valid warranty.
2. Extra Shipping Costs
We’re not implying shipping costs upon purchase, but costs that incur when a watch needs a repair during the warranty period. A typical charge for domestic dispatching is $20, which many customers find to be an excess due to the innocence on their part.
3. Slow Customer Service
Quite a lot of people have complained about the slow customer service, especially if it has to do with warranty issues.
At the same time, many customers praise the service they’ve received. So, mixed opinions and experiences here.
Are Stuhrling Watches Good Quality?
The core of this Stuhrling watch review was to find out whether the timepieces were worth pursuing. So, are they good quality and should you buy one?
In overall – yes, Stuhrling watches have quite a decent quality for the price point. However, whether you should buy one or not depends on your set expectations.
If you’re after a proven quality, then probably no. Stuhrling still has a long way to go to establish a reputation that would place the brand alongside the greats in the industry. Opt for already recognized manufacturers, such as Orient and Citizen in the same price range. If skeleton watches are what you’re after, then go for Bulova watches instead – they cost a little more but are more reliable, too.
On the other hand, if you’re a guy that above all values flamboyant appearance while not spending a fortune for it, and don’t mind the issues that may arise in regards to the quality, you should definitely consider going for one of the watches. Why?
Because you’ll not find any flashier wristwatches at a given price point. Well, except for the JBW watches, perhaps, but they cater to a very specific market segment different from that of Stuhrling, too.
Thus, the aesthetics of Stuhrling watches are the very reason why millions of buyers have decided to choose a Stuhrling timepiece over the recognized watch manufacturers.
In order to give you a comprehensive overview of Stuhrling watches as promised, we’ve listed six collections that all provide eye-catching timepieces at very attractive price points. Some of the models we’ve picked out are deemed reliable and will most probably last you for years to come.
The Legacy collection comprises of timepieces that won’t go unnoticed in any circumstance. It is due to the picturesque skeletonized dials and mechanical movements that make these watches so unique.
The 40-48mm stainless steel cases hide (well, partially) the complicated inner workings of mechanical complications, while the Krysterna covered dials expose them for all to see.
The standout model that has been one of the favorites among the buyers is the Stuhrling Anatol 371.
The huge 47mm watch comes fully skeletonized, with automatic mechanical movement powering it. Due to the presence of dual time, it suits for travels from one timezone to another.
Giving the watch some dressier appeal is the alligator embossed leather strap that combines well with the silver-toned case.
It’s an oversized watch, too, so expect some presence on your wrist.
The Tourbillon collection is the priciest from Stuhrling, but for a good reason. The complication itself takes a lot of time, skills and resources to build, and holds a God-like reputation in the industry.
The watches look very sophisticated and come in various dial styles, while being powered by Chinese mechanical movements that often have a manual winding option. The prices range from a modest $1,500 to a much pricier $3,500.
The racing-inspired Monaco collection boasts chronograph watches for various tastes. This sporty line doesn’t disappoint in terms of looks, despite being way more modest than the skeletonized models from other collections.
The watches are equipped with Japanese quartz movements, come in case sizes suitable for any wrist, and are priced well below the $200 line.
This is also the line that has the widest selection of homages to famous watches. For instance, you’ll come across close resemblances to Bulova Moon Watch, Breitling Navitimer, and Rolex Daytona among others.
Aquadiver watches are sporty in nature but classy by design. Meant for all sorts of water activities, the models feature a unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown and are water resistant up to 200m (660ft). Some timepieces also have GMT function, coupled with an extra hand.
However, you should bear in mind that these watches are not suitable for professional submersion. Therefore, make sure not to use Aquadiver watches more than for swimming and snorkeling.
The affordable options come with a Japanese quartz movement, while the pricier models have a highly appreciated Swiss quartz mechanism. Regardless, the pricier ones are still relatively affordable.
The aviation-inspired Stuhrling watches are available in their Aviator collection. You’ll find vintage pieces honoring the old days of flying, as well as modern watches for fashionable men.
The majority of timepieces are equipped with a stopwatch function and tachymeter, but simple analog pieces with a single subdial are also available.
One of the watches that has received great reviews from buyers is the Stuhrling Aviation 3916.
The 44mm-sized stainless steel watch that runs on accurate quartz timekeeping comes with a distinctive black dial that features the elements you typically find from a plane’s cockpit.
Luminous hands and indices provide visibility in dim conditions, while the brown leather strap makes the timepiece versatile to suit various occasions.
What makes it especially noteworthy is the price – it stays well below the $100 mark.
Like the name of the collection already suggests, the inspiration for these watches comes from music. It’s also the only collection where you’ll find modest dress watches that suit for formal occasions.
The watches are perfectly sized at 39-42mm and run on quartz movement. The variety of dial types and strap styles is decent enough to suit various tastes.
For instance, you’ll come across an all-silver metal watch with a posh fluted bezel (like to one on Rolex Datejust). Or a Sun and Moon watch with the two celestial bodies alternating depending on the time of the day. However, most watches are still minimalistic and easy to read.
Stuhrling brand is relatively new and inevitably faces the problems all the growing companies experience at the early stage. However, when going through the watches, it’s quite clear the brand already has the makings of becoming a respected manufacturer in the watch industry.
The design, diverse line-up, quality materials, and the guts for taking on the manufacturing of intricate types of wristwatches show serious intent. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if, in ten or twenty years, we see Stuhrling standing side-by-side with the already recognized brands we have today.
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