Stuhrling is an American watchmaker focusing on producing beautiful timepieces with ornate designs.
They are also well known for producing great homage watches to iconic Swiss timepieces.
In this article, let’s explore Stuhrling as a watchmaker. It’s history, production, collections, and finally decide on this question: is Stuhrling a good watch?
What are Stuhrling Watches?
Stuhrling is a relatively new brand, although the connections run deep into the early years of Swiss horology. Stuhrling comes from Max Stuhrling, a master watchmaker in the late 19th century who lived in Switzerland.
In 1999, Chaim Fisher started Stuhrling in New York, based on one solid goal – to produce tourbillon watches away from its traditional homeland, Switzerland.
Stuhrling’s great-grandson, Max Stuhrling IV, joined the company in 2002. Working in tandem with George J Von Burg, Stuhrling went online for the first time.
The watch company has since focused on selling their watches online, an approach very different from traditional retail model watch companies usually do.
Stuhrling has released over 4,000 models and sold over 2 million watches worldwide. Not bad for a 20 something-year-old watch company, huh?
Is Stuhrling A Swiss Watchmaker?
Despite the Germanic-sounding name, Stuhrling is not a Swiss watchmaker. It is also not a German watchmaker. It was founded in New York in 1999 and has kept operating mainly out of the US.
The only Swiss connection is that the founders and key personnel of the company are Swiss. Both Chaim Fisher (Founder & CEO) and Max Stuhrling IV are Swiss and have been involved in the Swiss watch industry for a long time.
There was no known connection between Stuhrling and the German watchmaking industry, although things might change in the future.
How to pronounce Stuhrling?
Stuhrling, in its original spelling, carries an Umlaut on the letter ‘u.’ That means the original spelling would be ‘Stührling.’
When an Umlaut is added to the letter ‘u,’ the pronunciation becomes ‘ue’ instead of ‘u’ alone in Germanic languages.
Suppose you wish to pronounce the word in its original Germanic pronunciation. In that case, you will need to pronounce ‘Stuehrling,’ which can be a bit of a tongue-locker to most people.
The good thing is that the watch brand is much more recognized in English due to its American origin, which means you are just fine pronouncing Stuhrling in English.
Are Stuhrling Watches Made In China?
Stuhrling watches are primarily made in China, with the possible exceptions of their movements, which may come from Japan or Switzerland, depending on the model.
Referencing from Stuhrling’s own website, Stuhrling mainly does design and development in the US, the headquarters at Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York.
The manufacturing and assembly of the watch happen in Shenzhen, China.
Now, here’s the question, should you run away from Stuhrling because their watches are made in China?
To us, we applaud their honesty in this. Many watchmakers insist that their watches are Swiss or German-made when the watches barely make the description.
Some even refuse to tell their watches’ origin or production location, obscuring it with words such as ‘manufactured from many of our worldwide plants.’
Of course, it might be a bit far-fetched to claim that Chinese-made watches are as good as Japanese or Swiss ones. But at the same time, it is also very judgemental to pass that all Chinese-made watches are junk.
Every manufacturing country started making crude, low-quality products before improving and graduating in more delicate things.
Even Germany was known to be producing poor quality products in the late 19th century compared to British goods. Japan carried the same reputation in the early 20th century as well.
China has improved leaps and bounds compared to their manufacturing quality from 30 years ago.
Plus, if Stuhrling is to manufacture out of China, they would have implemented systems quality standards to ensure that their products are of good standing.
One good way to do this is to actually pick up a Stuhrling watch yourself, and inspect the quality of the workmanship.
Why Are Stuhrling Watches So Affordable?
There are four major reasons: low-cost manufacturing, economics of scale, less marketing, and low R&D investment.
Stuhrling kept prices low by first manufacturing out of low-cost countries such as China. Lower wages were paid, resulting in lower costs. Stuhrling also mass-manufactured their watches, which also means they benefit from the economics of scale.
Stuhrling also does not need to develop and continue to improve its own in-house movement.
Instead, Stuhrling purchases and uses movements from major Japanese and Swiss movement makers such as Miyota or Sellita. One fine example of ‘standing on the shoulders of the giants.’
Another thing to look at is Stuhrling is not aggressive in marketing their watches. If you can recall, have you seen ads of Stuhrling watches on newspapers, billboards, or sporting events? Not much, really.
You will often see watch brands such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling, or Tag Heuer on ads during, say, golf, tennis, or racing events. Those watches are marketed heavily, and it reflects on their pricing.
Some people continue to relate expensive products as good, while cheap ones as junk. Things are not as simple and should not be that simple.
Stuhrling watches are cheaper than usual, but it does not mean they are junk.
ALSO READ: Best Affordable Watch Brands For Men
What movements Do Stuhrling Watches Use?
Stuhrling has adopted movements from Japanese, Swiss, and Chinese movement makers such as Miyota, Sellita, and Seagull.
Stuhrling does not develop their in-house movement, unlike companies such as Citizen, Seiko, or Bulova. This means Stuhrling sources movement for their watches from movement makers.
Things are fine and dandy with the Japanese and Swiss movements. They have a well-established reputation for quality and robustness.
The concern remains with the Chinese movement makers.
Stuhrling has had a history of problems from their experiments with Chinese movements, such as the ‘Lexus’ movement. The movement has performance issues, resulting in a loss of reputation for Stuhrling watches.
However, as Seagull and Shanghai Watch Factory improved production, the problems went away. Seagull is now the world’s largest movement manufacturer and powering many famous watch brands such as Fossil and Invicta.
With Chinese movements, it has always been the issue where a few cases of quality issues took the limelight instead of many more successful models.
That’s a shame, as many are also quietly ticking away in many other watches.
Are Stuhrling Watches Junk? Stuhrling Watches’ Reputation
Stuhrling watches have a reputation for being very beautiful in their design, with complications and design elements that are taken straight from ultra-luxury brands.
This is because Stuhrling approaches watchmaking as creating a piece of jewelry rather than creating a time-telling tool.
That means more focus on the form than the function.
Stuhrling also kept their prices low by using methods such as manufacturing from China and adopting movements instead of creating their own.
But perhaps the most significant difference in Stührling compared to many watchmakers is that they really focus on their sales online.
This means almost no direct boutique, salesperson, store rentals… and you get to enjoy the savings by being able to get their watches cheap.
Their entry-level offerings, those from $100 or less, can look attractive enough to catch your attention.
Some models, such as the Stuhrling Depthmaster Diver, look like a Rolex Submariner, but the price is barely $100. The temptation to just pick up one is real.
However, for pricier models, more needs to be considered, as Stuhrling might not be high-end enough to justify high prices for their watches.
Is Stuhrling A High-End Watch?
Stuhrling is not a high-end watch for many reasons. Often high-end watches require a higher level of ‘commitment’ in pursuing perfection in timekeeping.
This often resulted in high-end watches developing in-house movements, releasing new watch technology to improve timekeeping.
High-end watches also attempt to create their own design language. Their designs are often ‘copied’ by other watchmakers as homages.
Think about high-end watch houses, whose technological advancement and design languages are well copied by others. Rolex, Grand Seiko, Omega, Patek Philippe, or Audemars Piguet.
Stuhrling is at the other end of the spectrum. They do not develop their in-house movements but source them from other makers.
Instead of designing watches that are turned into homages by other watchmakers, they produce homages for watches such as the Submariner, Omega Planet Ocean or Rolex Datejust.
It could be said that Stuhrling is not a high-end watch, and it is also not a poor man’s Rolex either.
What Are Stuhrling Watches’ Collections?
Stuhrling’s collections are extensive across many styles and designs.
However, in general, Stuhrling’s designs could be broken into several main design collections:
Stuhrling Legacy is a collection that focuses primarily on skeletonized watches in traditional, classic designs.
These watches often also carry a traditional design, with additional complications such as moon phase, open heart, or day and date windows.
Most watches in this collection are also paired with leather straps, giving an even stronger sense of traditionalism in the collection. In fact, you can actually shop for pocket watches in this collection as well.
The name should tell you what this collection is about, their dive watches. Some of the watches in this collection are homages, and they are done beautifully
Expect to browse through the collection and see watches inspired by iconic Swiss watches such as the Rolex GMT, Rolex Submariner, and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.
Some of these watches are also more than just fashion watches. They can actually take some serious underwater time, with a water resistance of at least 200M.
ALSO READ: 17+3 Best Dive Watches Under $100
Stuhrling parked their pilot watches in this collection. Expect to see Flieger-type watches in the collection, with additional complications.
This made the watches in their collection not as ‘clean’ and ‘organized.’ Traditional Fliegers such as those from Sinn or Stowa are much simpler and cleaner.
But their aviator watches also do not feature very busy dials that you might see in some Breitling or the Seiko Flightmaster.
If you like traditional dress watches but hate how skeletonization has ruined the clean look of a dress watch at the same time…You like their symphony collection.
Symphony is where Stuhrling ‘toned down’ on their design by going for a simple, clean look.
Expect to find hints of Nomos-inspired, Bauhaus-type design in their collection here. Some watches also have elements of designs taken straight from the Rolex Datejusts, such as the fluted bezel.
One model looks similar to the Rolex Cellini too. Can you spot which one?
Stuhrling’s racing watches are hosted under this collection. Will we see designs of legendary racing watches such as the Rolex Daytona here?
Of course, you do. In fact, one particular model is definitely a homage to the Daytona Paul Newman edition. White dial, two subdials on the left and right.
Aside from Daytona-looking watches, there are still other racing chronographs to choose from. Stuhrling also included many watch straps to indicate the racing feel that these watches come with.
This collection houses Stuhrling’s tourbillon collection. These models are why Stuhrling was founded in 1999, to produce affordable tourbillon watches.
They certainly achieved that. Watches with a tourbillon are mostly very expensive, with price in the five if not six figures. Stuhrling’s tourbillon watches are in the thousands, making them reachable to many more people.
Tourbillon is considered the peak achievement of Swiss watchmaking technology. It is an addition to the watch escapement. Tourbillion helps to reduce timekeeping errors caused by factors such as gravity.
Aside from these, Stuhrling also makes watches for ladies and complimentary ‘gentlemen sets’ such as pens.
Stuhrling Watches: Pros and Cons
Stuhrling watches have their strong points and weak points, as no watchmakers are perfect.
These are thing you need to consider before deciding you want a Stuhrling watch.
Stuhrling Pros: Krysterna Crystal
If Stuhrling ever spent money on some serious R&D, perhaps Krysterna is one of them.
Krysterna is Stuhrling’s proprietary formula of mineral watch crystal, similar to Seiko’s own Hardlex. Stuhrling claims that it is more shatterproof than a sapphire crystal and a similar mineral crystal.
However, unlike Seiko, who gives out much information about their Hardlex crystal, Stuhrling does not, which can be perplexing. Some watch enthusiasts have even called Krysterna nothing but a marketing gimmick.
Perhaps the best way to approach this special crystal is to treat it like a typical mineral crystal and not base it as a primary decision when choosing between watches.
Stuhrling Pros: Great Homages
There is no denying this. Stuhrling makes great homages.
Some of their dive, pilot, racing, and dress watches have design elements similar to many iconic models – Rolex Submariner, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Daytona, Rolex Cellini, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, German Luftwaffe Fliegers, and more.
So if you are the type that loves to hunt for homages at an affordable price, Stuhrling is definitely a watchmaker for you to consider.
ALSO READ: 15 Affordable Watches That Look Like Rolex
Stuhrling Pros: Value-For-Money Tourbillon
This is one point no watchmakers in the market can compete with Stuhrling. Affordable, functional tourbillons.
Some of us love a tourbillon – perhaps you appreciate the mechanical performance, you have never experienced a tourbillon watch…
Or you are just like me, enjoying staring at the tourbillon ticking away on your watch escapement.
Stuhrling’s affordable tourbillon made it possible for many people to own a tourbillon watch. Albeit still a bit expensive, considering the pricing against ultra-luxury watches, it is still significant savings.
Stuhrling Cons: Movement Inconsistency
Stuhrling’s main issue would be with their movement. With Seiko or Citizen, you can expect a consistent Japanese-style movement that you know will stand the test of time.
If you purchase a Tissot or Swatch, you know it runs a Swiss movement. Be it ETA, Ronda, Sellita, STPs.
But with a Stuhrling, you do not know. It could be Japanese, Swiss, or Chinese movements are ticking inside.
This means you need to spend some time checking the movement before making your purchase.
This could be a hassle when shopping for Stuhrling watches, and it doesn’t help that you would probably be buying online with no sales rep to talk to.
Stuhrling Cons: Lack of Physical Presence
This brings us to Stuhrling’s biggest strength, which could also double their Achilles heel.
At times, watch companies without a retail presence can struggle to provide good after-sales service. This happens to almost all brands that are entirely online as well.
There is something good and comforting to many when they can just take their product, walk into a store and get support and service help from the staff. There is a physical presence.
Customers have complained about Stuhrling’s less than stellar performance on after-sales service and warranty claims, which would not come as a surprise.
There need to be constant mailing or watches, phone calls, and emails to confirm details, sometimes for weeks. This can be troublesome.
All these could be sorted out in perhaps less than an hour in a proper sit-down inspection and discussion between the customer and service agent.
Do Stuhrling Watches Appreciate In Value?
In general, Stuhrling watches do not appreciate in value. This is because Stuhrling is a fashion watch brand, which means it does not hold much intrinsic value aside from being a fashion accessory.
Suppose you are looking for watches that appreciate value. In that case, you are better off investing in more established, proper watchmakers with a long history of making great watches – Rolex, Omega, Seikos, for example.
If you have the budget, you could also invest in ultra-luxury timepieces as they almost all hold value well. Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet for example.
ALSO READ: Do Seiko Watches Hold Value?
Do Stuhrling Watches Last?
Stuhrling watches lasts long, as they are built and assembled to high-quality standards.
The movements used are from companies that make reliable and robust movements, such as Miyota and Sellita. Stuhrling watches should have a long and productive life under a caring owner.
The concerns lie with Stuhrling’s more sensitive complications, such as their tourbillon and Chinese movements.
Aside from that, some of Stuhrling’s watches also have more intricate build, such as the skeletonized dials.
This means Stuhrling watches are not suitable as daily beaters. Leave that job to your trusty G-Shocks.
Aside from that, the watch also could do better with servicing and maintenance from a watchmaker.
How long is Stuhrling Watches’ Warranty?
All Stuhrling’s watches come with a 2-year warranty, which is pretty standard for many watch brands.
If your watch has manufacturing defects, Stuhrling will repair the damage free of charge.
For quartz movements, Stuhrling also covers the battery for a year.
Warranty, however, will not cover damages caused by the use of the watch by the customer.
If you break your watch, then the warranty will not cover it.
Although the repair fees are free, the biggest catch with their warranty is that you still need to pay to ship your watch in for repairs.
You will also need to include a $20 check for domestic and a $40 check for international customers for Stuhrling to ship the watch back to you after repairs.
Where To Buy Stuhrling Watches?
Stuhrling does not have a retail presence, leaving you with two primary options: their online store and online marketplaces such as Amazon.
Official Online Store
Official online shops are usually the safest place to purchase watches online. You can pretty much guarantee the genuineness of the watch you are buying.
Plus, warranty claims are much more straightforward since your purchasing record is with them directly, not through a reseller.
The issue with buying from an official online store is that you might not be able to see genuine user reviews.
Sure, watchmakers can include user reviews on the website. Still, they can also have the option to remove critical or negative ones, which means you are not getting an accurate picture of the watch before buying it.
This brings us to online marketplaces such as Amazon.
The two most vital points about Amazon are strict policies on fake or imitation products. This ensures all Stuhrling watches sold on Amazon are genuine.
With Amazon, you can also read reviews on a particular watch before buying. It is to Amazon’s best benefit that they are impartial on this. They allow both positive and negative comments on the product in their store.
Stuhrling cannot delete or curate the reviews, so you can be sure you are reading all the reviews and have a balanced view of the watch you are interested in.
How To Spot A Fake Stuhrling Watch?
Stuhrling is probably not at the price range, making it popular with counterfeiters. Still, it is never wrong to be careful.
To determine the originality of a Stuhrling watch, these are the process we recommend:
- For complete assurance, buy directly from Stuhrling’s online store and trusted marketplaces such as Amazon.
- If buying from a used market, always ask to see the warranty card, box, and accessories. This assures that the watch is well cared for, probably not stolen.
- Always match the serial number of the manual and warranty cards with the watch. If they do not check, walk away. It could be a sign that the watch has originality issues.
- If you can hold the watch in hand, give the watch a thorough visual inspection. Are there any flaws, such as a misspelling or poor finishings?
- Check the watch’s serial number with Stuhrling. You can reach out to them via WhatsApp, email, or phone.
So, Is Stuhrling A Good Watch?
Is Stuhrling a good watch company? Yes, it is, and it could be better in the future.
Stuhrling does not have a long history and is experiencing growing pains that all watch companies need to go through to become successful.
Perhaps it could be said that Stuhrling is still at the ‘copying and learning’ stage before they can move into the ‘innovate and overtake’ stage. This is probably similar to Japanese watchmakers in the earlier 20th century.
However, it could be seen that Stuhrling is well on its way to becoming an excellent watchmaker company. Perhaps one day, we can see Stuhrling be able to stand tall together with more respected horological houses.