As promised today we are taking a look at the Sternglas Topograph. The top model from Sternglas collection and also the biggest one yet at 42mm. As you know I work with Sternglas very closely, not because of the business or anything, but just like the brand, everything they release looks killer. So I had an early access to these designs and also went to their new collection launch event to Hamburg (Germany) and was probably the first watch reviewer who saw the whole collection in flesh. And I have to say that when I first saw this watch I was blown away about the design. I am a sucker for busy dials and this one was executed in just the right way. Also, the design of the dial reminded me of those old slide rulers that were in banks (at least in my country) and I liked to play with them when I was little.
So the watch comes in a very good looking and simple box. You definitely can see that German design influence on the outside of the box. I have to mention that all their watches are coming in the same identical boxes. Inside the box, you will find the watch, warranty card and instructions manual. I have seen the watch before in the flesh, but anyways I was really expecting this one and was super happy that day. Immediately slapped it on my wrist and wore it for one week straight, forgot about every watch I have in my collection. But right out of the box you can feel that this isn’t your typical affordable watch, Sternglas are really nitpicky about the quality of their watches and so they found the best manufacturers to make their watches. And you can really feel that, the case machine work and finishing, just top notch!
The Topograph case is of solid 316L stainless steel, the industry standard. It is quite a circular case design with short thin 22mm lugs. The machine work is exceptional, all the lines are sharp and expressed. I haven’t seen a watch at this price range that stands close to this for some time now. The finishing all over the watch is satin brushed and it kind of goes with that minimal/Bauhaus theme. The case design certainly allows for a “full dial” experience and that is how they are able to fit so much information neatly packed into it. The case diameter is 42mm, the thickness is 13,5mm and from lug to lug it measures at 50,6mm. Overall the watch wears pretty well if you take in your hands, it looks big due to its thin bezel line and big dial, but on the wrist, it wears pretty good and not oversized. The proportions for middle-sized wrist are just spot on. At 3 o’clock we have a small push-pull crown with polished finishing. The crown is small but pretty easy to operate. The exhibition case back is held on with six small screws and engraved with small text. On the front, you have a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating and on the case back you will find a flat sapphire crystal. The water resistance is 5ATM (50m) which is ok for some rain or handwash, but nothing more.
The dial is really cool. Topograph comes with a matte black dial which is certainly legible at any angle when on the wrist, which is a big win for me. For some, the dial may look cluttered, but I think that the dial is just perfect, you can easily read time. The white printing on the dial and the chapter ring is done very good. The date window is placed at the 3 o’clock position with a white date wheel, in my opinion, this is the only thing I don’t like as I like dial colour matched date wheels, but probably Sternglas chose this one because if it was black, it would be hard to notice. Nonetheless, print work is top notch and no quality control issues are visible on mine example. I also do like the white tipped baton style hands and feel they really stand out on top of the matte dial. The dial isn’t in your typical Bauhaus style as mostly they are minimal looking, but Topograph seems to have a lot of detail on the dial, but even there you can see some Bauhaus design cues. I can surely say that Sternglas makes one of the best-looking dial designs in the affordable category.
The movement that is inside the Topograph is Miyota Caliber 821A. It has 21 jewels, it beats at 21,600 BPH and the power reserve is 42hours. The movement is automatic, but you can also wind it with the crown. The rotor is customized, when I was in Hamburg, Dustin (founder of the company) told me how they do it. They basically get all the movement from Japan, take them to a guy who grinds off the top layer of the rotor so there is no writing and then engraved the Sternglas logo and other info on the rotor. And he said that it was very problematic to do as Miyota doesn’t send out movements with clean rotors, they all come with Miyota engraving. The movement is pretty precise, my example runs at +7 to +8 seconds a day which is pretty good.
The strap that Topograph came with is as always really good. As I said in the past, Sternglas has probably one of the best straps from any microbrand that come with the watch right from the store. I chose the vintage mahogany suede strap and I think it looks excellent. The Topograph comes also with other colour straps so there is something for everyone to choose from. The lug width is 20mm so if you don’t like any strap that Sternglas offers you can easily find a strap you like from other stores. Of course, all Sternglas straps come with built-in quick release spring bars which as you all know is one of my favourite things, as it makes strap change 10x faster than usual.
Overall the Topograph is my favourite watch so far from Sternglas. I really like the busy design of the dial which reminds me of an old slide ruler. The case is really well made with sharp and expressive lines. Inside sits a made in Japan movement that has proven its reliability over the years. The strap is really well made and feels like something you order from a strap maker that would probably ask twice as much money. And all that for just 309€ – 25€ that my discount code gives ALBERT25.
Diameter: 42 mm stainless steel
Height: 10 mm
Movement: MIYOTA Caliber 821A
Power reserve: max. 42 hours
Vibration frequency: 21,600
Jewels: 21 pcs
Glass: Domed sapphire glass
Case back: sapphire glass
Lug width: 20 mm
Water resistance: 5 ATM