The Stella Felix has been dropped on Kickstarter, successfully funded, and is now offered for regular purchase at full retail. It wasn’t a massive windfall of a campaign–about 2x the brand’s goal. But when you consider that the Early Bird pricing was $829, the feat is a bit more impressive. $829 is twice the price of most Kickstarter watches, which makes it a tough sell in the vast sea of crowdfunded timepieces. The Stella Felix has an very New York glam rockstar vibe, and clearly that resonated with people (at least 58 of them, according to the campaign).
On the Wrist
The Stella Felix is a fun watch. The star on the dial, the even numerals, the blue ring on the crown, the double ended seconds hand; all little accents that bring the watch to life. The dial is available in six colors, including a textured blue and a textured gold, which I assume are the bestsellers. I felt those pushed the watch over the top, so opted to review one of the more staid options. The “Downtown Red” variant seen here shifts from a deep red to a vibrant ox blood depending on the light. (If you’re keen, check out the descriptions of the dials on the website for a heavy dose of affectation. A color doesn’t have to be some dubious embodiment of creativity and entrepreneurship–it can just be a beautiful shade.)
If you’re looking at the case profile and thinking it’s a bit familiar, I don’t blame you. The black case band and the lugs–with admittedly beautiful chamfers and curves–share an undeniable likeness with the case made popular by Bremont–specifically the Airco. The stock strap keeps the watch popped up a bit, but I found that putting a broken-in strap on the watch helped it sit better, and the drilled lugs made doing so a snap.
I couldn’t help myself but to include my guitar–which I definitely don’t use more in photos than I do to actually play.
The polished markers catch the light beautifully, and I like the cavities in the indices, but I wonder about the decision not to fill them with lume (just a thought, not a criticism).
The date window is a throwaway. I guess it’s fine if it needs to be there (does it?), and the polished ring is nice. As with many circular date frames, though, it’s too small. I would’ve preferred no date (or at least the option thereof).
The star is a fun touch that reinforces the glam life design of the Felix (I can imagine this on the wrist of a person who wears a number of woven bracelets. Or Johnny Depp.) The matching blue text and seconds hand offer a bit of pop against the dial. Finally, the triangular anchor on the seconds hand does its best to color match the dial, which I appreciate; plus it’s lumed for a double sweep effect in the dark.
Lume is fine. It shines adequately when charged up, though doesn’t stay bright for as long as I’d prefer. I’d give it a B.
Case and Strap
See. Bremont. The caseband, the expanding bulbous lugs and their chamfers that wind and then sweep in towards the interior. Sure, it’s been tweaked slightly, but not enough to go unnoticed. But the crown is very much it’s own thing: easy to grip and wind, perfectly sized, and that great blue star in a pond of black.
Check out the ridges on the crown. Huge, pronounced, perfect. The polishing complements the other polished case elements, and the polishing of the metal under the sapphire crystal. You can see the beveled edge of the crystal clearly here. It adds a bit of light play without distorting the dial when reading the time, which is exactly what it should do.
Stars on stars! And a shamrock! I really like this caseback. (I count fours stars.)
When I saw the Stella Felix in person for the first time, I was with a friend who remarked–right to the brand owners’ faces–that the watch was nice but the buckle was far too large, and that they should change it. While I didn’t disagree, I didn’t feel it was offensive enough to point out to the people who designed it. The strap itself is fine, but I’d recommend switching it unless you want to spend the time breaking it in.
If you machete your way through the marketing copy and brand-ascribed meaning–which give an impression of trying a bit too hard–the Stella Felix is a fine watch. I love the Bremont-style case, so I won’t complain about it (especially at 1/3 of the cost of a watch from the British brand), and the crown is fantastic. The dial is really its own thing: the indices and numerals, the handset, and the charming star. If you’re looking for a watch with a bit of character but not the unnecessary bling that often comes with that, the Stella Felix is a great option.
Check out more sports watch reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Stella Watch Company website
Stella Felix Specs
Swiss STP 1-11 Automatic
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal