Bauhaus design found its way into watches and was popularized by Max Bill with a namesake watch from Junghans. While other brands have released watches with Bauhaus design cues, they have yet to fully embrace the German-originated design like Junghans did…until now. Sternglas is a few years old and kicked off their company with several watches heavily inspired by Bauhaus design trends. This makes perfect sense as the founder, Dustin Fontaine, who hails from Germany, wanted his watches to be affordable and carry the simplicity of Bauhaus design.
The Naos has been a staple in their collection since the brand was founded five years ago. It embodies the simple yet legible design Dustin aimed for when he founded the company. Many things go into a watch beside a minimalist dial. Let’s take a closer look at the Bauhaus-inspired Naos automatic.
On the Wrist
The Naos is a 38mm watch that can easily be classified as dressy. However, watches like this are far more versatile than they let on. The only thing holding the Naos back is its water resistance rating (50 meters), but let’s be honest, you weren’t swimming with it anyway. Many watches try to lean hard into the dress category and paint themselves in a corner. They’re a dress watch and nothing else. That type of watch will end up sitting in your watch box until your friend you haven’t spoken to in four years invites you to their second wedding. The Naos would be a fine selection for that event, but it would also fit in at the backyard BBQ and your kid’s dance recital.
If you think 38mm is too small for this watch, consider that it is nearly a 37mm dial. There is no dive bezel or wide fixed bezel scaling down the dial of the Naos. The white dial is utilitarian and gives the simple elements on the dial room to spread their legs, but more on that later. The dimensions are spot on at 43mm lug-to-lug and 12mm tall. The case height is brought down to 10.5mm wrist-to-crystal, and the Naos takes on an almost lugless look on the wrist because of the short lug-to-lug.
Legibility must be carefully considered when you have a watch with a large dial and a simple handset. The hands can easily disappear among all the lines on the outside of the dial and fade away into the minimalism the watch is going for. However, the Naos avoids this by extending the minute hand to the outside of the dial, and it looks as though it is touching the case and gives the wearer no question about what hand they are looking at. These are the things I like to see, as small a detail as it may be, from a brand that prides itself on its designs.
Sternglas Naos Specs
Despite being relatively simple, a good amount of detail is built into the dial. The black printing on the white dial is crisp and remains legible even beyond an average viewing distance. The hour and minute hash marks vary in length to help with legibility. Minute marks 1 through 4 between each hour are the shortest, with odd hours being the longest. Even hours are twice as long as the minute marks and are flanked by numerals.
The date window doesn’t get in the way at 6 o’clock and keeps the dial’s symmetry intact. The white dial appears to be matte but takes on a glossy appearance because of the domed crystal. The crystal takes away the legibility slightly, as it can throw off some wild reflections, but they mostly disappear into the white dial. A darker dial color would likely suffer from this more than this dial color.
The Naos is not entirely devoid of color as the hands are blue. I won’t say they are blued, as I couldn’t find evidence that they are heat-blued hands. Regardless, they add visual interest to the otherwise spartan dial. They catch the light and (dare I say it?) add a nice pop of color (I said it).
Case & Strap
When you have an elegant dial that is simply yet effectively designed, you need a case that matches it. Nothing is worse than a dial like this that is thrown into an off-the-shelf case. Thankfully, Sternglas developed a case that complements the aesthetics of the dial and maintains its simplicity.
The case is entirely polished, but there aren’t many flat surfaces for scratches to accumulate on. The top of the lugs are the only flat surface on the entire case, but they are thin and short, so even they won’t suffer from too much wear and tear. As the case descends toward the wearer’s wrist, it slopes in and narrows. This reduces the watch’s footprint and mitigates the feeling of having a large circle on the top of the wrist.
My only gripe with this watch is the movement used. Sternglas is using the Miyota 821A, and while it is a solid movement, the review sample I had is using the older 821A that doesn’t hack. The newer movements hack, but I cannot confirm if Sternglas is using those in the watches they are shipping now. That said, the 821A is reliable, easy to service, and does hand wind.
Sternglas includes a quick-release calf leather strap with the Naos. It is a simple light brown strap but was very comfortable out of the box. I usually have to roll stock leather straps between my fingers to break them in and get rid of that stiff straightness they have. However, the one included with this watch wrapped around my wrist with ease. I was perusing Sternglas’ website and saw they sell a vintage-style segment bracelet. If I were buying this watch for myself, I would get that bracelet to complete the vintagey goodness the Naos channels.
It’s no secret that if you’re looking at this watch, you’ve heard of the Junghans Max Bill. The Max Bill is a fine watch but is 2-3 times more expensive. With the Naos, you’re getting the Bauhaus look and feel at a solid price designed by someone who also has some skin in the game with Bauhaus design. In a watch like this, where simplicity and affordability have definite teeth as motivations for buying it, I tip my hat to the Naos.
Sternglas is offering 10% off of the Naos Automatik to Watch Clicker fans by using coupon code WATCHCLICKER10 for a limited time.
Check out more dress watch reviews at The Watch Clicker here
Check out the Sternglas website here