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Real Pilot Watches Made in Germany
The Pilot Watch Magazine
26 February 2024

Traditional timepieces for pilots from the Black Forest

The history of the Stowa brand began in 1927, when German watchmaker and entrepreneur Walter Storz founded a manufactory for the production of pocket watches and wristwatches in Hornberg, Baden-Württemberg. Storz created the brand name from the first letters of his family name and first name. The small company grows rapidly and as early as 1935 Stowa moves its headquarters to Pforzheim to build its own watch factory.

During World War II, Stowa is one of the few certified manufacturers for the German Air Force’s famous observation watch, or B-watch. Observation watches are timepieces that are subject to very high standards of quality and accuracy, and were worn especially by navigators during their missions with a double-riveted fastening strap over the aviator’s uniform. By the way, the classic B-watches had no manufacturer’s indication on their dial.

Since the founding of the company by Walter Storz in 1927, Stowa watch models from the Black Forest have provided worldwide fascination.


New start after the war

After the end of the Second World War, Walter Storz dared to make a new start in 1951. Stowa opened a new production facility in Baden, and at the same time the Pforzheim headquarters, which had been destroyed at the end of the war, was rebuilt. Storz initially produced inexpensive everyday watches, later adding attractive jewelry watches to the collection. The shock protection system developed by Stowa, which is produced under the name Rufashoc and later Rufa-Anti-Shock, becomes particularly well-known.

Stowa in the quartz crisis

Timepieces from the house of Stowa enjoy great popularity worldwide, especially because of their good price-performance ratio. In the early 1960s, exports already accounted for around half of production capacity. In the 1970s, however, the tradition-steeped watch manufacturer began to flounder. Inexpensive quartz watches from the Far East flooded the market and caused serious economic difficulties for manufacturers of classic mechanical watches like Stowa. As if this were not enough, in these turbulent times, founder and company leader Walter Storz passes away in 1974.

The renaissance of the mechanical watch

After several years of cooperation with other watch manufacturers in Pforzheim, goldsmith, watch enthusiast and entrepreneur Jörg Schauer acquires the watchmaking company. Schauer realigns the company and the brand, invests in online retailing and modern production. He is also successively expanding the collection to include more modern models, as well as new interpretations of well-known classics. The traditional company is also benefiting from the renaissance of mechanical watches. In particular, the reissue of classic Stowa pilot’s watches excites watch lovers on the ground and in the air alike.

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