Stowa Marine Original

Even those of us whose knowledge of watches extends beyond Rolex, Omega, Tag-Heuer, Seiko and Casio may not necessarily have heard of Stowa. This German watch brand was established in 1927 by Walter Storz and remains independent to this day. Its name is derived from that of Storz – S-T-O(rz), W-A(lter).

Stowa have throughout their existence concentrated on reasonably-priced watches of good quality. Currently costs are kept down by selling almost exclusively on-line.

One of the most attractive watches in their current line-up is the Marine Original which, according to the Stowa website, is “inspired by the observation watches once used on navy ships”.

The watch houses a Swiss-made UNITAS 6498 17-jewel manual-wind movement, upgraded by Stowa with a screwed balance and a swan-neck regulator. The movement is attractively finished, if not to Patek standards, certainly to a level that belies the watch’s price.

Originally designed for pocket watches, the UNITAS has been in production since the early 1950s and is sometimes cited as the finest pocket watch movement ever made. In recent years the trend towards larger wristwatches has given it a new lease on life, and modified versions are used in some very exclusive watch brands, including Omega and Panerai.

© Christopher Seddon 2008

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Church Loft, West Wycombe, Bucks

West Wycombe, Bucks is a small village located three miles west of High Wycombe, on the road to Oxford. This building with its large clock is known as the Church Loft, and dates to the early 15th Century. This extract from a 2005 Wycombe District Council character conservation area survey:

Church Loft is one of the oldest buildings in the village,having been dated to the early 15th century.The building is timber framed, with later brick infill, and the upperfloor oversails both front and rear on moulded bressumer beams,and is an open hall.The lower floor seems to have been small medieval shop units, although later records suggest they were used as tenements during the 19thcentury. The left hand bay is open as a carriagewayto Church Lane and contains the Village lock-up and whipping post. The right hand bay may also once have been open. The upper floor of the building has an open queen post roof. The Church Loft has a bell turret, and a particularly fine clock (dated 1668) overhanging the street. The clock mechanism remains within the Church Loft.

Photograph and original content © Christopher Seddon 2008