Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
This is the 'Harbormaster Spinnaker' from newcomer Stolas Watches. Actually their name has a couple of accented characters that I am having trouble typing in, so 'Stolas' it is; you can see the correct version on the dial.

The Harbormaster is their first watch, available in three models: Genoa, Spinnaker and Gennaker. Different colors, bands and dials, with all sharing the other details. In common are the 44mm, stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, lumed bezel, lightning seconds hand, 200m water resistance, screwdown crown and bezel. The more expensive Genoa model adds applied hour markers, silver embossed dial and ETA 2824 movement; the movements in the others are Shanghai (SMC) 2824 clones.

Looking at the Spinnaker you can see hints of both IWC (lumed bezel) and Ulysse Nardin (dial and hands), but overall it's clearly it's own thing. In the dial closeup you can see the deep texture of the carbon fiber dial, the well-printed text and applied '6'. Pardon the dust!

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Interestingly, the design skips some of the minute markers, there are only two every 5 minutes. It gives the impression of a relaxed attitude towards precise readings, also conveyed by the bezel with replaces minute markers with a stylized wave. This is a more of a lifestyle watch than a super-precise instrument.

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews At some angles the dial appears flat black or grey, depending on light source. However, the skeletonized black-on-black hour and minute hand tend to vanish against the dial. The Genoa version uses blue-on-white and seems more legible. Unlike the vivid seconds hand, they take a bit longer to spot and read and really the skeletonization isn't needed as there are no subdials to block.

At night, however, the watch is superbly lumed:

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Really really well done, and quite high quality - it remains legible for eight hours or more. The blue colors fade faster, but the hour, minute and dial markers are the longer-duration whitish green, well matched to the eye.

I don't know how they prepared the bezel, it appears to be paint inset and filled, which is of unknown durability.

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews The case is extremely well finished, I've seen worse on watches costing more. Polished throughout, smoothly and evenly, with an etched designs on the caseback and next to the crown. There's also an optional sapphire caseback, which would probably look great on this watch.

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews The signed crown has simple knurling and classic crown guards, and is well placed at four o'clock. Good thread, easy to operate and secure. The handwinding and hacking movement winds as smoothly as any ETA 2824 I've seen, and keeps excellent time.

The bezel is 60-click and a bit stiff for my fingers. The smoothed edge could use some surface roughening, as it's slippery when wet.

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews The stainless steel bracelet and NATO strap are optional extras ($72 and free!), both are well-matched to the watch itself. The NATO colors accent the dial perfectly, though it's a lot more noticeable with that much color. The bracelet is Oyster-style, with polished center links, solid links and end links, fliplock with pushbutton release, signed clasp and one micro-adjustment. Links are split-pin design, and with all links add 125g of weight for 225g total. The blue-stitched rubber band is 20g, and is my preferred way to wear the watch:

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Functional, comfortable, understated. At 14.2mm thick, it's medium thick and quite shirt-friendly due to the tapered bezel.The lug and caseback shape helps it sit solidly on your wrist:

Stolas Harbormaster Spinnaker Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews If you look closely, you can see my hands, camera and shirt reflected. This is an indicator of how well made and finished the case is, it's nearly mirror-flat and smooth.

The Spinnaker is a series of 125 watches, and at an introductory price of $571 ($651 with bracelet and NATO, $723 with all of the above plus sapphire caseback) I expect them to sell out quickly. That's a very good value in my opinion. Not a watch made for the hardcore diver, it will nevertheless serve that as well as most other situations, and the colorful design seems to catch eyes and garner compliments from strangers.

Thanks to Stolas for the sample unit. Opinions are 100% independent.

What do you think?
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  • kris c

    Is the price listed with the ETA option? That would be reasonable and a good value. If that is the Chinese clone price, not so much.

    This displays well – some of the colours are quite unique. Can’t say I’m a fan of all that wavy crap in the bezel though. The bloom on that lume is great, and the seconds hand bening fully lumed like that is a nice touch, although it does not appear to be as richly applied. I like how wide the lugs are – are they 26mm? Thats rare to come by, but really makes a watch feel secure on your wrist.

  • IS3515

    Not for me, too much going on. But, I’m glad they are offering some thing different. To me, mixing several concepts makes a weird watch – racing , dive, yachting. They could lose the carbon fiber. It is a dive watch right? The lightning bolt seconds hand in orange? I do like what they did to the case.

  • Pete

    Agree too much going on, The dial and hands design looks like a “greatest hits” list of parts from other watches, the case looks very nice though – esp the stamp on the side, nice touch. The black pvd gennaker can be seen wearing an optional steel colored bracelet on the website – not exactly a classy look.

    The top of the range genoa (i.e 2824 is $1199) so these don’t really say good value to me. Miyota might have been a better choice.

  • Nate

    Saw this watch a few weeks ago online and it perked my interest…now I really want one! Just looks like a nice “feel good” summer watch to me! I like the colors and am a big fan of the carbon fiber dial. But what really says buy me is the lume–it looks awesome!

  • Brad P.

    That is really amazing, thanks for sharing.

    I’m a big fan or color in my watches, not to much and not to little, and looks like they hit a home run in that department. The lumed bezel looks awesome, just that tag of color is making me go crazy. Did I say I like color? Lol.

    More serious though, the polish looks great and that’s pretty cool you can see your reflection, no longer have to carry a mirror… I am surprised they used skeleton hands though, like you said there is nothing to hide, but I do like the way the filled sections just seem to float around.

    Does anyone know what that engraving is on the case back? Kinda hard to see from the pictures.

    Overall looks really original to me and that’s important nowadays with thousands of companies offering the same watches. Guess who is wearing a Rolex look-a-like, not me :). I will deffenantly be picking one of these up in the future, sounds like a really exiting company to follow.

  • Dangeruss

    I like it (mostly). It’s “watch soup” to be sure, but it comes off looking OK. The wavy graphics on the bezel are a poor choice. I think they wanted to emulate UN with many design elements.

    I look at this like one of those inexpensive big-box stereo systems. For the price you could buy a really good radio, but they’ve added dual cassette, CD player, an EQ, a turntable, a tuner and a iPod dock trying to cater to everyone.

    I think it looks fine in pictures, but there’s way too many textures, colors and details for me to pull this one off well.

  • Adrian

    I really love this watch. As an actual owner of one I can’t stress the amount of detail this watch has. As some of you have commented it has everything, but I have to argue with that and say why can’t I have everything? Too many of my watches lack something I wished it had, now I have one that to me, has everything I want. True, they could downplay it a little but I think what most of you are saying is too much is really just unique and makes it different.

    Even though I have their “cheaper” one, I still want Genoa, which has even more going on. I think its a good balance if you ask me. I dislike other busy watches with all the chronos, circles, and crap that confuse the mess out of it. I am super happy with mine!

  • Tom

    Other than the lightning bolt seconds hand, I like it, especially the case. Note the “etched design” on the back is the USS Arizona memorial.

  • Brad P.

    Thanks Tom I was wondering what that was an image of, pretty cool.

  • Greg S

    Well, I have a Genoa. I can say for very good reasons why the skeletonized hands are an asset on the Genoa, the dial!!

    The dial on the Genoa is something to behold. No watch soup here folks. It is unique an one of a kind.. The lume, applied markers, orange bezel and accent colored date window all come together for an amazing look!! I’d say the 2824 ETA value is still here. Plus, you get the sapphire caseback, SS bracelet, rubber and NATO strap included. Heck, there are dozens of other companies selling the same movement for twice as much!! If you haven’t seen the Genoa yet, you should take a look..




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  • john steppling

    Very tasty looking watch I think. Reminds me of Ball’s new series of watches. I love those and this is sort of the same ballpark in terms of price (sort of). Its priced quite reasonably and its a cool looking watch. I dont think it looks busy at all, those comments are a bit surprising, actually. UN to my mind are the very coolest looking watches (the marine chronographs)….and this does (as someone noted) reflect a bit of that nautical sea deck vibe. Overall I think its a very very cool watch for the price.

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  • Boaz

    My weakness are blue diving watches, Wonderful product

  • Chris G

    This watch looks phenomenal! I just love the fact that colors are so bright set om silver and black in this watch case. I also find it very nice to have the second just be a little different, in this case a lighting bolt. not to mention that Stolas puts in orange which just draws attention to it!

    Gotta Love This Watch!

  • ToddV

    I really like the color combos of this watch with the blue. I am always drawn to divers with a blue dial, markings, or lettering. I usually like traditional hands on divers, but the lightning bolt second hand on this watch doesn’t seem to stand out too much, so it doesn’t really bother me.

  • I think the watch has to many themes going on. PVD, Carbon Dial, Lightning hands, waves, colors? It’s too much. I enjoy hands that are little different, such as the Rolex Milgauss, (which these hands are too close to be a coincidence- let’s call them “homage”), but here they don’t mean something like they do on the Milgauss, which is meant to be an anti-magnetic watch from the days when that mattered.

  • Ivan1998

    Love this watch very different.

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  • Dave S

    The functional/stylistic balance on the bezel, the colors of the lume and the orange lightning bolt are very appealing. I am not a fan such heavily textured carbon fiber and count it a plus that it can’t be seen in lower light where the lightning bolt stand out the more.