Brand/Model: Steinhart Marine Officer Automatic Chronograph
Movement: Swiss automatic w/ chronograph module
Material: stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications: chronograph timing in one-second increments up to 30 minutes
Price: 810 Euro (includes VAT)/(approx. $1,050 USD);
Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Steinhart is an independent watch company based in Germany that was founded by and currently led by Günter Steinhart. Steinhart has its watches made in the Jura region of Switzerland. The company produces a wide array of pilot, diver, GMT, chronograph and special edition watches, all of which have Swiss made automatic or manual wind movements.
According to Steinhart, the Marine Officer Chronograph is styled after watches worn by deck officers of the Italian Navy near the end of World War II. What attracted me to this model from Steinhart is that it is one of the more original designs that Steinhart produces. Many of their watches, at least to me, are too derivative of already established designs (do we really need yet another Sub homage? Seriously?)
If you order from the U.S., you will not pay the European VAT, which reduces the cost of the watch a bit, but you still have to pay shipping, brokerage fees from the shipper and conversion fees via PayPal, so things do add up a bit. What I’m trying to say is that while they are well-made watches, a Steinhart does not necessarily translate to a strong value to me. They are competitively priced, but a bit on the high end, considering the brand is not a long-standing Swiss institution. All the more reason to me to select a model that has a more original look to it.
The Marine Officer Chronograph starts with a rather large 44.4mm stainless steel case which is fully brushed. Case width including crown is 49.4mm. The crown is nicely proportioned, signed with the Steinhart ‘S’ and does not screw down. Lug width is 22mm, case thickness is 16mm. Steinhart lists the weight at 125 grams. The caseback is brushed and is now a display type with a mineral crystal.
When I ordered my Marine Officer, the web site showed (and still shows in at least one photo) a solid, engraved caseback with a tall ship depicted. When I received my watch, it came with the display back, showing off a mildly decorated movement with an entirely plain rotor (see photo).
The Marine Officer Chronograph is factory rated for a very modest 3 ATM of water resistance, so best be keeping this one dry. It’s kind of a conundrum, having a watch with ‘marine’ in its name and having such a low water resistance. Memo to Steinhart: a 10 ATM minimum water resistance would be much better on this model.
The case on the Marine Officer Chronograph has a fixed tachymeter bezel, fully brushed with a knurled edge and engraved numbers painted black. The dial is a light shade of grey with Super Luminova C3 luminous markers and ‘12’ and ‘6’ luminous arabics at the spots you expect to find them at.
The Steinhart logo and name is positioned below the 12. An outer chapter ring marks off the seconds for the central chronograph seconds hand, while an inner ring of simple printed black hash marks forms a circle underneath the markers. The hour and minute hands are black with infill lume and the watch seconds hand (the subdial on the right side) is also black with a pointer end filled with lume. The black hands are very legible against the grey dial and easy to read at a distance. Lume quality is average, I expected better with Super Luminova, although the hands do glow brighter than the markers on the dial.
The central chronograph seconds hand is a simple silver stick. The chronograph 30-minute totalizer (the subdial on the left) has a similarly simple silver stick hand with a small lumed pointer end. The silver can be a bit hard to read against the grey dial, but since the chronograph is not in constant use, this usually won’t be a problem. I do appreciate watch designs like this one that differentiate the chronograph hands from the standard timekeeping hands via a different color, but perhaps some other color than silver would work better.
I do love two-register chronographs and overall, this dial design works well. Both subdials have white timing tracks and don’t jump out as much as some other two-register designs do. To each his own.
The chronograph pushers are standard design and have a solid, yet cushioned click about them. The dial on the Marine Officer Chronograph is capped by a sapphire crystal that is slightly domed and has double anti-reflective coating on the inside. No distortion has been noticed with the crystal and examination under an 8X loupe shows a clean build on the dial devoid of any dust or imperfections.
Powering the Marine Officer Chronograph is an ETA 2824-2 movement with the often loved and hated Dubois-Dépraz DD 2030 chronograph module, giving the watch an impressive total jewel count of 49.
The chronograph starts, stops and resets crisply and operations of the watch, including manual winding, hacking, setting, etc. has been fine, as it should be. So don’t let the inclusion of the DD chrono module scare you off from this good timepiece.
The Marine Officer Chronograph comes on a very nice quality handmade leather strap (‘vintage leather’ in Steinhart speak) in the perfect shade of medium grey with contrast white stitching.
A note on the buckle; the Marine Officer Chronograph is supplied with a large signed brushed pre-V style buckle which is fine, but these types of buckles don’t sit well with me due to my smaller wrist size. They are just too wide and bulky. Steinhart does sell a slimmer 22mm brushed buckle on their site. Memo number two to Steinhart: give the buyer their choice of either the pre-V buckle or the slimmer buckle at no charge.
I bought an aftermarket slimmer buckle (which is the buckle shown in the photos) and it looks good and functions well and was cheaper than the slimmer buckle Steinhart sells. Both the pre-V buckle and the slimmer one from Steinhart (as well as the one I purchased) are screw pin style, for an easier swap.
Comfort of this watch is overall pretty good, but be forewarned, this is a big watch. I have about a 6-3/4 inch wrist and I have the strap set on the last hole to give me the best fit. I can wear it on the second to last hole, but the watch tends to flop about a bit, as this piece is somewhat top heavy.
Presentation is an outer white two-piece cardboard box (which arrived with a tear down one corner) and a black padded inner box with the instructions, watch and strap changing tool inside. A fair presentation, but given the price point, it could be a bit sharper.
In summary, the Steinhart Marine Officer Chronograph is an original-looking design that has a purposeful and strong presence about it. Overall quality is about where it should be for the price point and if customer service matters to you, Steinhart fills the bill on this point.
Pros: great grey dial/grey leather strap combo, legible main hands, two-register chronograph good looks, Swiss engine, solid caseback looks better than display type
Cons: very modest water resistance, large size will be too big for some, somewhat pricey, pre-V buckle also too big for some, weakish lume
Verdict: color, build quality, looks, functionality and original design are the attributes the Marine Officer Chronograph brings to the table. While not for everybody due to its size or price, you could certainly do a lot worse than this one. Just ask for the solid caseback.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures.