Review of Stührling Original Tuskegee Flier Automatic

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Model # 129A.335565
At a Glance:
Brand/Model:  Stührling Original Tuskegee Flier
Movement:  Chinese Automatic
Material:  Black PVD stainless steel, leather strap
Complications:  date display
Price:  MSRP $395 USD
Plenty of photos follow the review!  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Stührling Original is one of those ‘GermAsian’ brands (a watch that has a German sounding name that’s actually made in China) that I have been curious about, not really sure what to expect if I ordered one.  Well, this ‘Tuskegee Flier’ model caught my WIS eye and well, it just had to end up on my wrist. 

Named after the famous Tuskegee Airmen, who “were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America’s first black military airmen…” according to the Tuskegee Airmen web site, this Stührling model is part of the company’s Sportsman’s Collection and is a member of their ‘Bravo Zulu’ Series.  This watch is available in a variety of color combinations, including the yellow on black shown here, orange on black, and other dial/color combos including a full lume dial version.  I’ve been wanting a yellow/black watch and since the price was right, I pulled the trigger.
Stührling has also introduced a Tuskegee Bomber version of this watch with the same general look, but measuring a whopping 51.9mm in diameter with 26mm lugs! 
I don’t want to gush too much, but so far, I have been extremely impressed with this piece.   To begin with, the presentation is superb, especially for the price point.  It’s nice to get a watch on a strap that comes in a long flat box for a change, so the watch lays flat and doesn’t kink or crease the strap prior to purchase.  The inner and outer boxes are quite large and include a polishing cloth along with full documentation.  I must also add that Stührling’s web site is quite useful, with full specs. on all their watches.
This Tuskegee Flier is all stainless steel, with black PVD coating properly and evenly applied (better than the Fortis Pilot I owned).  The screwdown back is PVD as well, displaying the Chinese 22-jewel automatic that is very nicely decorated with blued steel screws, a finished rotor and decorated plates.  I love the look of the black rotor.  The movement is a Caliber ST-90016, which hacks and manual winds and runs at 21,600 bph.  So far, over 24-hours off the wrist, face up, it is running +7 seconds.  Not bad!
The crystal is Stührling’s ‘Krysterna’ variety, which I take to be their version of a sapphire crystal.  The yellow color is just about the perfect shade, not too yellow, not too pale, not greenish or off-hue.  Case measures 44.5mm without the signed, non-screw down crown.  Thickness is 13.8mm, lug width is 22mm.  Watch is factory rated at 50 meters water resistance.  A quickset date display resides at the 6 position.
I was wondering how the quality of the strap would be on this watch and I have been pleasantly surprised.  It runs 22mm continuous width, with even yellow stitching, two keepers and a signed, black PVD buckle.  The strap is moderately padded and isn’t too soft, but it is thick and appears sturdy.
Legibility is A-1 on this piece, although there is no lume applied on the dial or hands.  To me, this is not a detriment, as I bought this watch for its brilliant yellow features and easy-to-read dial in daylight.  The narrow pointer-style hands offer superb readability and a great look.
Expect to pay around $100 USD street price, an excellent value for a watch with these features.
Pros:  Excellent fit and finish, especially for the price point, great look and legibility, nice strap, impressive presentation, automatic movement should be reliable
Cons:  No lume, somewhat mediocre water resistance rating, long term reliability and quality still unknown at this point
Verdict:  This piece replaces my Fortis Pilot and does so with grace, quality and aplomb.  Certainly a strong value.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.
Excelsior!
-Marc
UPDATE!
I have owned this Stührling for over one year now and it continues to function perfectly.  The movement has proven to be reliable with good timekeeping ability.  The black PVD finish has held up fine, although I don’t wear it enough to really knock it around.  The black dial with yellow hands and markers still appeals to me.  Highly recommended. 
-MCV, 4-9-11

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