Service: Stowa Convertible / Durowe 450

IMG_1919For a good decade, my father had decided that wrist watches weren’t for him, and he took off his Rado, and decided that he wanted something that he could have in his pocket. A traditional pocket watch wasn’t his thing, so he went for a Stowa Convertible. As the Stowa factory at that time was only 20 miles from where we lived, his local jeweller, where he bought the watch, would have stocked their watches.

The name “Stowa” is very much a child of its time, the 1920s. German manufacturers loved to name their companies after them, but didn’t want to be too blunt. So Walter Storz, the founder of Stowa, took the first two letters of this surname, and the first three of his first name, and that was it. Other examples of this are “Haribo” (Hans Riegel, Bonn) or Adidas (Adi Dassler). IMG_1920

The watch has a little stand that folds out of the back so that it can be stood up as a little desk watch. I remember playing with this watch as a child, opening and closing it to no end. I’m not quite sure how sturdy it was, as I remember my father having at least 3 of these 😉

The watch is taken apart easily enough – you just pop out the central watch piece from the stand.IMG_1922
Definitely time for a service.IMG_1926
Inside is the Durowe 450. A natural choice, as Durowe (yes, another one of those crazy 1920’s company names – Deutsche Uhrenrohwerke) was in Pforzheim as well. The factory had been razed to the ground in WWII, but thanks to the generous help of the Marshall Plan, it was re-built, and production began again in 1949.

A tell-tale sign of a good movement are wheels that are capped on both sides. This movement has capped jewels on the escape wheel, and it has them on both sides. Nothing else makes a lot of sense, and is for show only.
IMG_1925And yes, the escape wheel is capped on the bottom plate as well. IMG_1940

The movement isn’t  overly complex, but nicely made. At the time this was made, Durowe produced 80,000 or so movements a month, so they knew what they were doing. But after a couple of ownership changes (Timex, ETA), the company finally yielded to the quartz movement at the end of the 1970s. Stowa acquired the rights to the name, and is planning on producing their own movements under the Durowe brand again! IMG_1942

The gear train is back together. IMG_1943

And the movement is beating again.


Even with the old mainspring, this is pretty impressive. Not only dial down, but all positions are strong, with little variation. As I said, Durowe knew what they were doing.IMG_1946

The dial and hands get some new luminous compound.IMG_1948

And the watch is back together, and looking very nice indeed.20150620_082746

Folded together, a very tactile little thing.

In 1973, my father decided that, having paid off the mortgage, it was time for a decent wrist watch again, and he bought himself a Rolex 1601, which he wore for the rest of his life, and which I am wearing right now. The Stowa sits on the mantelpiece. It’s not his watch, as none of the three were left, but I bought this on eBay after searching for a long time.

Stowa still makes very nice watches indeed, and it’s well worth looking at what they are doing.

4 thoughts on “Service: Stowa Convertible / Durowe 450

  1. Great post for Father’s Day, Christian!

    I saw a Cartier version of this watch show up on a re-run of the British ‘Antiques Roadshow’ last week, and was wondering about it, so it’s nice to see this watch serviced here with the photos.

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