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Watch Freek
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WATCH NAME Steinhart Vintage Explorer 39

There are a fair few reviews regarding this watch, so if you want to watch a good one first, be my guest. I have recently sold two Steinhart watches, not because I didn’t like them, because I decided at 42mm they were a little large for my wrist, especially as Steinhart watches tend to have long lug-to-lugs. Unfortunately, the choice of smaller watches on offer by Steinhart is quite limited, unless you decide to buy from Gnomon. Gnomon are based in Singapore, and from what I can gather, they have Steinhart make watches for them. My previous two were the Vintage Red, and the Vintage GMT, either of which I would have been happy to replace with a 39mm version. I am not a great lover of watches that homage recent models, but have no problem with homages that take inspiration from older and discontinued designs. This particular watch is a homage of a watch that hasn’t been made for about fifty years, and a good one will now cost you in the region of £250k. Before we start, I will put my cards on the table. Steinhart are a German brand who have their watches made in Switzerland, have Swiss movements, and in my opinion they are possibly the best value for money watch produced by any company anywhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are perfect.

So, welcome to my unpaid and un-sponsored review of the Steinhart Vintage Explorer 39.


Case 39mm, lug width 20mm, lug to lug 47mm, depth including a domed sapphire is 14mm, and once adjusted for my wrist it is 147 grams. For a dive watch, this pretty much hits the sweet spot.


A reasonably premium leatherette box that comes in a reasonably premium outer box. Its just about what I would expect, so no complaints.


Housed in this watch is either the Elabore grade of the ETA2824-2 or the Sellita SW200. The reality is that they are pretty much the same movement, although the Sellita has an extra jewel, and from what I have read doesn’t mind being hand wound, as the ETA isn’t a great fan of it. It is a 4 hertz movement running at 28,800 bph, hacks, hand winds, and has a reputation of being reliable and very accurate. This movement can be found in watches costing many times more. Because this model doesn’t have a date window, it does have a ghost position. This isn’t something that has ever bothered me, but I know it does drives some other enthusiasts crazy.


Not surprisingly the case is well finished, with a combination of polishing and vertical brushing. It has drilled lugs, unlike the watch it homages, and a screw down back for its 100m water resistance. We will get to the water resistance later. The case back is quite simple with some details engraved around the outside. My only complaint is that the case lays a little flat, but other than that it is quite flawless.


The bracelet is beautifully finished. It is an Oyster style, with well executed vertical polishing on the top, and fine polishing on the sides. Needless to say, the links are solid, as are the female end links that enable the bracelet to rap around the wrist perfectly, and make it extremely comfortable. The links are attached by very well engineered screw pins, which make re-sizing a piece of cake. I have always been a fan of Steinhart bracelets, and this one hasn’t made me change my mind. The clasp is half milled and functional. It has four micro adjustments and a flip lock. Whilst a reasonable clasp, it doesn’t feel as premium as the rest of the watch, but it’s hard to really complain


Other reviewers have complained the bezel has a heavy action, but for me it is just about perfect. Plenty of resistance, no back play or wobble, and aligns perfectly. It doesn’t have the best grip, but I suspect this is because the original one didn’t either. The insert is either alloy or stainless steel, and has been painted to a high standard. It won’t be as scratch resistant as some other inserts, but it looks fantastic. There is a lume pip at 12.00, that isn’t exactly the same colour as the indices, but that really doesn’t bother me. All in all, I find the bezel very good.


The lume is old radium, so it isn’t the brightest, but hangs on a fair while, and suits the dial perfectly.

The dial is in keeping with the Explorer theme. Guilt Mercedes hands set against a mat black dial look absolutely fabulous, although I am learning to live with the fact the bezel has silver markers. This is in keeping with the model, it’s just not something I am used to. A Steinhart logo with “Steinhart” printed below is placed just under the 12.00, with 100m submersible printed over the 6.00 index. The dial is what attracts so many people to this classically designed watch.


As mentioned, printed on the dial is 100m, however, the watch has been built to withstand 300m like other Steinhart watches. I can only guess that this in keeping with the original heritage of the Explorer. Frankly, I would have no issue with taking this one on a shallow dive.


You may see this watch sold at all sorts of prices. There are Japanese sellers selling used versions for over £1500, even though you can go straight on the Gnomon site and buy one for $519. After taxes etc, this will mean you can have one delivered to your door for about £480 in the UK. I was lucky enough to land myself an unused one for £367. To be honest, at £480 you will struggle to find a better Swiss made watch than this.

SUMMARY/Likes/and Dislikes.

Just for a few days I had no Steinhart watch in my collection, and that was like being a trouser enthusiast and only owning shorts. The specification and finish for the price is just short of amazing, considering the Steinhart are a German brand and made in Switzerland. Of course, there will be parts made in Asia, but big deal, what Swiss watches don’t have parts made in Asia, and who really cares anyway. OK, the case shape is a little flat, and the clasp could be a little more premium, but look at what is on offer. An Elabore grade ETA2824/SW200 movement, a stunning dial, a premium grade bracelet, and an overall quality watch. Seriously, if you don’t own a Steinhart watch, sell one of your children for medical experiments, and just go and buy one. Oh, and once again, this review is NOT sponsored.
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Super Moderator
15,088 Posts
Wiggles, once again want to say that watching your reviews is a real
joy. :)(y)(y) Between your relaxing tone, honestly, and your wonderful
sense of humor, they are really so much fun to watch.🥇🏆And just
really want to thank you for posting them up here at the forum for us !!!

You know, was thinking about Steinhart just the other day, and how
when I think of homages, I think of them. Then just a couple days
later here you are reviewing one. 😮Is that amazing?! ..Or what?!
Somehow you made me like them even more than I did a few days
ago, and I liked them a lot.

What I was always enamored with was the quality seemed to come
through the screen with their watches. Plus for the watches being
Swiss made, they actually always seemed to offer a really impressive
bang for the buck. Honestly, I am just happy you got one back in the
collection sir. 😉Seriously, from this side of things, it's hard to find
any fault with this looker. It ticks all the boxes, while looking terrific
doing it. ..Looks almost titanium at times too !

Will thank you once again MW, AND wish you a GINORMOUS
congrats as well !!!
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