Sunday, April 16, 2023

This Is Not A Watch Review - Wrapping It Up With The Earl

I have been involved in the watch business for over 20 years now. It seems odd to say that, because it doesn't seem that long, and also owing to the fact that I currently am not dependent on Watch Town to make a living. So I think it's safe to say that my continued involvement as a consultant, as a brand advisor, and more importantly for the purposes of this article, as a journalist is based on my continued interest and passion for watches and the people who endeavor to make them. So with that said, I need to stress yet again, that this is not a watch review

Courtesy of E. Stohlman Watch Co.

I am proud to say that Eugene Stohlman is my friend. I have taken great interest and pleasure in seeing him grow professionally over the past 3 years. With his partner Pete, he created and grew Maryland Watch Works into the go-to resource for micro-brands not just in the region, but from around the world. In addition to white label service, they are the official service center for several brands both big and small. But beyond the business side, Eugene is a watch maker. I remember a few years ago we were at tables next to each other at a watch fair. Eugene had been going flat out for 2 days at the show, not to mention the 4 hour round-trip drive back and forth from Hagerstown to DC. My flight wasn't until later so I asked Eugene if he wanted to get dinner. He said, thanks but no - he was driving that night to Weehawken, New Jersey to take a certification course with Omega! That passion, that commitment says something. 

Eugene has toyed with the idea of creating his own collection for some time, and earlier this year, at the District Time show, he unveiled his first piece. A few weeks ago, I came home to find a box had been delivered. I recognized the return address and opened it up -

As a rule, I am not that fussed one way or the other about packaging. Invariably it gets stuck in the garage, basement, or attic. But with that said, I also appreciate that for the watchmaker, their watch is their baby. And with that comes a certain degree of pride, and a desire to present that new baby in the best possible light.
The standard cardboard is removed, and a lovely wooden box is revealed. 
But it gets better -

A travel case, should you opt to take more than watch with you. And let's be honest, it is more than likely that if you are into watches, you will likely take an extra with you when you travel ; )

But let's get to the watch itself -
I will start out by making a very important disclosure - I love this watch! I was enamored of it before I put it on, and have worn it pretty-much nonstop for the past 2 weeks. First and foremost?  The case itself. It is round, with a stepped bezel, measuring 39 mm. The lugs are tortoise style, reminiscent of Eterna, Le Coultre, and Movado. And they are striking. But Mr. Stohlman did something that I personally love. Rather than stainless steel, he opted for Rhodium plated .925 Sterling Silver. So needless to say, the Earl has a bit of heft that only adds to its presence.
The lower 2 lugs bear the hallmarks of the Silver case (925) and Mr. Stohlman's logo.

The crown is an onion style, the cabochon style insert is resin. The case back body is stainless steel which makes perfect sense as it is in contact with the wrist of the wearer. Silver, as we all know, impacts different people's skin differently. It is not something everyone can wear, and the use of a stainless steel case back combined with a display (sapphire) crystal is wise, and it also reveals the Maryland Watch Works movement -

The movement is described as the  
MWW708. This self-winding (automatic) movement is fully assembled and tested in Hagerstown, Maryland at Maryland Watch Works.

The timekeeping has been first rate, power reserve over 48 hours in my experience.

Now as formal a watch as you may think this is, Eugene Stohlman also has a sense of whimsy. A closer examination of the dial reveals several colors utilized in the minute track of the dial -

You could miss it and never know about it, but a closer look reveals this wonderful Easter egg!

The numbers are applied, and they are wonderfully subtle in their beautiful simplicity.

Lastly, the strap. It is described as brown Nile alligator. The strap tapers to 16 mm at the buckle connecting point. The clasp is elegant and secure.

So how to sum up? In all honesty, I can't be entirely objective. I am friends with the brand's owner, the man who designed and created the Earl. I am predisposed to like it. But with that said, wearing the Earl these past 2 weeks has been enjoyable not just as a watch enthusiast. It has been truly wonderful to see my friend's passion project come to fruition, particularly in that it is as wonderful a watch as it is. More to the point, it is a watch that I would (and quite frankly, may) purchase for myself. 

If I am honest with myself about this watch thing that I am involved with, I realize that it is not about the biggest, baddest, toughest watch. Nor is it about the most glittering, fancy name. And as I have learned over the past 20 years, watches trigger an emotional connection (hopefully, anyway). The Earl has flipped a switch in me, it has struck a visceral chord. I cannot, and will not imply that my feelings are not entirely objective. They are indeed passionate, it's hard not to be passionate about watches.

But then again, as I said from the start -
This Is Not A Watch Review!

Enjoy your watches!

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