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For over a century, the Bauhaus design movement has been a byword for clean, functional, and beautifully minimal creations in everything from architecture to art to fine watchmaking. Few watches, however, have embodied the core concepts of the Bauhaus more completely than Sternglas. Since its debut in 2016, the Hamburg, Germany-based brand has dedicated itself to refining this iconic minimal design language, and perhaps the purest expression of this refinement is the Sternglas Zirkel.
The form 40 mm 316L stainless steel case is pure and elemental, with no beveling or dynamic angles. With a simple circular main case, topped with a narrow smooth bezel and flanked by neat straight lugs, the details of the design are allowed to take prominence. The entire case is finished with clean, fine brushing, showcasing the simple industrial beauty of steel, while the crown at 3 o’clock remains small to minimize the unbalancing effect on the overall design. At only 10 mm thick, the watch remains elegantly slim on the wrist while incorporating a generously wide display caseback showcasing the automatic movement within.
Like the case, the light and airy white dial of the Sternglas Zirkel is cleanly minimal, allowing the fine details of the design to shine through. Every element exists in visual balance, evenly distributing visual weight across the entire surface. For example, the black stick minutes hand is slightly narrower than the hours hand, preventing the longer minutes hand from overwhelming its shorter counterpart visually. Likewise, the seconds hand is even narrower, preserving both the visual balance and the subtle indication of function to the viewer. With an elementally simple outer minutes track taking up a minimum of space on the dial, the eye is drawn to the crisp, modernist font of the hour numerals. Further balance is maintained even with the addition of a date window at 6 o’clock, with careful sizing of dial text. With a bolder treatment for the printed Sternglas emblem at 12 o’clock than the 6 o’clock “Automatik” script, the addition of a discreet date window below adds just enough weight to even out the visual load.
The Sternglas Zirkel is powered by a tried and true Miyota 9015 automatic movement, decorated with a custom signed rotor and Côtes de Genève across the main plate and balance bridge. The movement offers solid performance, with a 42 hour power reserve and -10/+30 seconds per day accuracy.
In keeping with the watch’s Bauhaus minimalist ethos, Sternglas mounts the Zirkel on a simple stitch-free leather strap in either black, warm mahogany brown, or deep mocha. Much like the rest of the watch, the simple forms of the strap belie its meticulously crafted quality. These precisely finished straps are manufactured by a traditional family business deep in the Bavarian Schwarzwald and fitted with a convenient quick-change system for easily swapping straps.
While the design tenets of the Bauhaus have survived for more than a century, the clean precise elements of the Sternglas Zirkel help to keep the style feeling vibrant and modern. Priced at an MSRP of $577, the Zirkel is available now online and through authorized dealers. Please visit Sternglas’ website for more information.