With all that has happened this year in 2020, it has not seemed to slow down the watch brands, especially microbrands. Enter the Stella Felix Dress Blues. Many people have started a watch brand but how many can say they have had 25 years experience before starting one? Not many, unless you are Marcella Dolan from Stella Watch Company. Yes, Marcella has been in the business from graphic designer to VP of a watch company, and now owning her own band Stella, and the first model is the Stella Felix. Her and her partner Stephen set out to create a watch for every day, and while I initially struggled with what category this watch can fit into, it simply doesn’t. It is not a pilot or a field watch, nor a dress watch, but more so that casual everyday watch that can still be worn for almost every occasion. Beyond that, every aspect of this watch was made custom, and there are a lot of unique details to this piece, so let’s get into all of it now.
There is quite a bit to discuss with the Stella Felix Dress blues, and I am sure you want to read all about that dial, but first I am going to go off the normal path and discuss the crystal. Why? Just look at this thing. This is a massive box-style sapphire crystal that extends from the watch case, yet somehow it does not affect the clarity of the dial at all. In real life or photography. Usually watches with this type of a crystal are a royal pain to photograph, but not this one. If anything, this crystal enhances the clarity of the dial, really making it pop. It is also deceiving because when looking at it from the front, you don’t notice the size of this crystal, which again, this is not a bad thing. You get that vintage look and feel with that massive crystal, but none of the crazy distortion. Good deal.
Okay, the dial. There are six different dial variations of the Stella Felix and all of them are beautiful and unique. Two of them are linen dials, like the Dress Blues show here; the other is cream. The other four are flat dials, with a striking grey with turquoise or teal accents and a wicked-looking red dial. Admittedly red dials are not my favorite but boy would I love to see one of those Downtown Red pieces in person, it looks amazing.
But, this is the blue dial or the Dress Blues. And because it is a linen patterned dial and dyed blue, it looks like blue jeans. But dressed up trendy stonewashed style jeans. It is probably the most unique dial offering they have, and for good reason. Just take a look at some of the closeup shots.
Now, before I continue, I am going to discuss the two elephants in the room. One is the design and the similarity to a popular British brand and number two is the price. Yes, the Stella Felix Dress Blues and all the other variants are $1200. Unfortunately, I have to reiterate this so often in these reviews, but with so many pop-up blogs these days, things get muddled. I am not here to sell you a watch. I am sure the company would love if I just always said everything is perfect and made an advertisement out of their review. I do not do that. But, I do feel this Felix is worth the price. Yes, it is on the high side for what many consider a “micro”, but so is Oak and Oscar, Monta, Brellum, and many more. And this Felix is less than all of those, but this watch is quality through and through.
Wait, what about the design and the Bremont look? Well, it is what it is. I spoke to Marcella about this and while she did not dismiss it; she’s aware of the design of her watch of course, but she told me she did not set out to copy a Bremont. Is the case, especially the sides and the lugs similar? Sure. Would I call this a copy or homage? Not really. Moving on, what is the deal with all the stars you wonder? Stella is Latin for star and there are quite a few reasons Marcella chose the star as the prominent logo for her company, but one of the main reasons is she believes there is a star in everybody, and this is meant to be the everybody type of watch. A watch anyone could wear and enjoy. Beyond that, she really likes stars, and yes, there are a lot of them on this watch and packing, but somehow it all works and I do not feel it goes overboard. I mean, just look at the rotor of the STP1-11. That’s how you do a custom rotor!
Alright. Some of you are reading and wondering when its coming-when is the lashing coming? Well, you can all settle, its not happening. Truly, I can not find one issue with the Stella Dress Blues. First of all, even with the similarity to the aforementioned brand, it feels unique. I review a lot of watches. I see and handle even more. If this watch was marked “Swiss Made”, they could charge $2500 for it, and no one would bat an eye. Oh yeah, it is marked Swiss Made! Everything from the packaging, the crazy heavy star logo case back opener (please no one ever use this), the Mexican Tannery sourced leather that is used on the zippered box, the warranty cardholder, and the leather strap, the dial work etc. It is all beautiful, different, and refreshing. The air is rare and thin for sure.
Speaking of that leather strap, this may be one of the nicest leather straps that I have ever encountered on a microbrand. I can NOT convey this enough. Yes, a lot of brands use “horween” leather, and on the surface, it is nice and soft, but there is a cardboard or plastic liner inside and it is cheaply made, even if it looks nice. This is not that. This is a real deal leather strap, with gorgeous pull-up leather that will only look better over time. Think of a good pair of boots or a well-made purse. Or think of a custom leather strap you would pay $150 or more for. This is the real deal. And, it fits my 7 ½ inch wrist with ease, with room for at least another half inch.
Now, I get it. You are hesitant to believe me. I understand and I do not want to feel like a salesman either. I do think the Stella Felix Dress Blues is a fantastic piece, and I like what Marcella and the Stella Watch brand are doing. But, forget about all of that. Forget all that you just read and ignore it. Watch the video on mute, and just look at all the pics here. Then make up your mind. To those that are looking for something different and are sick of the same old same old with the catalog case watches and the 100th iteration of a sub homage, this is it. Sure, you will pay more for it, but I think you will be able to tell why almost immediately.
If you like this watch or this review, chat us up! Let me know in the comment section down below what you think of the Stella Felix Dress Blues or the Stella lineup in general.
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I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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