MICRO MONDAYS: The Stella Breslin revives the linen dial for the here and now MICRO MONDAYS: The Stella Breslin revives the linen dial for the here and now

MICRO MONDAYS: The Stella Breslin revives the linen dial for the here and now

Fergus Nash

There’s certainly no shortage of creativity in the world of microbrands, but that energy doesn’t always get funnelled into watches that actually look good. Stella, the New York-based brand and brainchild of co-owners Stephen and Marcella (see where they got the name from), are one of the few who have managed to establish a beautiful and coherent look of their own. In a lineage that began with their first models, then morphed into watches like the Stella Ellis, the Stella Breslin is the latest evolution of the brand’s Felix model with colourful linen dials.

The case

When you have a visually complex dial it’s better to keep the case design reserved, but Stella have still managed to incorporate some refinement without being too distracting. The wide bezel with a flat, brushed surface helps it be more reminiscent of vintage watches, and the polished edges of the bezel slope and lug chamfers solidify its place as a versatile wearer that lurks between casual and dressy contexts. Perhaps the most distinctive case feature is the crown-shaped crown, looking stunningly regal with a thin band coloured to match or accent the dial.

The Stella Breslin opts for a crowd-pleasing 40mm diameter, suiting most wrists with a 48mm lug-to-lug length. It’s clear that Stella have their ear to the ground when it comes to wearability, as these dimensions are spot on for what most watch enthusiasts love to wear. It’s 12.7mm thick, ensuring some presence without being a burden. The four-piece construction can really be seen from a side angle, especially as the body of the case has been given a black PVD coating. The 100m of water resistance and screw-down crown make it suitable for swimming too.

The dial

Being more of an evolution than a revolution, the Stella Breslin shares an almost identical dial layout to its time-and-date predecessor — the Felix. The hands are sharp but not in an aggressive way. It’s more along the lines of Alain Silberstein’s loveable goofiness, but toned way down. The applied hour markers are similarly characterful, with sharp serifs and luminous filling. The Stella logo is a free-flowing typeface, encouraging a casual vibe from the moment you check the time.

All of those features would be nothing if it didn’t have a good base, and the Stella Breslin’s linen dial is breathtaking. Linen dials are a little bit of a lost art in watchmaking, although there’s nothing in theory which makes them more difficult than any other highly textured pattern. The Classic Blue is richer than the Felix’s Dress Blue, and is paired with crisp white lume instead of the cream colour. There’s a Silver dial which almost looks made of polished meteorite, and would be best suited to more formal situations. The most fun option however is the Raspberry dial, hovering somewhere between a hot pink and a crimson red. It’s a truly great colour that you don’t see very often in other watches which boast pink or red dials, making it a unique display of personality.

The movement

One of the changes between the Felix and the Stella Breslin is the movement, although functionally it’s not much of a change at all. The Felix used the STP1-11 by Swiss Technology Production, and the Breslin uses an SW200 by Sellita. Both of these models are clones of the ETA 2824-2 with various small improvements, and considering the use of a solid caseback by Stella it is unlikely the end user will notice any difference. The Sellita SW200 has a power reserve of 38 hours at a beat rate of 4Hz, ensuring a pleasingly smooth sweep for that double-arrow seconds hand. The caseback is etched with the New York City skyline, highlighting the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

The straps

The strap option for the Stella Breslin is Italian leather with white vintage-style stitching down the sides and quick-release spring bars. There’s also a stainless-steel bracelet option with a seven-link design, although the lack of fitted end-links imparts an aftermarket look that may not be so popular. With a lug width of 20mm, there’s plenty of opportunity for playing around with other straps too.

The Stella Breslin pricing and availability:

The Stella Breslin is available now from their website. Price: US$1,085 (Leather strap) / US$1,185 (Steel bracelet)

Brand Stella
Model Breslin
Case Dimensions 40mm x 48mm x 12.7mm
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100m
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue, silver, raspberry
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Leather strap or steel bracelet
Movement SW200
Power Reserve 38 hours
Availability Available now
Price US$1,085 (Leather strap) / US$1,185 (Steel bracelet)