MICRO MONDAYS: The Stella Ellis is a stunning GMT with traditional sensibilities and contemporary looksFergus Nash
Collaboration often leads to the best results, and Stella is a brand born of collaboration. With the name formed out of the founders Stephen and Marcella’s names, you can tell that their partnership is really the core of the company. A passion for watches is common between them, and the meshing of Marcella’s creative brain and Stephen’s business nous is what has led the New York-based brand to create three watches since their inception in 2019. The latest of these is the Stella Ellis, a stunning GMT with traditional sensibilities and contemporary looks.
For a watch that isn’t trying too hard to be sporty, the case utilises brushing extremely well. The smoothly sweeping lugs are finely brushed with a small strip of polish running along the edge, and the slightly conical bezel is given a concentric brushing with a much more impactful polished bevel. It rides a perfect line between glamour and rigour, ensuring its versatility between casual and formal contexts.
The sizing is on the larger side for this style of watch with a 41.5mm diameter, but the Stella Ellis reigns things in with a 49.5mm lug-to-lug length that should be comfortable on an average wrist. The thickness of 13.1mm is inoffensive if not particularly thin, but the screw-down crown can lock in 100m of water resistance for safe swimming. The crown is also one of the most unique designs I’ve seen, with harsh wedges removed before being capped by a red sunken ring and an etched star logo.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore when small brands produce spectacular dials, but the Stella Ellis is truly breathtaking. For a fraction of the price, you can get the same amount of incredible depth and vividness as the Chopard Alpine Eagle, if not more. Although it reflects light in a similar pattern, it’s hard to call this finish a sunburst effect when the texture is much richer, designed to evoke a feeling of kinetic motion. Although it looks great and maintains more versatility in the black colour, the Ice Blue dial really brings the finish to life. It’s an electrifying look that would feel just as at home on a beach day as in an office.
The rest of the dial details are very well-balanced, and each element is placed with both utility and aesthetics in mind. The small GMT hand in either red or dark blue points neatly to the solid 24-hour ring, which also contains the Stella logo and their emblematic applied star. The hour markers alternate between Arabic numerals and sharp indices, and the arrowhead hour hand is the perfect length. The minute hand stretches to a point, allowing you to read the minutes from a printed track on the dial’s perimeter. This keeps things simple without any sacrifice of time-telling. You can also make out some intriguing bending of the light through the very edge of the sapphire crystal, which is semi-domed and has quite a defined bevel.
The Stella Ellis provides you with two strap options when purchasing, and it’s the classic match up between a vintage-inspired leather strap with contrasting cross stitching, or a stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is quite an interesting seven-link design, with three brushed links making up the majority and four polished links adding some decorative complexity. Although it does dress the watch up nicely, the lack of fitted end links may be a dealbreaker for collectors who aren’t used to the straight-end bracelets which were much more common on vintage watches. The lug width is 20mm, so you should have infinite options for aftermarket straps should you wish to experiment.
Powering the Stella Ellis is a Sellita SW330, which is by far one of the most popular Swiss GMT movements. Its ubiquity and ETA clone status means that servicing should be on the affordable side, and there will be available spare parts for the foreseeable future. It has a 42-hour power reserve, and a beat rate of 4Hz for that smooth sweeping seconds hand. The caseback is solid, with an etching that proudly demonstrates the brand’s New York roots. The Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island immigration station are surrounded by a section of the sonnet The New Colossus, which sits at the Statue’s base.
The Stella Ellis pricing and availability:
The Stella Ellis is available now from Stella’s website. Price: US$1,285 (Leather) / US$1,385 (Bracelet)
|Case Dimensions||41.5mm x 49.5mm x 13.1mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Dial||Black / blue|
|Strap||Leather / steel bracelet|
|Power Reserve||42 hours|
|Price||US$1,285 (Leather) / US$1,385 (Bracelet)|