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With the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue, I finally test a second watch of the American Stella Watch Company after three years. The brand from New York had its breakthrough with the Felix collection. Whether they have made a step forward with the new GMT watch, I found out for you.
Back to the roots
It all started with the Felix collection. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember the Stella Watch Company, which I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time some time after its founding in spring 2020. The newcomer brand from New York entered the international stage of the watch world with the Felix, a now sold-out dress watch inspired by the many facets of the Big Apple. If you’d like to retrace the story in detail, you can read all about the Stella Felix Dress Blues here.
Three years have passed since then. In that time, we’ve been through a pandemic – not an easy time for many companies, regardless of sector. Getting a watch brand off the ground during a lockdown with numerous supply shortages worldwide must have been a difficult task. However, the Stella Watch Company is still around. The store is now filled with new models. But they still feature the familiar dial structure, the curved Stella lettering below 12 o’clock with a star, and a minimalist stainless steel case. In no way do they deny their kinship with the Felix collection. It seems that they have not deviated from the original design approach. Nevertheless, I wonder if anything has changed and maybe even improved?
My first impression
Felix is followed by Ellis. My second candidate is a model with integrated GMT display and an ice blue dial, whose strange structure I haven’t seen before either. Ice Blue, as the color is officially called by the New York brand, is hipper than ever in 2023. Whether it’s rather cool, like this one, or with a striking green tint, the lightweight timepieces look excellent on the wrist, especially in summer, when worn with a linen shirt or polo. I’ll find out for you whether the Ellis GMT is the ideal candidate for your collection!
The Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue on the wrist
This is the best way to start this watch review. My hunch that this watch could be your suitable companion for spring and summer is confirmed. The Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue is a watch with a light design that is immediately appealing. Here and there it is slightly playful and breaks with strict conventions. In my opinion, this can be seen well in the successful numerals. The strange pattern of the ice blue dial does the rest. More about the structure later.
I find the color of the leather strap well chosen. Its cool brown tone stays pleasantly in the background while contrasting the ice blue of the watch. Had it been warmer, it would have stolen the show from this one.
With a case diameter of 41.50 millimeters, the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue maintains a moderate size and can be worn by anyone. However, I consider the length between the lugs to be even more important. This is a whopping 49.50 millimeters and is a better indication of how the watch will rest on the wrist later on. The case height is 13.10 millimeters.
Classic, simple, American: the case
A simple, functional form – the case keeps itself pleasantly in the background visually. Only small details catch the eye here and there. For example, there is the beautiful case back. The black PVD coating has been given a design that depicts the sights of the city of New York, the home of the Stella Watch Company. The largest place is occupied by the face of the Statue of Liberty. Let’s note: this watch is American through and through – and I mean that in a very positive way. The top of the screw-down crown is emblazoned with the star, the brand’s logo. Seen from above, it reminds me of Captain America’s shield, even if it is “only” made of 316L stainless steel instead of vibranium.
This was used for the entire case. The Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue impresses with both brushed and polished surfaces. Sapphire was used for the watch glass, the hardest and best glass. In everyday use, I was impressed by the anti-reflective coating, which improves the readability of the dial. Stella certifies its Ellis GMT Ice Blue a water resistance up to 10 bar. Thus, the dresswatch would be splash-proof, which should be sufficient.
The movement inside the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue
Compared to the Stella Felix, the inner workings of the Ellis GMT undergo a change. The debut movement was still equipped with an STP 1-11 movement. The Swiss brand’s automatic caliber is an almost identical replica of the ETA 2824-2, and now the movement is supplied by Sellita. The GMT complication makes it necessary to install a SW330 automatic movement. It could be seen as an alternative to the ETA 2893, to make the ETA comparison at this point, too. With a power reserve of up to 42 hours as well as an attested longevity, it is an excellent choice in my opinion.
Dial and bracelet in detail
The most important design element of the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue is without question the dial. As with the Felix, the fancy surface texture catches the eye. Stella describes the pattern as a kinetic structuring that emanates from the center of the dial and can be interpreted as a sunburst. A lot of effort has obviously been put into the details. Applied Arabic indices dominate the picture. They are handmade and easy to read, especially in the dark. This is due to the SuperLuminova BGW9 coating, which also covers the hands. The GMT ring has been organically integrated. It looks like a small edition of the bezel.
Besides the dark brown cognac leather strap, which I wear, you can choose between two other alternatives. Also available is a black leather strap, but in my opinion, it doesn’t harmonize as well with the fresh ice blue of the dial as cognac does. Praise goes to the option to choose between lengths in S/M and M/L. For most of you, I would recommend to rather play it safe and order the watch with a bracelet in M/L. Stella gives the Ellis GMT cowhide leather, the quality of which seems great. During the test period, I liked the comfort very much. Those who prefer to wear pure stainless steel can do that as well. The seven-link stainless steel bracelet impresses with its double-folding clasp. Between the lugs, the width is 20 millimeters.
My conclusion about the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue
Revisiting the Stella Watch Company after a good two and a half years was an exciting moment for me. After I was allowed to test and wear the Ellis GMT, the conclusion is positive. Not that much has changed at all. Stella designed the Elli GMT Ice Blue close to the Felix. And that’s a good thing. Because the debut model was strong – unusually strong for a microbrand. It’s possible to build on that foundation. With the Ellis, Stella has maintained its identity and expanded it even further. The world time clock also exudes the charm of the Big Apple. It is designed with a lightness that is enjoyable and timeless.
Although the last test is further back, I would even claim that the Ellis has improved in quality compared to the Felix in a direct comparison. The materials were processed at a premium level. In addition, the installed Sellita SW330 underlines that.
Who is the Stella Ellis GMT Ice Blue suitable for? People who travel a lot, is the first answer. Of course, a GMT watch makes sense there. After all, who doesn’t want to know at a glance what time it is back home and whether it’s still worth ringing their partner out of bed. In addition, anyone looking for an uncomplicated and high-quality dress watch, preferably for summer, should take a look at the Ellis GMT.
With a leather strap, the Ellis GMT currently costs USD 1.285,00. Those who want to wear it on a steel bracelet instead will pay another USD 100. All other links to the watch as well as the Stella Watch Company can be found below, also to the black sister model.