Designed in Britain and handmade in Switzerland, rookie luxury watch brand Farer hopes that its vintage-inspired watch designs stand the test of time and bring Britain back in the watchmaking conversation.
Every year, analysts like to talk about potential threats to Swiss watchmaking. One year the main threat to Swiss dominance might be the German brands, while smartwatches from Silicon Valley and South Korea had been predicted to seriously challenge the Alpine country this year. Interestingly, not much is said about a possible challenger coming from Britain.
Part of the reason is that it is hard to find a watch that is designed and made entirely on the Iles. One exception is Roger W Smith, who himself has also recently questioned the state of British watchmaking as part of an open letter:
“I am dismayed by the current direction and ethos (or lack of it). Since my studio only produces around 10 pieces per year, they are clearly available to only the most determined of collectors. The field therefore remains open for the first volume-produced ‘true’ British watch, which will of course include a British movement, designed and made in its entirety within our shores. To date, this has not been achieved by any current British watchmaker. So where, in fact, are we?”
But there is hope, as long as we relax what it exactly means to be a “British” brand. Christopher Ward, for example, has had good success with its direct to consumer online sales strategy, producing solid Swiss timepieces while operating from London. And after a few years of relying on Swiss movements, the brand recently released its first in-house movement. Clearly a good sign for British watchmaking and an indication that some brand might eventually fill the void that Roger W Smith talked about.
Farer is another new brand following a similar model, designed in Britain but made in Switzerland. Founded by four British friends with experience in horology, fashion and product design, they aim to bring back the characteristics of classic British design: bold colours, contrasting textures and a relentless dedication to detail. Simple and timeless, that is the philosophy of the new upstart.
Each Farer watch features a modestly sized 39.5mm brushed stainless steel case, which is strapped to either a luxurious Italian leather or a vintage looking stainless steel Milanese strap. A domed sapphire crystal glass gives the watches a true retro feel, featuring a depth of 10mm curved sunray dials in various colour way finishes. Rhodium plated hands, which come in an array of bright colours, accentuate each watch with a unique combination of hues.
In a way, the vintage-inspired brand represents a counter statement. Our fast-paced and technology-driven society always has us looking forward, to the next and better product that is about to be released. With the belief that “the value of products today is being eroded” Farer aims to create possessions that are long-standing and meaningful. To get that kind of durability for a price somewhere between £340 and £420 – which is what their collection is expected to retail for - is quite the feat. And it will certainly help to spread their philosophy, providing some kind of stability in an always changing – and rather pricey - market.