Young British brand Farer has added to its range of mechanical watches with a set of colourful GMT models
By Chris Hall
Farer, for those of you who don’t know, launched into the world in September 2015 with a jazzy set of quartz watches. They were a good size (39.5mm) and stood out for their bold use of bright colours on the dial and contrasting pairing of a bronze crown with a steel case.
All very well, we thought. The prices aren’t silly for something that’s clearly had a bit of thought put into it, that not everyone else will be wearing. But that was it, more or less. Another cool quartz watch for people who something with a bit of personality.
A year later, Farer brought out a very similar set of watches with automatic movements, using ETA 2893-2 “top grade” calibres. Same use of colour – and when you look closer, use of texture and detail on the dial, too. Same feel of build quality (Farer’s heavy lifting is done by Swiss outfit Rowenta Henix, which is behind the actual production of some much bigger brands); and the same bronze crown. At the same time, the founders of the brand were starting to talk a big game – complications, they said, were coming soon.
Well: they’re here now. One complication, at least. Farer has added a GMT module to its automatic watches, and all of a sudden the brand is starting to look like a genuine contender.
If you’ve never really gelled with Farer’s immensely poppy designs, you’re unlikely to change your mind now. The GMT comes in three flavours and none of them is what you’d call dull. Still present also is the bronze crown – now a true signature of the brand. I know some who just don’t like it; it’s intentionally different by the brand and in my opinion, it grows on you.
The GMT Auto collection isn’t shaking things up on the horological front – Farer’s thing is about design, not obsessing over movements – so what you’re looking at takes little explanation. Standard 24-hour central GMT hand added to the mix, adjusted in exactly the same way as every other GMT module out there. Two of the models – the Lander and the Oxley – have the 24-hour ring outside the main hours; the third (Ponting) has it nestled within instead.
On the dials, some other nice touches merit pointing out. The stencil outline luminova, for instance, or the colour-matched date wheel (on the Oxley at least – no idea why not on the Ponting). Pipette hands are very now (just ask Patek Philippe!) and the stylised arrow for the GMT is the classic shape. My only quibble would be that the seconds hand doesn’t also need an arrow tip (I never thought it did, even on the time-only watches) but it’s not a deal-breaker.
As mentioned, the watches come in three colour ways, with three names. The names smack too much of unneccessarily hipsterish branding-speak, for me, but you’ve got to call them something and I can’t say they’re out of step with the industry (see also Schofield).
To quote the brand in full: “The new GMT collection continues the theme of naming each watch after iconic British explorers and vessels. From the Lander – named after Richard Lander, a young Cornish explorer who led exhibitions to Nigeria. The Oxley – named after John Oxley, a Yorkshireman who after a career in the Navy was an early surveyor of Australia. Lastly, the Ponting – named after Herbert George Ponting, the photographer who accompanied Scott to the Antarctic capturing some of the most iconic images of all time.”
Lander is the blue dial watch; Oxley the black dial (my favourite by a way) and Ponting (which as a Brit I will always associate with cricket, and not in a good way) is the brushed silver dial with blue and orange accents.
And so to the question you’re all asking by now: how much?
This is the really good news. All three watches are priced at £1,175. Seeing as you can’t get a simple automatic from a lot of brands for that money – to say nothing of the attention paid to the dial design – I think that’s good value.