In May of this year, Revolution introduced a complicated watch from new-kid-on-the-block Farer. We were confident that the Farer GMT replica watches would go down well among lovers of quality watchmaking, original design and value (the watches being priced at a super-reasonable £1,175) but what we did not expect – and nor did Farer – was for the initial production run of all three models to sell out in a matter of hours.
With the phrase “You are only as good as your last success” swirling around today’s burgeoning watch industry, it is somewhat surprising that less than four months after their last headline-grabbing launch, Farer partners Jono Holt, Ben Lewin, Stuart Finlayson and Paul Sweetenham are introducing a brand-new watch design to their growing collection and, according to Sweetenham, the pressure is on. “Due to past success, this watch has garnered a whole different sort of attention to the GMT and the original three-hand automatic,” he says.
The timepiece in question is the cushion-shaped Aqua Compressor Automatic, a timepiece that takes influence from the Super Compressor dive watches of yesteryear. “Feedback so far suggests that it will receive a positive reaction from buyers and we have made more of them than with any other model at launch stage,” Sweetenham says. “I am always cautious about market research as it can be way off, but I think this new watch will appeal to both existing Farer customers and people who like the idea of Farer but haven’t bought one yet because they want a sports active watch. This piece is more functional but it is still measures just 45mm lug to lug so it is easy to wear.”
With the GMT, a huge chunk of the price of the watch was due to the extensive adaptations to the movement. In the case of the Aqua Compressor, the majority of research and development costs went into the case and internal bezel ratchet.
Sweetenham explains: “People generally steer away from internal bezels these days because it is hard to get a uni-directional ratcheting bezel. We tested ours to excess and as a result we are slightly later to market than we originally intended. We also have a 2.3mm double-curve sapphire, which was extremely difficult to achieve – but it just wouldn’t be Farer if we had a flat sapphire.”
The 300m/1000ft water resistance rating of the watch case has been designed using the compression principle: as the water pressure on the outside of the case increases, the gaskets are naturally compressed so that the case becomes more water resistant the deeper you dive. “We always wanted the case to be cushion-shaped but they are notoriously hard to keep thin,” continues Sweetenham. “We have a dramatic drop in the lugs, which makes the piece easier to wear and we’ve kept it under 42mm. As the watch is a compressor, the size problem was compounded as we needed space for the gaskets. We always wanted to have dual compression on the crowns so, although there is 100m water-resistance with them out, they have their own internal gaskets as well as being screw in.
“We have retained all the charm of the original compressor case design Farer replica watches: twin crowns, screwed-on case back, compressed O-ring gasket and internal rotating bezel. However, the Farer Aqua Compressor has evolved since the original Super Compressor specification, created when the water resistance of watches was a big challenge. With the progress of modern materials, we have undertaken a whole series of developments to craft a very compact but highly technically capable dive watch case, tried and tested to exacting modern standards to depths of 300m/1,000 ft.”