Founded in 2015, Farer is not your typical watch company. Their founders have a background in design, and since their first watches were released it has been apparent they are intentionally following their own trajectory, rather than following the herd. As part of the British watchmaking revival, we have been watching with keen interest the growth of Farer, who have continued to innovate where others imitate. Farers’ Aqua-compressor (their modern interpretation of a vintage diver) is a case in point, and early this year they kindly sent us a Leven to spend some time with.
The Leven comes in a beautifully lacquered multi-layered black wooden box. On the top layer, the watch comes fitted to the silicone rubber strap, the additional steel bracelet, and a compression spring bar tool. Underneath this layer, is the warranty card, instruction booklet, and cleaning cloth supplied in pocket below.
The case of the Leven is a classic example of Farer’s design roots incorporating brushed and polished elements as well as true technical functionality into a contemporary case with vintage aesthetics. The case (often mistakenly called a super-compressor) incorporates technology originally patented in the 1950’s by Piquerez where the case becomes more watertight the deeper it is taken. Ostensibly, the case is designed so that water pressure on the exterior of the case increases pressure against the gaskets thereby tightening the seal.
Although there are a number of modern watches that resemble the look of traditional compressor cases (usually the inclusion of twin crowns) here the Farer also utilises the original technical design features implemented on a modern watch.
On the side of the case are the twin Farer Crowns. The beautifully detailed bronze crown at two o’clock will patina over time to create a unique aesthetic for that particular watch and once unscrewed, winds the watch and sets the time. The additional crown once unscrewed turns the unidirectional internal bezel. Incidentally, although under normal use the watch is rated to 300m, even with the crowns unscrewed Farer still rate the watch to 100m allowing you to set the internal bezel without fear of water ingress.
With a case height of only 13mm, the Leven is slimmer than many dive watches and with the added benefit of the cushioned case design can easily slip under almost any cuff. Although the case width is 41.5mm wide excluding the crown if feels and wears much more like a 40mm watch in part due to the lug to lug dimensions of just 45mm allowing the watch to be comfortably worn by people with smaller wrist sizes.
The Leven – as with all of Farer’s Aqua Compressors, comes with two straps. Firstly, the watch is shipped on a beautifully soft vulcanised rubber strap. It can certainly be said that this on its own puts many strap manufacturers to shame. The rubber is beautifully soft and supple ensuring it’s immensely comfortable to wear. The supplied buckle is substantial without being clumsy and has been milled rather than pressed. The shoulders of the strap have been beautifully engineered to flow seamlessly into the case as a ‘block integrated’ design rather than looking and feeling like an afterthought.
The additional steel bracelet also puts many others to shame. While not on par with the Tudor Black Bay bracelet, it is a considerable step up from most Seiko bracelets, and certainly anything else that we have seen at this price point. We found it refreshing that brands are starting to realise that people want to be able to wear their watch on a variety of straps thereby varying the suitability of the watch to the occasion. For anyone who has ever struggled to remove a bracelet from a watch with a conventional spring bar tool knows only too well the correct way of doing this is to squeeze the spring bar from both sides simultaneously which is only possible with the right tool. Thankfully Farer provide this with the watch and this makes the whole exercise pretty straight forward.
The dial is beautifully thought through. Radially brushed from the centre to the outward edges, the dial feels a natural extension to the brushed top surface of the case. Where a date window would seem clumsy it has here been intentionally omitted, and raised indexes are filled with lume. It’s clear that the Leven is the product of intentional design creating a simple, elegant and yet positive visual aesthetic in the form of a modern diver.
The movement is the more rare elaboré grade non-date ETA 2824-2 as found in Tudor’s ETA powered Black Bay. This is another example of how the details matter. It would be easy for Farer like many other smaller brands to choose an standard ETA 2824 movement and just remove the date wheel, however this would exhibit a phantom position in the primary crown when it is pulled out to its first position and turned with no effect, requiring the user to pull it out to position two to set the time. The movement is finished with Farer’s custom rotor engraved with ocean waves, inscribed with “Farer submersible” and is displayed for all to see through an exhibition case back.
We spent considerable time with the Leven and took every opportunity to put it through its paces. Worn at work, social occasions, swimming with the kids and a plethora of other occasions this is a tough watch for an active lifestyle.
From the moment you first handle the Leven you are left with the impression that this watch punches above its weight. The case feels beautifully designed and carries a sense of both design and finish that are on par with much larger brands and price points. This is a modern contemporary divers watch that delivers swiss build quality with a unique design language and an attention to detail that exceeds expectations.
If you are looking for a watch that doesn’t mimic others but sets itself apart from the crowd, I seriously encourage you to take a look at the Farer Leven.
What’s your favourite dive watch and why? Let us know in the comments below.
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