Though it might feel like the entirety of Britain has entered purgatory in the last few weeks, British watch brands seem not to have noticed. Or perhaps its simply that their designers have been bored in lockdown. Whatever it is, we’ve seen a flurry of new home-grown pieces come out and, as ever, it’s colourful, off-kilter watch brand Farer that’s caught our attention.
They’re gradually working their way through every genre and sub-genre of watch out there. Colourful racing chronographs, refined worldtimers, even an impeccably retro compressor or two, they’ve tilted their multi-feathered hat into most specialisms of watchmaking. Now they’re adding pilots watches to the list and it’s about time.
Farer have done what they do best with the new Pilot; by that I mean taking an archetypal watch design, keep the essence of what makes it work – depth resistance for divers, rotating bezels for GMTs or, in this case, oversized crowns and legibility – and give it their own distinct twist. That twist comes in three different variations: there’s the Cayley with its’ oversized California dial in a midnight blue; the yellow, blue and white Bradfield with its layered dial and this, the Morgan.
The Morgan is the closest of the three to the kind of traditional blueprint of a pilots watch. It’s certainly the most militaristic, with its high-contrast white on black dial. In fact, it’s pretty somber for Farer, though they thankfully couldn’t help themselves but add a bright blue outline to the broadsword hands and a red-tipped second hand.
The numbers on the dial are split into two rings for quick reading, with hours on the inside to line up with the tip of the hour hand and 5-minute markers for the minute hand. I found the hour hand obscures the numerals a little. Not enough to impact legibility unless you struggle to count to 12, but it felt a touch awkward to me.
Otherwise it’s a seriously good-looking dial and there’s a lot of it. Despite the entire case measuring in at a svelte 39mm, the dial is 37mm across. It means you have a nicely-sized, easily wearable watch – made more so with short lugs – that still has plenty of reading space. That in turn means that Farer can do more with the dial without it getting lost, such as the two-tier construction with different finishes and silver outlines.
It might be the most restrained of Farer’s pilots pieces aesthetically but it’s still mechanically one of the most accomplished of their watches to date. The SW200-1 calibre automatic movement boasts a respectable 38-hour power reserve, but what sets it apart is its anti-magnetism. Farer have encased the movement in a soft-iron Faraday cage, allowing it to stand up to 500 gauss.
I’ve not had a chance to try it myself (I tend to avoid oversized magnets if I can help it) but that’s enough to stop the watch being magnetised by everyday electronics. Don’t try it out in an MRI machine or an industrial crane and you’re probably ok.
Finished with an oversized, fluted crown in the vein of a Big Pilot (complete with Farer’s bronze logo of course), the Morgan is ironically one of Farer’s most down-to-earth pieces, true to its military roots. Still, they’ve let themselves have some fun with the tried-and-tested design and the result is a watch that treads the line between a utilitarian cockpit instrument and a cool, casual, everyday watch – a fine line that Farer seem to be very much at home on.
Price & Specs:
Model: Farer Morgan Pilot
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre Sellita SW200-1, automatic, 26 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours, minutes, sweep seconds, date
Strap: Over-stitched American Horween leather with stainless steel buckle
More details at Farer.