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Farer Launches New Tonneau Collection

Farer Tonneau Collection Milan

By now we’re used to Farer’s unique flavour of design. That’s to say, taking a classic archetype of a watch and playing around with colour and details to give it more than a fresh coat of paint. Usually though, that’s been tackling things like GMTs, Super Compressors, racing chronographs, a run of watches the word ‘accessible’ feels at home next to. But now the British brand is doing something I never would have expected from them: the Farer Tonneau Collection.

The tonneau, or barrel shaped case is an odd duck. Not quite round, not quite rectangular, it’s one of the more uncommon silhouettes out there. In fact, other than a few dressier, vintage-styled pieces a la Longines, the ones that spring to mind are Franck Muller and Richard Mille – along with their many, many cheaper homages.

Farer Tonneau Collection Milan
Farer Tonneau Collection Milan

Fortunately, Farer isn’t comparing themselves to that kind of insane, tourbillon and materials oriented haute horology. It’s just not in their wheelhouse. Instead, their trio of tonneau watches is firmly design led – though it has to be said, there’s a bit of old-school Franck Muller flavour in there, too.

As per usual, there are three watches in the capsule collection, each with their own distinctive personalities. First up, we have the Milan, which is eye-catching in the extreme. The emerald green, lacquered dial (apparently inspired by green-glazed pottery) is defined as much by texture as colour, with its concentric squares adding even more depth and variety of colours to the fumé dial. The rest of the layout lets that colour do the speaking, with relatively pared-back, rounded applied silver numerals and indexes. It’s gorgeous, and a lot more serious than Farer’s usual playful approach to colour.

Farer Tonneau Collection London
Farer Tonneau Collection London

The London on the other hand is back to form. It has the same geometric ridges as the Milan, which add a good deal of visual depth, but this time with a mid-seventies vibe and a Union Flag colour scheme of red, white and blue. It has a similar vibe to the recent titanium Bernina and I love it. The white makes the textured dial a good deal more obvious, and the differently sized red numerals make for a funkier, much more interesting layout. Finished with a blue railroad track to hammer home the squared shape of both case and dial, there’s a lot more going on with the London and it’s all a lot of fun. I’m not sure if I prefer it to the Milan or not. In the time I had them, I flip-flopped a fair few times.

Finally, we have the Paris, and this is the one that I’m honestly not a huge fan of. It loses the concentric square texture of the other two models, something that I love about both of them. Instead, it goes for a flat, royal blue. It’s cleaner and you could say more elegant, but honestly, it loses a lot to get there. It’s not helped by the Roman numerals, which remind me too much of early Franck Muller. The colour is still gorgeous, the kind of blue you see on Parisian street signs, but for me it lacks the detail that defines not just the Milan and London but Farer as a brand.

Farer Tonneau Collection Paris
Farer Tonneau Collection Paris

Dials aside, all three models have the same case and movement. The case is, of course, a barrel-shaped, curved tonneau that sits ergonomically on the wrist. At 35mm across with a 45mm lug-to-lug, it’s a bit small to get the full benefit of that wrist-hugging action, but it helps the relatively small watches sit comfortably – very comfortably in fact, it feels great on. They look relatively chunky but don’t feel it, at least not more so than any other tonneau shape and as fun, everyday watches the collection nails it.

Inside is the Sellita SW300-1, one of the better offerings from the Swiss movement specialist, with a 56-hour power reserve and a 4hz frequency. Its great as third-party movements go. More interestingly though is what Farer have done with the rotors. Each has been vapour coated to perfectly match the dial which, for a collection as much defined by colour as shape, is a seriously cool touch, especially combined with the gold Farer lettering across each.

Farer Tonneau Collection

All three watches come on a St. Venere leather strap – blue for the London, brown for the Milan and grey for the Paris – but I’d quickly switch them onto something a bit more fun. You could (and I most likely would) amp up the sporty connotations of a modern tonneau case with a funky coloured NATO, just for a bit of fun. Although a svelte bit of rubber would suit them, too.

Farer Tonneau Collection Milan
Farer Tonneau Collection London
Farer Tonneau Collection Paris

Of course, the bottom line here is price. Farer’s bang-for-buck credentials are tried-and-tested, even when it comes to complications, but even I wasn’t expecting these bad boys to come in at just over £1,000. To be precise, the Farer Tonneau collection will set you back £1,095 a watch. For an upper-echelon Sellita movement, lacquered, textured dials and all the other bells and whistles, that feels like a typo. It’s not. I’ve checked. Due diligence and all that.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Farer Tonneau Collection
  • Case/dial: 35mm diameter x 10.6mm thickness, stainless steel case, emerald-green fumé dial with concentric ridge pattern (Milan), white dial with 3d concentric ridge pattern dial (London) or metallic royal blue dial (Paris)
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Movement: Sellita calibre SW300-1, automatic, 25 jewels
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 56h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Strap: St Venere leather strap with 316L stainless steel buckle
    fastening
  • Price/availability: £1,095

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.