Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wrapping Up The Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon

So we are well and truly beyond the previously announced 2 weeks.  Good intentions are not always sufficient to wrap up reviews in the announced time frame, so apologies.

When I think of Favre-Leuba as a brand, I am reminded of François Girard's The Red Violin.  A brand with a real history that had touched many people around the world, but for whatever reason just couldn't get itself back on track.  Like the title character, Favre Leuba floated around, a great story, but  (at least in recent times) never realizing its potential.

Around 2011 Titan purchased Favre Leuba, and this past BaselWorld a very large booth announced Favre-Leuba's very clear intentions of not just making some watches, but really pushing forward.

But let's get back to the watch in question -

Courtesy of Favre-Leuba
This is the Raider Harpoon.  A very generously proportioned diver, with a very interesting twist.  I will cover all of the stats, don't worry.  But what makes the Raider Harpoon stand out is the way the time is indicated.  You will notice that there is (for the most part) one hand.  It might be easy to jump to the conclusion that this is like so many single handed watches that require you to (essentially) guestimate on what time it really is.  The Raider Harpoon takes that idea and stands it on its head.  You will notice that the dial is laid out in two parts - black inner dial with 12 indices and smaller markers like a traditional dial.  Above it there is a white outer ring numbered from 1 - 12 with indices between each number.  Now what is not clear until you actually wear the watch is that the outer white ring is, in fact, a rotating "internal" bezel of sorts that moves along with the large hour hand.  This enables the outer white ring to show the hour, the interior white markers and smaller indices mark the minutes.  So in the image above, the time is 10:08.  The larger hand indicates the hour on the exterior dial at the same time that it indicates the minutes on the interior dial.  

This does take a bit of getting used to, but it also points to the true functionality of dive watches.  When you are diving, it is really not so much about telling the time, it is about timing very specific intervals.  This means you need to have a very, very clear indication of the minute scale.  DOXA had it's "dwarf" hour hand (with a much larger minute hand) -

Courtesy of DOXA

Favre-Leuba has taken this idea, but made it COOL!

As per the normal dive watch requisites, the Favre-Leuba ticks the boxes:

Water resistant to 00 meters, unidirectional rotating bezel (anodized aluminum) with a 20 minute countdown.  A screw down crown at 4 o'clock -

and HRV (helium release valve) on the right hand side of the case.

And a stainless steel screw down case back -

In terms of timekeeping, it has been solid.  The greatest variance was + 12 seconds.  The movement under the hood is the Sellita SW200, but it has been modified with what is termed the
Favre-Leuba hour indication system.

Overall, everything you would want or need in a dive watch with a fun twist.

The size of the Raider Harpoon is formidable - 46 mm.  This is not an unsubstantial diameter.  And it is a pretty heavy little time machine that makes a real statement on the wrist.  It also requires that you either roll up your shirt sleeves or leave your shirt cuff unbuttoned.  

While the size is not unreasonable, it will be too big for some.

The Raider Harpoon is available with a stainless steel bracelet, a rubber strap, or a leather strap.  The model I reviewed came with a very nice, quite heavy black leather strap with orange stitching. 

Although somewhat stiff at first, the leather grew a bit softer and more comfortable over the review period.  

The strap is secured with a very stylish, very ergonomic buckle -

The only challenge was in unbuckling the strap, owing to the sleek and compact design and the thickness of the strap.  This became easier over time as the strap softened, but something to be aware of.

Overall, this was a very fun watch to wear.  Solid, tactile, and delivering on what is advertised - a true dive watch designed to take on the briny deep.    It is also a watch that requires a little bit of give on the part of the wearer.  You will be aware that it is on your wrist owing to the size and heft, but then for many watch lovers, that is exactly the point!

Here are the pertinents, straight from the source -

Stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodized aluminum; Screwed and aligned case back
Size: 46mm
Finish: Fine circular satin finish
Bracelet/Strap Material: Calf Leather with pin buckle
Bracelet/Strap Length: 120mm / 80mm
Strap Color: Black
Gender: Mens tool watch

Black dial with appliquéd luminous (blue emission) index marks
Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with antireflection coating on both sides
Features: 7mm fluted, Helium valve
Crown: 7mm fluted, screw-in, stainless steel crown
Hands: Luminious (blue emission) hour ring, minute and second hands and luminious markings under the seconds disk

FL 301 - Sellita SW200 base movement retrofitted witth the Favre-Leuba hour indication system
Functionality: Divers
Power Unit: Mechanical Automatic movement
Power Resistance: 38 Hours
Water Resistance: Up to 50 bar or 500M


No comments:

Post a Comment