While I certainly have loved being able to feature watches (and brands) that call my old hometown home (Detroit, Rock City), there is another sort of pleasure that exists in showcasing watches coming out of my adopted hometown (Sweet home, Chicago). The latest of these that I’ve run into actually came my way via an old school friend of my wife’s. Funnily enough, the fellow behind Farr + Swit just lives not too far from us, so we were able to get a loan of two versions of the Farr + Swit Seaplane.
Just as we saw with the Isotope Old Radium, the Farr + Swit Seaplane starts off with one predominant style (in this case, a dive watch) and then throws in a Flieger handset for a twist. In this case, it really does reinforce that whole seaplane thing, you know? While I felt the overall design of the watch was well-sorted, the handset was the one spot that could do with some reinforcing. The sizing, specifically. If they were a single hue (ie, fully lumed) the proportions would be good. With the blue outline, the eye is tricked into only “seeing” the white luminous paint, which makes the hands feel small. I do rather like the two-tone effect on the hands, so I think upsizing them a touch would balance things out, and give us that solid dive watch legibility.
Now, you may think I’m picking nits on the Farr + Swit Seaplane, and to be sure, I am. After looking at watches – and so, so many watches – over the years, these are the sort of details you grab onto right away, and they can really solidify a watches position when they’re executed on properly. It’s not to say it makes the watch a fail (it isn’t), but it’s something we point out to help the brands improve the product (at least, from our perspective) when they hit the drawing board for the next round, especially for a young brand just starting on down the road.
You might be expecting that the Farr + Swit Seaplane went for some cost-cutting measures to open the door, but frankly, you’ll be surprised (I know I was). Sure, the expected 316L is the case material, but the sapphire crystal is a pleasant surprise. Past that, the sapphire bezel insert (which is lumed) is really unexpected for a new brand. Protecting all of that, you’re probably expecting a Miyota movement, yeah? It would make sense from a cost perspective (and the indie collectors like them), but Farr + Swit continues to mix it up, and in this case, they’ve gone Swiss with the Sellita SW 200-1 automatic. I’ve been seeing this movement popping up more and more, and my experience with it has been great. Not to mention, you’ve got the whole cachet of a movement coming out of the modern home of high-precision mechanical movements. So, specs, those are decidedly above entry-level.
That must mean the Farr + Swit Seaplane has a boring, flat, pad-printed dial, yeah? Not so, friend! The dial is one of my favorite features of the watch. On the lower half, you’ve got an embossed wave pattern, into which a small flat circle (looks like it’s ready for a small-seconds variant) holds the Seaplane logo and some text. Above the waves, you’ve got a starry sky (the better to navigate by, I suppose. A part of me really would have liked to see the stars (and maybe the logo) luminous, but the line had to be drawn somewhere. And frankly, you’ve got no problem reading the watch when the lights go down – hands, numerals and indices, and bezel all glow up quite nicely on both variants.
And, oh yes, there are versions of the Farr + Swit Seaplane for your pleasure. You’ve got the one with a matte (but still with some sheen, improbably) steel finish (the “Day Trip”), and another with a black PVD coating, which goes by the name “Midnight Landing”. Which one you’ll prefer, well, I can’t answer that for you. Both come paired to a contrast-stitched sailcloth strap (leather backed for comfort), with an option for a silicone strap as well.
So, how does the American-built (it’s assembled by those fine folks at Lum-Tec over in Ohio) actually wear in day-to-day usage? Quite well. I mean, it does have those dive watch proportions, so if you’re the sort used to super tight cuffs, you’ll have some issues. But really, most folks will have no problem. I wore the Farr + Swit Seaplane primarily to work and on the weekends (no attempts with a suit for this one), and it was a rather able companion. It was simple to pick out the time, and the color combination on the watch (particularly with the vivid blue chapter ring) is classic, and one of my personal favorites (blue-black-white).
While I would not go so far as to say the Farr + Swit Seaplane is a perfect watch for me, it is quite well-done, and it’s got quality components and build in the mix. Past all of that, for what you’re getting, it has a rather surprising price. For the steel version of the Farr + Swit Seaplane, you’ll need to bring along just $629, and PVD only adds another $20 to the price. In short, a good deal less than what you might expect to pay for a Swiss-powered diver. And that’s why independents are a great thing to check out – you get in intriguing designs and they manage to find ways to shake things down on the pricing front, making them available to a wider audience. Well, ok, the Farr + Swit Seaplane is a somewhat limited audience, as there are only 500 of each version being produced (they’re numbered). But still, a solid freshman outing from the brand, and we’re looking forward to see what may come next. farrandswit.com
- Brand & Model: Farr + Swit Seaplane
- Price: $ 629 (steel) / $649 (PVD)
- Who’s it for? Someone on the hunt for a dive watch that isn’t another simple sub clone
- Would I wear it? Sure, it would get into the rotation now and again
- What I’d change: The handset could do with enlarging so they don’t get visually dwarfed by the dial (or go to a full-time paint job). Also, how cool would be if the stars in the sky glowed?
- The best thing about it: I really liked the treatment done on the dial, with the sea and sky approach. Past that, this is a tremendous value for the price – just look at those specs below!
Tech Specs from Farr + Swit
- Limited Edition: Limited and numbered to 500 pieces globally
- Built in the USA: Assembled by hand in the Midwest
- Dry Bag Included: Farr and Swit 5L Dry Bag Included
- Movement: SWISS Sellita SW 200-1
- Country of Manufacture: Switzerland
- Vibration: 28,800 bph, 4Hz
- Jewels: 26
- Power Reserve: 38
- Shock Absorber: Novodiac
- Crystal Face: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with AR(Anti Reflective) Coating
- Case: 316L Sugical Grade Stainless Steel
- Bezel: 120 click scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with luminova
- Caseback: Exhibition
- Dial Color: Black (Night Sky and Sea Design)
- Water resistance: 10 bar (100 meters / 330 feet)
- Size: Case Diameter: 42 mm Between Lugs: 22 mm
- Lume: BGW9 (Grade A EF Super luminova on dial markers, hands, and bezel)
- Strap:Sailcloth style strap with blue stitch and deployment clasp
or Barton® elite silicone diver strap with quick release.