Born out of a sense of adventure and a desire to get out and experience the world Farer has delivered a series of watches whose aesthetics hearken back to a vintage sensibility. Now, “watches designed with a vintage aesthetic” is almost synonymous with “new watches” these days, but not everyone does it as successfully as Farer. Farer has worked hard to create an extremely unique brand identity and has focused a lot of their energy on offering variety. There will surely be one model from each of their lines that resonates strongly with collectors. Farer has also been steadily working their way through the different “tropes” of the watch world with their releases. They started with a scattershot of quartz and mechanical 3-handers, which led to their introduction of quartz and mechanical GMTs, transitioning to their mechanical Aqua Compressors (Divers), and their mechanical hand-winding collection.
Farer offers three different watches in this line: the Hudson, the Stanhope with a textured white dial and contrasting sub-dial, and the Lansdell that has white over green with an interesting cutout motif. These models, while sharing a concept and movement, are different enough to be seen as unique watches to themselves. For this reason, I will be reviewing the Hudson specifically.
The Hudson comes in, as you guessed it, a 37mm cushion-style steel case. On the wrist, this watch has a pretty classy delicateness to it that I wasn’t expecting when I asked for a review unit. I think this is largely due to the high polished finishes across the entirety of the case, as well as the small lugs and overall thinness of the watch itself. The Hudson is an 8.3mm thick watch, remarkable only because something this svelte is pretty unusual to see in modern watches.
The mirrored polish continues onto the screw-down caseback where you’ll find a roughly 24mm sapphire display back crystal showcasing the movement. The watch wears well due to this, easily slipping under the cuff of a shirt and it doesn’t present any issues with the crown digging into your hand. The lug-to-lug length is just shy of 40mm but the cushion case allows the watch to be worn by someone that has some modern timepiece sensibilities while not making them feel like they’re wearing a polished dime on a string. This is well executed and you can tell some workshopping went into nailing the exact dimensions.
Farer has gotten some criticism for their signature bronze crowns in the past. I’ve never minded them and to be honest, I thought they added a nice detail to the watches. With the Hand-Wound series, however, they’ve changed the design slightly. Instead of a solid bronze crown, they have used a roughly 5.2mm steel onion crown. Farer states this is largely to avoid straining your fingers as you wind the watch daily. They have, however, included a bronze insert at the end of the crown to carry over that general aesthetic.
The dial on a Farer watch in general, I think, is where you really begin to see the brand’s focused efforts. There are three models in the Hand-Wound line, and as I said in the intro, at least one of them is likely to appeal to you. The Hudson that I received to evaluate had a dark aqua green sunburst and stepped dial with a sub-second dial at six (all the hand-wound models feature this), and large rectangular lumed hour indices around the dial. Every element of the Hudson’s dial appears to have a different level of dimension from the applied markers to the stepped dial and sub-dial – all these elements lead the watch to have a level of visual depth that’s surprising in a sub-10mm thick watch.
The Hudson is also an excellent study in contrast. You have the predominant aqua-green tone set against white bordered hour indices, making the watch very legible. The hands are polished baton style hands with stripes of lume down the center. These match and play off the applied and polished Farer arrow just below the noon index – the latter of which has a very jewel-like quality catching the light (and your eye) when you glance at the watch.
If I was forced to criticize Farer on any element of the dial, I’d say that I would have preferred that they leave the watches non-luminous. They added lume to the hands and hour markers but it’s fairly weak, and leaves you wishing that it was done better.
The Hudson uses a movement that comes as a pleasant surprise to me, the ETA 7001. This is a hand-wound, 17 jewel, time only/sub-second engine that allows Farer to do two things: keep the watch thin and keep the case small. I think that the focus on a hand-wound watch was an interesting and good choice for Farer in a world where most of our watches are automatic. It allows us to interact more with our watches day to day. My experience with it has been nothing but a joy – smooth winding action, accurate timekeeping, and a well-decorated interpretation of the 7001 with blued screws, a signed bridge, Geneva striping, and the delicate balance ticking away. It’s not the most decorated movement I’ve ever seen but coming in at this price point, it is fairly remarkable.
Farer offers the Hand-Wound series on a variety of straps. The Hudson came on a padded black leather strap with a signed buckle and features quick release springbars. All in all, I feel like these straps are adequate, but I’d love to see a better option (maybe a Nomos-esque Shell Cordovan). With its standard 20mm lugs the watch will also be easy to pair to a new strap.
I think the way Farer designs and releases watches is really interesting. They release (typically) 3 models that both stand independently from each other and are also based on the same thesis. Generally, this means that you can find something that you like and in the case of the Hand-Wound series I like all three, so choosing one to purchase would be difficult. Releasing very classically styled hand-winders was a good move for the brand. After their GMT lineup and their compressor divers it was nice to get something a little less tool-y. Next, I’d love to see a chronograph.
My time spent with the Hudson has solidified it on my short list of watches that I would ultimately like to purchase for myself. They are classy, but not something that would look out of place with shorts and sandals. I’ve always had a soft spot for hand-wound watches. As I stated earlier, I think it gives you a deeper sense of interaction with your timepiece. For competitive options, you could stack this series of watches up against some of the entry-level offerings from Nomos, which operate in a very similar aesthetic. Price for the Farer Hudson Hand-Wound 37mm is $1,175. farer.com
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: This would be a great gift, or a great “third watch” when you’re ready to make an investment in a burgeoning collection but want something unique.
>Best characteristic of watch: The dial. Farer consistently delivers extremely well done and unique dials.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Some people will have trouble with the size and it’s going to be too small for some wrists.