Having arrived in the market in November 2015, the London based watch brand Farer has had a successful launch year being well received across the industry. The combination of vintage inspired British watch design paired with high quality Swiss movements has seen the brand recruit fans all over the world especially here in the US and back at home in the UK. The four founders Paul, Ben, Jono, and Stu sit down and talk about how it all began, the journey so far, what their highlights have been this year, and what is in store for the future.
Talk a little about yourself and why you started a new watch brand in the first place?
We’ve all known each other for years and have previously worked together in various different roles in and out of the watch industry. Between the four of us we have a complimentary set of skills from watch buying, retailing, watch design, and managing brands. However it was really our shared passion for vintage watches that finally convinced us to give up what we were doing and start the business. We very simply believe there is an increasing demand to create stand out timepieces that are inspired by the halcyon days of watch design (in our opinion the fifties and sixties), build them to today’s quality standards using the very best parts and movements, and offer them at a price that represents the best value. It’s these three principles that inform everything we have done and will do. We want to create watches that are seen as a smart purchase by watch fans who are looking for braver, more interesting designs – good quality yet at affordable prices.
Explain the planning and design process before you launched?
We knew from our previous experience from working with Swiss watch suppliers that these things can’t be rushed to achieve the very best standards. We also knew we wanted to design our own bespoke cases as well as every single component part which went into our watches with the exception of the movement itself. Our first launch collection consisted of nine watches so this took around a year of design and development. In the meantime we made multiple trips to Switzerland to visit Roventa Henex, our manufacturing partners, in order to agree to the future product strategy as well as build the infrastructure of the business itself here in London.
From the very beginning we have been committed to designing and creating the finest watches we possibly can at the right price points. For each watch we make, we spend a lot of time negotiating with our manufacturing partners first about what parts and materials are available to use before we even begin to draw. We want Farer watches to be recognized for their build and material quality as well as the designs no matter what the price. It’s this dedication and resilience that we believe can set us apart from the rest. We want Farer customers to know that we’ve worked tirelessly on absolutely every detail and nothing is taken for granted.
Explain a little more about the relationship you have with your Swiss partners Roventa Henex?
We knew the company well before we had met them as they manufacture some of the very best watches around on behalf of some great brands. Fundamentally we knew we needed access to the very best Swiss movements and this could only be achieved through a partnership so we flew out and presented our philosophy, ideas, designs, and five year business strategy. We agreed to the deal on that very day, were shown around their brilliant factory, as well as given a sneak peek into the infamous failed watch brands room which was their way of reminding us that it’s not always easy going!
We’ve always set out with the ambition to crack the affordable automatic sector. So in October this year we were pleased to launch our first three automatics to market – Hopewell, Beagle, and Endurance, which all run on the ETA 2824-2 Swiss movement. The question we are always asked is why we started with a Quartz collection – the simple answer is cost. The quartz collection used both Ronda and ETA movements and was more financially achievable at the beginning of the business. Moving forward, we will look to launch more Quartz and Automatic watches all using Swiss movements to achieve the very best offering to our customers. This will continue to allow us to play in the £300 – £1500 sector with a full range offering where we see there being increasing demand for well made watches.
Do you believe there is a role for both Quartz and Automatic movements for Farer?
Absolutely. With the price points we are aiming at with Swiss movements, we know there are a number of different types of customers out there. The quartz collection allows us to play to the guy who enjoys the aesthetic of the watch above anything. Then you get everyone from a collector of fine watches who enjoys discovering new brands and interesting designs to a younger customer who is looking for his first automatic watch to invest in. We talk about being a universal brand when it comes to design and hope we continue to appeal to this wide range of people. Just like some of our favorite vintage brands, we want to design pieces that don’t all look the same and have a broad design aesthetic whilst still being a part of the family.