Fashion houses in the watch world have always elicited much debate and discussion – especially brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton that are attempting to establish a name in the haute horology world. The subject of today’s article, The Fendi Selleria Automatic, aims for less loftier goals and is significantly easier on the wallet, but does it offer anything truly interesting and bring value to the table?
Before we get started, I confess that my knowledge of and experience with the brand is limited to its references in popular media – like in that song by the Black Eyed Peas many years ago. I believe this is one of the brand’s first forays into what one might consider “serious” mechanical watchmaking, with the brand also highlighting an interchangeable strap/bracelet system to appeal to the sartorially noncommittal.
The Fendi Selleria Automatic is a time-only watch and while there is very limited information from Fendi, I have, after much squinting at the caseback, come to the conclusion that it is powered by the ETA 2824 or one of its well-known clones from Sellita or STP (the movement manufacturer owned by Fossil). This is a well-known, reliable workhorse of a movement with 4Hz operation, 42 hours of power reserve… you know the drill. The movement is visible through a display back and even has a “decorated” rotor.
It has a black DLC stainless steel cushion case shape with slightly different corners. It’s a shape I can best describe as an octagonal cushion. It’s a 42mm wide case, but thanks to the squarish design – it does wear larger on the wrist. For those of you who may want to add a little bling to your wrist game, there is a variant with a gold colored bezel and crown. It’s an interesting, if familiar, case design, but it’s tough when looking at other fashion brand offerings like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, or Chanel – because there’s really no Fendi “brand DNA” to associate with. Maybe Fendi understands this and has found a design language they’d like to stick with and expand on.
The lugs of the watch are unique in that they are detachable. The watch is shipped with three different straps – alligator, calfskin, and fabric – that come with a set of lugs each. Fendi advertises this as a unique and quick way to change straps. Personally, I’m not convinced and find it to be gimmicky. A strap with quick release spring bars would’ve accomplished the job just as easily, but of course, this is a watch from a brand that’s still trying to find its sea legs, so I think it’s possible they’ll realize that a quick release system works just as well and doesn’t make watch fans feel like they’re handling a “beginner’s toy.” That being said, the actual execution and construction is done well.
The dial reminds me of the one on the Vacheron Constantin Quai de L’ile, mostly because of the translucent disk that partially exposes the date wheel. Ironically, it also reveals how large the watch is relative to the movement. The dial is available in a plain black circular brushed dial or a carbon fiber pattern dial and the hour markers are filled with lume – white for the carbon fiber pattern dial and blue for the brushed dial.
The observant reader will notice that the 4:00 marker is a different color as it is used as a pointer for the date as well. At the bottom of the dial, right above the 6:00 marker where one might usually find the word ‘Automatic,’ there is instead the word ‘Fendimatic.’ I’m not quite sure what to make of that.
As a whole – there is nothing particularly wrong with the watch. I may not like the gold colored bezel and crown but I realize taste is subjective. However, there is nothing particularly standout about it either – nothing to engage and hold the attention of the wearer. The only unique component it has to offer, the detachable lugs, doesn’t really do it for me either. I hope Fendi can take what is a decent if uninspiring execution and build on it as so many other fashion house brands have done.
As it is, it’s tough to justify the cost of the Fendi Selleria Automatic with its $2,800 price tag. In a highly competitive industry where we regularly see great value propositions, the Fendi falls short of really appealing to anyone who isn’t seriously a fan of the brand. Lowering the price, refining the design, and cohesive brand DNA are all going to be necessary to elevate Fendi watches. fendi.com