British watchmaker Farer is well known for doing funky things. I’m not sure if many other brands play with color the same way, and very few have the breadth of catalog as Farer, which currently offers 50 models across 17 lines. In fact, in Farer’s market segment, it’s common for brands to stay lean and keep options limited; selling watches is already challenging enough without overwhelming potential buyers. Yet Farer has made a successful run of not only offering a huge array of designs, but ones that are packed with color, character, and charm. The trend continues with the new Farer Tonneau line, which offers Farer’s take on the classic barrel-shaped case design, with a trio of predictably intriguing dials. I got to go hands-on with the Paris model, and frankly, I came away conflicted.

This is a pure tonneau watch, with a case that bows from lug to lug. The case is largely unadorned. From the top down, it has crisp vertical brushing that runs its length, with a thin chamfer that traces the entirety of each case side. While the rest of the case is brushed as well, the case sides each have a groove that follows their edges, adding just a bit of variety to the otherwise very straightforward case. But that simple design is a bit deceiving. What catches you off guard is the round lug termini. Instead of your typically block or even beveled lugs, Farer has really made this an incredibly soft silhouette with this choice. For better or worse, it gives the case a bit of levity, almost like it was made for a child so they wouldn’t get an owie on a hard corner. And were a child to wear it, they’d likely be pretty safe doing so, as the Farer Tonneau features 100m water resistance and a curved sapphire crystal.

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At 35mm wide, 45mm lug-to-lug, and just 10.6mm thick, this watch isn’t a beast on the wrist, but I can’t help but wonder how much better it may have worn with a manual-wind movement or slightly less water resistance. Such changes could take away some of the thickness of the caseback and allow you to more fully experience the dramatic curvature of the mid-case. As it is, that effect is blunted on the wrist, though not entirely eliminated. When I put this watch on a thicker strap, I found it to be far more enjoyable. That’s not usually true, but hear me out. With the included strap (which itself wasn’t particularly thin), the case stood out more on the wrist. By putting it on something closer to the case’s actual thickness (like the cheapo yellow rubber above), the watch’s curve was continued into the strap and thus the curvature, not the height, was accentuated.

The electric blue dial of the Paris edition is really quite something. A vibrant take on the city’s street signs, the dial’s brilliant blue has a subtle vertical brushing that complements the case and comes alive at the right angles. There’s no lume, so low-light legibility suffers, but it’s not as bad as it could be. The brightness of the white hands and markers provide excellent contrasts, so even when lighting wasn’t ideal, I could usually manage. I did really like the modern, three-dimensional Roman numeral markers; Roman numerals are so often stodgy and formal, but here they are light and playful, a perfect match for the brilliant dial. A thin minute track adds a slight texture shift, which I found to be an understated way to bring more character to the dial.


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The Farer Tonneau Paris is equipped with an elaboré grade automatic Sellita SW300-1. This features the upgraded 56-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph and a rotor that has been vapor coated to perfectly match the dial. Farer’s owner, Paul Sweetenham, said he learned of the vapor coating method from a doctor at an airport who had an instrument coated in a brilliant red. Upon inquiring, the doctor told Sweetenham of the Swiss company that did the coating, and Sweetenham convinced them to handle the Farer rotor. I remarked that the movement perhaps could be changed to a manual-wind option. I mentioned that a switch to a manual wind movement might save a bit of case thickness, but I’ll admit that the difference between the SW300 and the SW210 is only .25mm, which may not provide the benefit I was looking for.

There’s no question the dial here is a stunner. That’s almost always true for Farer watches. I don’t even mind the lack of lume, as this isn’t really a watch that needs it. But I mentioned I was conflicted, and it comes down to the case. I like the idea of a soft silhouette that gives a more playful take on the classic tonneau, but something just didn’t work for me. Sometimes things don’t click, and sometimes it’s hard to say why. Perhaps it was the strap, and switching the straps did help make this far more enjoyable. Ultimately the execution here is great for what it is and what it attempts to do, even if it may not be for everyone. The Farer Tonneau Paris is priced at $1,250 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website


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