March 5, 2023
Establishing an easily identifiable aesthetic identity can often be challenging for watch brands, although this is one area in which SevenFriday certainly excels. Within the realm of practicality, there are really only so many shapes that a wristwatch can be, and so, it becomes about working within fairly narrow constraints to create something that must check a relatively long list of boxes, while still somehow managing to feel unique to the brand that created it. Founded in 2012, SevenFriday embraces a thoroughly modern design language, with many of its models featuring various iterations of its signature TV-shaped case design. Among the latest new releases to join the brand’s lineup for 2023 is the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” watch, which takes the familiar profile of the PS series and renders it in carbon fiber with teal accents.
Carbon fiber is having a bit of a moment right now within the watch industry due to its novel appearance and high strength-to-weight ratio. However, there are countless types of carbon fiber-based materials being produced these days, and the vast majority of brands do very little to explain how theirs is actually different from any of the others. At the heart of it, all the different kinds of carbon fiber-based materials are essentially just carbon fibers held together with some type of bonding agent (essentially a super hard polymer), although the density of the carbon pieces and their organization can differ significantly from one type of carbon fiber material to another, as can the various polymers and resins that are used to bind them together.
Most of the carbon fiber-based materials being used in the watch industry these days are essentially variants of forged carbon, which consists of shredded carbon fibers and specialized resin binding agents that are mixed together and combined with heat and pressure to create a solid form that is characterized by asymmetric wavy patterns throughout its structure. On the other hand, the original process for creating carbon fiber items involves compressing layered sheets of woven carbon fibers with some type of polymer binding agent, and this results in a solid material with the classic dark gray checkered pattern that typically comes to mind when you first think of carbon fiber.
Part of the proliferation of carbon fiber materials (both in the watch industry and beyond) has to do with the advent of forged carbon technology, as it is less expensive to manufacture and also allows for a much wider range of possible shapes. That said, forged carbon will never be able to replicate the tightly-knit and highly-organized grid-like appearance of traditional carbon fiber, and while the vast majority of watch brands have turned their attention to forged carbon and other related carbon-reinforced resins, the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” and its red-colored sibling, the PS3/02 “Ruby Carbon” feature cases with components made from classic woven carbon fiber.
The TV-shaped case of the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” offers a rounded rectangular profile and measures 47.6mm-wide by 14.5mm-thick. With that in mind, since the entire case is essentially just a rectangle with rounded corners, there aren’t any actual lugs protruding from either end, and this means that despite its massive diameter, the watch still has an overall “lug-to-lug” profile of just 47mm. The case itself features a multi-component construction, with carbon fiber used for the bezel and outer section of the middle case, while the actual middle case itself is made from stainless steel with a black PVD finish. A thin white resin band separates the two carbon fiber sections, while a gently curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface sits above the multi-layered dial and protects the display.
At the 3 o’clock location is a signed winding crown that has a black lacquer-filled tip, and it screws down to the case to help create 100 meters of water resistance. Meanwhile, the solid stainless steel caseback is secured by four small screws and features a number of engravings that relate to the watch’s specs and the various locations where different parts of it were produced. Most interestingly, the caseback includes a circular composite section that contains a built-in NFC chip, which can be scanned using the SevenFriday smartphone app to verify the watch’s authenticity and ownership status. Each watch essentially exists as a unique NFT that is stored on the blockchain, with the actual connection between the physical watch and its digital NFT record being a hardware chip embedded inside its caseback.
Despite having the appearance of a largely carbon fiber watch, the stainless steel inner middle case on the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” makes it a fairly heavy timepiece, with an official weight of 126 grams, including its strap. The carbon fiber that appears on the middle case is essentially just an insert or outer shroud (which the brand refers to as an “animation ring”), while the majority of the case’s actual structure consists of stainless steel with a black PVD finish. Many carbon cases feature internal metal sections to some degree or another (even if it is just to offer support for the watch’s threaded components), although in this particular instance, the case should really be thought of as being made from stainless steel with a carbon fiber shell attached to it. The appearance of carbon fiber creates the expectation that the watch should be lightweight, and given this style of case construction, I would have personally preferred for the inner part of the case to have been made from a similarly lightweight material such as titanium.
Like many SevenFriday watches, the dial of the PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” features a highly modern and partially skeletonized design, despite essentially being a three-handed, time-only wristwatch. While the aperture under the crystal is rectangular, the actual display for the watch is round, with the dial appearing as a four-layer assembly with multiple different applied elements and open-worked sections. Embracing a largely gray, white, and teal color profile, the dial features rhodium-plated luminous hour markers, while the entire first third of the minute track and the large 12 o’clock marker is also luminous for added visibility in the dark. The time is displayed by two centrally-mounted hour and minute hands that feature large geometric circular sections and short luminous tips, while an off-centered rotating disc serves as the running seconds indicator. Additionally, all of the lume on the watch glows green, which further leans into the color profile of this particular “Jade Carbon” model.
Despite its highly technical design, the overall appearance of the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” almost offers a playful cartoon aesthetic. Much of the visual complexity is done purely for cosmetic reasons, and the punchy teal color of the various dial components, combined with the oversized “SEVENFRIDAY” text on the dial, ultimately makes it feel like something from an animated television show that has come to life. I can certainly enjoy a lighthearted appearance, and while I do wish that the logo was a bit smaller, one other minor quibble I have regards the applied indicator that points out the value for the running seconds disc. Aside from the fact that the indicator is luminous while the disc itself is not (which renders it completely useless in the dark), it also has a fake screw head embossed onto it, which is a design choice that will always look questionable, regardless of the standard to which it is executed.
Although the case of the SevenFriday PS3/01 doesn’t have any lugs, it still accepts a fairly standard straight-end strap, which is secured via traditional spring bars to cutouts on the underside of the stainless steel middle case. That said, the strap itself is a rather thick and beefy design that is crafted from black calfskin with a Toray microfiber inlay and a black suede lining. Measuring 28mm wide where it connects to the lugs and tapering down to 24mm where it meets the chunky black PVD stainless steel pin buckle, the extra-thick strap is needed to support the large size and weight of the watch, although it can sometimes feel a bit like wearing a cuff due to the fact that it still measures 24mm at its absolute narrowest point, with the buckle immediately adjacent to it flaring out to more than 34mm.
Powering the SevenFriday PS3/01 is the Miyota 82S5 automatic movement, which is the current version of the popular Cal. 8xxx series that features a small running seconds indicator and a partially open-worked area to offer a dial-side view of the balance. Running at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours, the Miyota 82S5 is very much a known quantity within the industry, and it is widely used by a variety of brands due to its proven reliability and affordable price point. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of the Miyota 8xxx series calibers, as they typically guarantee years of trouble-free performance. However, it is undeniable that they are relatively inauspicious workhorse movements, and while I wouldn’t really consider myself a movement snob, I would have still liked to have seen something a bit more unique and special used to power the SevenFriday PS3/01, especially given the highly technical design of its display.
The SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” is objectively a fun and interesting watch, and while I may have my slight quibbles with various elements about its design, my biggest struggle is in regards to its price point. Although it may use components that are crafted from woven carbon fiber (which is inherently more expensive than forged carbon), it is also accompanied by an official retail price of $1,860 USD, which makes the SevenFriday PS3/01 undeniably seem a bit expensive. Once you get too far above a thousand dollars, many people start expecting a Swiss movement, or at the very least, one of the more premium Japanese options, such as something from the Miyota 9xxx series or Seiko 6Rxx range. Additionally, with the actual construction of the watch carried out in China, and only the design/concept taking place at the brand’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland (as indicated by the caseback), it becomes a bit hard to get past the price when you look at what a similar budget can get you elsewhere these days. That said, arguably the greatest appeal of SevenFriday watches is their distinct and immediately recognizable designs, and for those who have their hearts set on a fun and funky TV-shaped case wrapped in carbon fiber, there isn’t anything else out there that’s quite like this particular watch. For more information on the SevenFriday PS3/01 “Jade Carbon” watch, please visit the brand’s website.