For me, the SevenFriday SF-M1B/01 The Urban Explorer watch is a welcome return to form. In my estimation, the brand has been somewhat off the boil lately. When SevenFriday branched out beyond the original P-Series, I feared for its existence. This model, however, gives me hope the brand is returning to its roots. Say what you like about the 47mm TV-style housings, powered by standard Miyota 9015 movements, but they had a niche. They were one of the few brands in that price-point doing something relatively radical that serious watch snobs didn’t seem to loathe. Sure, there was often a dash of incredulity surrounding the bombastic design remit, but that era of SevenFriday watches was incredibly self-confident. Simply put, they kept it simple. And it worked.
Staying in Lane
Here is where the SevenFriday SF-M1B/01 The Urban Explorer watch gets it right. The heyday of the brand was, for me, the P- and M-Series watches. This addition to the latter collection is a very solid entry, taking the original M-Series concept and improving it. The running seconds indicator along the horizontal axis is excellent. Flipping the crown to the right-hand side of the case was a welcome move. As the eyes move from left to right, I think reaching the hours, minutes, and seconds in this order makes sense. The complex, seven-layer dial is easy to read; its clever use of textures and finishes adds interest without distraction. Dial screws, steel-effect elements, and futuristic fonts give this piece the desired industrial character.
The M-Series provides a much more digestible readout than perhaps any other. Some iterations have been a bit cold, but this one has a great interplay among textures that enlivens the whole piece. The denim strap adds a more casual element to what is otherwise a very dressy watch for the brand. The rough cotton texture matches well with the sandblasted decoration ring and the steel-effect dial. Alternating surface finishes do wonders to elevate the perceived value of a timepiece that, for all its aesthetic quirks, is still incredibly affordable.
The most noticeable thing about SevenFriday watches has always been their cases. The size, the shape, and the clever decoration band that can either add texture or color to the exterior improve recognition. Here, the SevenFriday SF-M1B/01 The Urban Explorer watch gets it absolutely right. The ocean blue of the case is industrial and handsome. Next to the stainless steel case, it is also rather smart. Whether this 47mm case (water resistant to 30m) would slip under your dress shirt cuff rests heavily with your tailor, but it might be worth paying a visit. This model is, undoubtedly, one of the smartest watch heads SevenFriday has ever produced.
The case, as with most of SevenFriday’s pieces, features NFC technology that enables digital verification of the watch via the SevenFriday App. It’s not technology that has ever really appealed to me, but it does have the potential to be built upon and become a more useful addition in the future.
I have not desired a SevenFriday since the P-Series. This one, however, would be very welcome on my wrist. I’ve never been convinced by denim as an ideal material for use with luxury watches, but this price point may be just about perfect to experiment with the fusion. When Hublot did it on a watch that cost around 30 grand, I was not interested. Here, I think $1,250 is a tempting proposition for something different. To learn more, visit sevenfriday.com