The full name of the new Farer Aqua Compressor is the kind of wordy nonsense you’d expect from a large Swiss brand releasing a smartwatch into an existing collection but made in collaboration with a fast food restaurant. The Farer Aqua Compressor Endeavour Ocean White Titanium Series II is an unpleasant mouthful that takes up almost an entire line on the site. I’ve harped on this before, but this is the result of Farer giving a different name to each case family (Aqua Compressor), dial style (Endeavour), and dial color (Ocean White). In this case, you also get “Titanium Series II.” Compare this to Rolex, which simply uses a model family name and leaves you to either helplessly describe which version you mean or memorize (and hope others have memorized) the reference number. There has to be some happy medium, right? Notwithstanding its unwieldy name, the FACEOWTS II (that’s not going to work) has a design that surprises on the wrist and absolutely nails the full-lume dial idea.

I want to dive right into the dial because that’s the real selling point with this particular model. The same watch is available with a black dial or in a fully red dial with a slightly different layout. While the black is far more straightforward and the red brings color to the equation, the full lume of the Ocean White is the most fun by a (nautical) mile. The Endeavour Ocean White offers the brand’s first full-lume dial and also serves as an example of how to do full-lume right. Too often, brands will put a fully lumed dial in a watch, and then lume everything else as they normally would. This decreases the contrast between the dial and the hands and markers, which makes a watch harder to read in low light (and sometimes in full light, too). That’s lazy and careless, if you ask me. If you’re going to use a full lume dial, there’s no need to use lume anywhere else, as solid hands and markers will offer the most contrast and highest legibility in all situations. That’s what Farer has done here, and it’s killer.

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Farer doesn’t just give us a white full-lume dial. One of the issues you’ll often see with full-lume dials — any large area of lume, really — is that, when lit up, you can get a fair bit of mottling instead of a single even layer of lume. That’s unavoidable, but Farer seems to have shown us a way to mitigate the unpleasantness, using a discreet wave pattern in off-white. Adding a pattern to the dial masks any mottling that may occur, making it imperceptible. The waves cut horizontally across the dial and even continue onto the recessed chapter ring. While they’re clearly visible in most of these photos, in person they’re even more subtle, and not something you’ll always notice.

With full lume dials, the name of the game must be legibility, and the best way to accomplish that is simplicity. On the Farer Aqua Compressor, the large hands and tall, wide applied indices stand out against the dial even when it’s faintly illuminated. As mentioned, the chapter ring is recessed, creating depth between the dial and the internal bezel. In macro, you can see on the bezel some of the mottling I spoke about, but it’s not visible on the wrist — Farer shows that fully luming parts of a watch need not be a haphazard process. One of my pet peeves with internal bezels is that so many have no detents or mechanism to allow for easy and precise adjustment; extra care is required just to set it back at 0. The internal bezel here, though, has a stop mechanism that disallows backward movement, ensuring that you can lock in a precise position.

The applied “12” stood out for me, and it adds a bit of Farer’s quirk to the dial. In addition, here’s a neat party trick: When you hit the dial with a UV torch, the seconds hand will block the light and “burn” into the dial (you can also reset the time right after doing this for three times the fun, and a second blast with the torch makes the marks disappear).

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So, what about the titanium case? I’ve worn past tonneau models from Farer that have been too flat and bulky on the wrist, but at 41mm across and 12.5mm thick, the Farer Aqua Compressor presented no such issues. A big part of that was the fitted quick-release strap, that snuggles right up to the case for a seamless transition to the wrist. Even on a different rubber strap, though, I found it to wear very nicely. The case is made from grade 2 titanium, making the finishing process easier and allowing for the striking burst of brushing that adorns the top, the circular brushed ring around the domed sapphire crystal, and the polished flanks. Far from the dull matte finish and angular design of many titanium watches, the case here has quite a bit of personality. The case is impressively a true compressor, meaning the pressure of the water compresses the gaskets to increase the water resistance as the watch goes deeper.  The cited 300m depth rating means it’s ready for anything (though my anything usually includes dishes, bathtime for the kids, and the very occasional trip to the beach).

The case is completed with two screw-down crowns set with Farer’s signature bronze caps. The tapered crowns afford excellent grip thanks to their size and deep fluting. Here’s another thing Farer did differently on the Aqua Compressor models: the 4 o’clock crown adjusts the bezel, while the 2 o’clock crown adjusts the time. On most dual-crown cases, the crown functions are reversed. That may make sense if the internal bezel is free spinning without detents — you wouldn’t want the crown getting nudged and your timer to be off. But most dual-crown watches have screw-down crowns, and this watch has that stop mechanism for the bezel. On the wrist, a 2 o’clock crown is more inconvenient than a 4 o’clock crown, and when you’re wearing a watch, you don’t really need to fuss with setting the time (if you do, please send your watch for service). It makes good sense, then, to have the bezel crown at 4 so it’s easier to access, as you’ll be using it more when on the wrist. Bingo, bango, bongo.

I didn’t need a sapphire caseback to see a Sellita SW200-1, but here we are. The automatic Swiss movement is a mainstay of the sub-$3,000 market, and with good reason. An average power reserve of 41 hours at 28,800 vph met all of my needs, and the movement is easily serviceable should any issues arise. The movement gets elaboré grade finishing, with some perlage and snailing, but nothing exquisite. The caliber is fitted with a “Farer Submersible” rotor with a wave decoration (I’ve reviewed two other Farers with automatic movements, and all three have had different rotors).

I can’t speak with absolute certainty about the entire Farer Aqua Compressor line, but the case and dial alone here are knockouts. The full lume approach will certainly be gimmicky to some, but it adds fun without sacrificing any functionality, and that isn’t so easy these days. For those who like to do good with their money, a portion of each sale of a Farer Aqua Compressor goes to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, which works to conserve the marine life and environment surrounding the Hebrides Islands. The Farer Aqua Compressor Endeavour Ocean White Titanium Series II is priced at $1,195 USD, with a matching titanium bracelet available as a $265 add-on. For more information, please visit the Farer website

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