The countdown is on! March is the date, Switzerland is the place, for the return of a legendary dive watch brand with a history spanning some 279 years - FAVRE-LEUBA is back!
It seemed only apt after being the one to break the sad news of their departure from the watch industry in 2010 that OceanicTime would be the one to announce (albeit unofficially) their happy return for 2017.
In November of 2011 the Favre-Leuba brand was acquired by the Tata Group, who relocated the brand to the small fishing town of Zug, where they began developing a long-term strategy that would make use of the brand's rich heritage while incorporating new and exciting designs.
Finally a new collection was born that fused the brand's historical DNA with contemporary style - all the while boasting new proprietary technologies.
We need only look at what the Tata Group has done for the Jaguar car company; taking them from drudgery to being one of the hottest and most desirable car companies that there are today. Favre-Leuba's future holds much promise, but before we head forward in time perhaps we should go back to the beginning.
279 years is a hell of a lineage - however it is really only the past half a century that concerns us. The sea has been in the Swiss brand's blood since 1955 when the models; the Sea Chief, Sea King and Sea Raider were first released - however these weren't actually divers models per se; it wasn't until 1960 that Favre-Leuba's very first divers model, known as the Water Deep was introduced.
Three years later, in 1963, a 200m water-resistant diver named the Deep Blue was released - a further 5 years on, in 1968, a dive watch that has to this day kept Favre-Leuba's name on the map, the legendary Bathy 160 was released with the capability of not only displaying elapsed dive-time but also current depth down to 50 meters.
When we think of Favre-Leuba it is the Bathy depth gauge that comes to mind. Sadly this, their most iconic model, so far has no place in the new collection - but that is not to say that it won't come - hopefully it will, but until it does, here is the new Raider collection that includes 3 new models, 2 dedicated divers and a sports chronograph - that share the same basic case design which is available in either combination brushed and polished Stainless or Gunmetal PVD coated steel.
These models include: the 46mm, 500m water-resistant HARPOON with its revolutionary new way of reading the time - leaving only a single prominent minute hand on the dial that works in combination with a luminous rotating hour disc for time-reading.
Please see the VIDEO for a full explanation of how this works.
Then, the 44mm, 300m water-resistant DEEP BLUE, named after Favre-Leuba's originally 200m water-resistant model from 1963 - it's essentially a three hands model- well, it would be if it in fact had three hands that included a sweeping seconds hand, but it doesn't - like the Harpoon, above it makes use of a rotating seconds disc instead - a neat little trick.
The second’s indicator has been thoughtfully lumed so that it complies with industry norms for a diver’s watch - which requires the presence of an indication that the watch is running in total darkness. This is usually indicated by a running second hand with a luminous tip or tail – in this instance the three apertures in the seconds disc reveal some luminous material, below.
Finally, Favre-Leuba aren’t branding it as hardcore diver, but the SEA SKY is a sports chronograph that takes its name from a 1970s model of the same name. It 44mm Stainless steel case has a water-resistance of 200 meters.
All three models of the Raider collection are available in two colorways; blue or orange and are endowed with: screwdown casebacks and crowns, raised Sapphire crystals, Helium Escape Valves (Harpoon), unidirectional rotational divers bezels and Super-LumiNova applied hands and markers.
They all look fantastic and are set to take the luxury dive watch segment by storm, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating - will the Raider collection be just as tasty in the steel and how well will the Harpoon's time reading system be received? Time will tell!
As mentioned above this is an unofficial preview of what is to come in March which means that everything is subject to change. If you were lucky enough to have been in Tokyo this week, Favre-Leuba held a re-presentation of the brand for the Japanese press where you would have seen the new collection – otherwise you’re going to have to wait until Basel!
Follow the link embedded below to keep track of the official countdown.