Sunday, August 12, 2012

Few Watches

Update 9/14/2012-------------

Before reading this article, check out my impression on finally receiving the watch after several production delays and hardly any communication. I can't in good conscience recommend their custom dials as they are a disappointment, and their steel bracelets are a waste of money as they do not fit the lugs.

I came across a rather nontraditional European watch company in a sense that they are located in Sweden and assemble watches there but they use Miyota movements which are manufactured by Citizen who is a Japanese watch maker. What sets Few apart is that they offer a selection of cases between two Citizen Miyota movements; the 8205 which is an automatic movement capable of a 40hr power reserve and the OS20 which is a quartz chronograph. I personally do not care for quartz watches and it is the automatic movement that caught my attention. The 8205 is a 21 Jewel movement that beats at the modern 21.6k BPH with a centered hour, minute, and second hand with a day/date window. The crown can be used to wind in it's neutral position and pulls out two clicks where the first click position is used to set day or date depending on the direction it is turned and the last and outer click will set the time.

8205 technical drawing

8205 exploded view from the front

8205 exploded view from the back

At first glance Few makes good looking watches with a lot of choices at a competitive price and as you poke around the website, you realize that there are various levels of customization offered with many of those options at no additional cost which is just simply awesome. I'm not talking just a simple change of the wristband here but as granular as picking the hands, color of the second hand, crown shape, case lid, even a custom dial. Naturally I had to take the watch customization for a spin and lost myself for hours configuring variation upon variation which lead me to designing a custom dial as I was close to the feel of what I wanted with the stock dials but wasn't quite there yet. What started out as a simple curiosity has now turned into an order and I haven't been this giddy for a watch of my own since building one back in January.

The watch customization is stepped so that anyone can make a watch and I highly recommend creating an account before starting (it's free) for two reasons, 1). You will have access to dial customization, and 2). You can save your dials and watch configurations. Once I narrowed down the case to the Black PVC coated case with the dive style bezel, I picked the Rolex Submariner style hands with a red second hand, the crown is a modern tall crown and next came the dial. This is where the website kind of sucks, the website's dial design tool is barely adequate and is really clunky to say the least. I found myself creating the dial in Photoshop and Illustrator and uploading GIF images (to keep the transparency) to the website and building the dial that way. I spent countless hours designing dials for my SWC watches and this is no different; I tend to design dials that appeals to my aesthetic taste while keeping general wearability in mind where I want to design a timeless timepiece and where each dial speaks to me differently. This time around however, I was designing something specifically for myself and I wanted to create a dial that makes the statement of, yes that's me; that there is no mistake that the watch belongs to me. After about four hours or so of trying various iterations I have arrived on a design that is most certainly me.

The close up detail, I went with a grey dial color with white numerals and the cross wrench and M4, yup that's me for sure. I kept the Few logo as I wanted to maintain their brand as advertisement for them.

Filled with the grey for better visual representation

Mock up with all the parts I picked out, this is what the final production watch should look like. The chapter ring I believe will be installed as in either a chrome or lume insert.

Assuming that Few can execute my design well, it just may become my everyday beater at $224 shipped.

UPDATE: I forgot to include this on the original post and this is purely an observation when I bought my watch. I recommend using Paypal as the CC method does not change to a secure protocol, meaning it remains on HTTP and that would be unencrypted CC info being transmitted.

I look forward to my watch's arrival, I just received an email this morning stating my watch is, "In Production" with the email showing a simple diagram of it's order process which goes like this: In pre-production > In production > Preparing shipment > Shipped. As soon as I receive my watch and have some time wearing it, I will write a full review hopefully in the very near future.

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