Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Few Watch finally arrives, less than stellar impression

After waiting longer than I had to, the watch arrived this morning. Before getting into the watch, there was a delay in production and no communication from Few regarding this delay until I contacted them. Even after contacting them, responses were extremely slow and when Few finally admitted to missing the committed production time, they at least offered me a free additional strap for taking so long. I have to say that I am less than thrilled with Few's communication and hope to see it corrected in the future.

The watch arrived in a nondescript cardboard box which was well packed, inside I found a black leather case, extra strap, watch link tool, and a lanyard adorning Few's logo.

The black PVD finish is pretty even across the watch but is not a particularly durable finish as I already see a spot wearing through.

I am not certain what printing method Few is using but it calls for improvement as fine details are lost and prior to printing, Few needs to either fix a current process if there is one or employ a color matching process as the design I submitted and the dial that is printed are two separate tones of grey. You can compare against my original design in an earlier post, notice that the barrel on the M4 isn't even printed on the final production watch, thanks for SBR'ing it.

Few needs to pay attention to simple things that are so basic I have to wonder if the people who assemble them are even qualified to begin with such as the bracelet width being wider than the lug width and as a result the links next to the lugs do not lie flat and are torqued away. Another disappointing detail is the bezel as well, I chose the black bezel with white markers and what I received is a black bezel with steel markers, the website shows as clear as day that the markers are white as you can compare it against the steel color bezel they have on their design site and can see a definite difference between the white and the steel; all of this feels like simple inattention to detail and could have been avoided had they a better quality standard and a quality assurance process, if one exists at all.

You can see in the pictures below where the bracelet is too wide against the lug and as a result is torquing the bracelet away and creating a gap and bad fit.

The watch so far is keeping time but only been wearing it for a handful of hours and will have to wait a couple of days before concluding on it's time keeping capabilities. Overall I am disappointed, the slow communication and production time may have biased me but the bad fit and finish on top of the less than quality print of the dial, I contacted Few regarding all of my issues and will see what they have to say about it and what may be done about it. If they decide to try to make it right, I think I would be able to maintain a positive opinion on the company but if not than Few just maybe another company in a long line of retailers of sub-par quality goods.

Update 9/14/2012:

I've decided to keep the watch since I like most of the parts of the watch and is hard to find a suitable replacement in the price range and besides, I do work on watches and will likely get to re-working the dial myself later versus waiting on Few to get their act together. As for my opinion of Few watches, do not get the steel bracelets as they do not fit their cases; I am not certain if the case is OEM'ed by FEW, outsourced for production, or use an existing case design from a supplier but they need to learn a thing or two on how to test these things out on CAD and then onto rapid prototyping before charging people money for something as simple as a band not fitting which should have been discovered during prototyping if not quality assurance. If FEW is the designer of the case, they are simply terrible at industrial design to let an out of spec lug or bracelet slip by. I would avoid their PVD as well as it is not a good quality PVD and I wouldn't bother with a custom dial unless it is really simple since they screen print and would of been nice to know what resolution screens they use to minimize design detail getting lost. So if you are in the market for a dive style watch where you can swap out some features, it's a good pick but for true customization, leave it to craftsmen who understands what quality is. I also tried contacting FEW to see if I can get a partial refund on the bracelet and the botched dial, I am still waiting to hear back.

update 9/28/2012:

After waiting several weeks for a reply, Few has agreed to refund me $46 USD which is the cost of the bracelet that does not fit and the custom dial that was not executed well. The email process did take a long time but I am glad in the end of them refunding me for the less than stellar quality parts. The partial refund at least does show that Few as a company wishes to make things right with the customer.

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