Furlan Marri Smashes The Hype With The Permanent Mechanical Sector Collection
I have a soft spot for Furlan Marri and the two people behind it. Enviably known for their well-planned success and pin-prick accurate marketing, the truth is that Andrea Furlan and Hamad Al Marri do the work themselves. But they are so good at embracing social media and visuals that their efforts look like those of far larger brands. The watches are created through the passion of two grounded enthusiasts but have sparked many hype discussions. To me, this says a lot about how old-fashioned we still perceive the small-brand ethos to be. Well-planned success is sometimes frowned upon, but Furlan Marri now smashes the hype with a new three-piece mechanical permanent collection.
Quite often, microbrand cult status means more than the actual execution of the watches. There is a deep respect for the impossible-to-reach, non-media-savvy makers of quirky horology. Being a small, one-person brand assembling watches at home quite often means no time for digital tools and Instagram efforts. But when the two combine while being embraced by Patek and Journe collectors for meca-quartz watches, it should inspire others. Furlan Marri proved me right last year with the significant release of the duo’s first mechanical wristwatch, the Black Sector Ref. 2116-A. Within the same period, the braying pack of enthusiasts also saw a new chapter open for Furlan Marri. No, not another hot drop but three references of the successful meca-quartz chrono as a permanent collection, available and continuously restocked.
Stock, not hype
The Black Sector was a one-time release. Many of us, however, have been anticipating a permanent collection based on the unusual design, and I, for one, am not disappointed. Inside the new trio beats the same 68-hour automatic by La Joux-Perret, a charmingly big-balanced caliber with very decent finishing and decoration. There’s sharp snailing on the bridges and the custom Furlan Marri rotor, a full-tungsten job with a palladium coating. This makes for the smooth and weighty winding of the big mainspring. But even with its blued screws underlining the standard, it was a case of “if you know, you know.” Yes, the movement hid under a retro-perfect decagonal steel case back. FM trounced the small-brand standards by giving this Patek-ish piece of metal brushed and polished finishes on the outside with full perlage on the inside. That set the bar high, but this time, the case back is sapphire.
A multi-part case with lugs to die for
There’s no hiding the fact that those lugs are the first thing you’ll notice. One of my favorite chronographs is the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 1955 with similar Cornes de Vache (cow-horn) lugs. But here, they are delightfully different, smoothly curved with flat outer edges brushed to match the split-level case sides. Each pair is fitted to a bridge, on which there is an engraved model serial and production number. These are fitted to the case ends. The ’40s-style flat-top bezel is brushed and also finished separately from the case. The blend of satin-brushed and polished multi-part case details seriously outperforms the price, something that Furlan Marri excels at.
Three flavors of mid-century vintage
The Sector series with its circular, curvy-lugged form comes in three flavors — Salmon Sector, Grey Sector, and White Sector. The quirky vintage charm of a reference number on each dial between 4 and 5 o’clock as well as between the lugs speaks of an obsessive focus. The detail and vintage form give off a strong feeling of late-’40s formality with a slight design twist to each dial. The crisp, smooth-surfaced silvery white version has the same maximalist sector dial as the others. The printing provides a sharp contrast, including printed blue numerals to match the hands.
The gray version is most like the limited Black Sector, but it has a smooth radial brushing under applied Arabic numerals, offsetting the grainy surface of the center. I do love the pure vintage feeling of pink-salmon-tinged dials, and the Salmon Sector doesn’t disappoint. The entire dial has a textured, grained finish, while the pale pink is juxtaposed with a contemporary touch in the dark gunmetal handset and applied hour markers. This is a suave twist, perhaps inspired by the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5270P-001
A varied threesome set the tone for the future
As we’ve seen before, Andrea and Hamad are generous enough to put two soft straps in the travel case. One comes with curved ends while the other has straight ends, and they even correspond to two different sets of lug holes. Each watch has a vintage-eloquent diameter of 37.5mm, a 46mm lug stretch, a 10.5mm thickness, and a price of CHF 1,250 direct from Furlan Marri. These three Sector references join the meca-quartz chronographs that are already part of the Permanent Collection. This marks the transition from an exclamation-point microbrand to a firmly established small brand with regular stock.
The final, very tempting proposal is something I haven’t seen before. With the assistance of a partner in Switzerland, all customers can assemble their own FM timepiece with a professional watchmaker during a half-day training session. Now that’s tempting. All , this bodes very well for the future, one that has a healthy blend of mechanical and meca-quartz cool.
Dear Fratelli, what do you reckon? Do you agree with me that we need more non-diver vintage watches? I find it exceedingly refreshing to see small brands embracing a dressier outlook on life. Let us know what you think in the comments.
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