Hands-On With Farer Aldrich World Timer
This is what Louboutin’s watch should look like. At least the case back. Introducing the 39mm Farer Aldrich World Timer with a pearly dial and daring red rotor.
When I first saw Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso designed by Christian Louboutin a few years ago, I was a bit “meh.” With all due respect to one of the world’s most revered luxury footwear designers, I expected more. You can only imagine how amused I was when I turned around the new World Timer Aldrich from Farer. Not designed for women specifically, but here it is. An interesting, line-cut rotor coated in a matt racing red. A bit off? Maybe. Do I mind? Why would I?
Speaking of women and Louboutin’s red-bottomed shoes, this is definitely the perfect time to mention that this Aldrich’s case diameter is perfect for slimmer wrists too. While most modern World Timers seem to compete at 42 or 43mm cases, Farer decided to lay low. At 39 millimeters only, I definitely consider this a unique selling point when compared to Tissot Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary or the JLC Geophysic Universal Time. The Tissot, with its €1,470 price tag, is just 20 euros more expensive than the Farer, but much bigger with its 43mm diameter. The JLC comes for a price of nearly nine Farer Aldrich models. And obviously, it doesn’t have the red rotor.
Three different designs
I don’t know why some watchmakers tempt our urges so much and come up with multiple design variations. Since its release in October last year, I’ve been struggling to choose between the three handsome colorways. The Roché comes with a dark blue dial and white luminescent internal bezel. The Markham comes in the reverse layout, with a bit of a twist: There is a micro piqué pattern on the main dial. Finally, the Aldrich model is the only one in matching blue tones. As you may have deduced, it’s the one I ended up asking for.
Let’s not tiptoe around it
If I was to make the decision again, I would opt for the Markham. Why? Initially, I considered the matching blue dial less obtrusive. I thought fewer colors would improve the legibility of an already busy face with a lot of writing. As much as I liked the reflective blue baseplate, after a few days, it became too blue. There was not much light and sun during the week I wore the watch, which made it a bit difficult to read sometimes. “The Roché sold out in two months, but will return in May 2020,” said Farer founder Paul Sweetenham to me few days before my test watch arrived.
If only slightly bit possible, I recommend seeing all three World Timers in the flesh before you make your decision.
If you’re considering a purchase and aren’t willing to wait, my advice would be to go for the Markham anyway. Only sanity combined with modesty stopped me from asking Paul to also send me the Farer Markham. Now, I’d very badly like to see Markham’s micro piqué pattern under my macro lens. It’s interesting how our tastes evolve over such a short period of time. Two weeks ago, I voted for the Aldrich and today I am a Markham fan. Going over this and also going back to the Farer Bernina story, if there are more designs coming with one model, I highly recommend seeing all the watches in the flesh before you make your decision.
Whichever Farer World Timer wins your heart, one of the following details will be involved. Most watches feature a 3, 6, 9, 12, or full Arabic circle around the dial. To see all of the even numbers (except 12) alongside long indexes is unusual, to say the least. The result is a novel one of balance and typographic clarity. It is a lot more successful than I might have imagined it being before seeing it before me. This layout is joined by mirror-polished-steel alpha hands. And they look wonderful.
I already reported the case diameter as a big plus for those of us that prefer modestly-sized watches. If we look at the Farer Aldrich from the side, we can’t overlook the micro-blasted side cut-ins. It’s something I gladly see since my interview with Ivan Arpa or since reviewing the Timex Automatic S1 by Giorgio Galli, which took case creativity to an even higher level. Another moment of surprise was when I rolled my finger over the lug tip. It is surprisingly sharp.
If you look at the short lugs from the side, you will see something. It took me some time to recognize the shape of a Hobbit’s ear in it (I don’t mean that as an insult). The solid stainless-steel crown with a bronze inset is a must-have signature sign. The off-set crown controlling the inner bezel used to set the 24 time zones features the embossed World Timer marque.
World Timer basics
As we don’t often find World Timers in our hands, let’s repeat how it works. After you set the time, you position the desired city on the outer bezel directly under the six. You do it with a crown at 10 o’clock. Then you pull out the main crown in the first position. Rotating it clockwise you adjust the inner 24-hour time disc. Set the right time for the city in the second time above the six and you are ready to read the correct time in all 24-hour zones around the globe.
If you live in Europe, I am not sure how badly you need to know what time it is in Denver, Dubai, and Moscow at the same time. But I know it is fun to play with the World Timer whenever you may be bored. Though you have to try a lot to see the minute track. The inner bezel does a gentle click and jumps into position when it reaches the next city. As the crown is not screwed down, the bezel click prevents unwanted misalignment. The transparent case back held down with four screws is modestly signed and exhibits an ETA 2893-1 movement. The tan Horween strap you see in pictures is the best-selling combination on this model. For me it was a bit sturdy so I changed it for an older Farer calf leather strap I ordered a few years ago with the Farer Lander, “which remains our number one seller“, unveils Paul Sweetenham. “At least until the Roché and Aqua Compressors, and Farer Leven specifically, are back in stock in May.”
To use a chronograph analogy, a “simple” GMT or second-time zone watch is like a bi-compax counting minutes and hours. You know it’s a chronograph and you like it, but you also know there are better ones out there. If you want to have a serious classy chronograph, it has to have the third sub-register or 12-hour counter. I’m just putting that out there to see whether there is a chance in seducing you with the full World Timer complication. It is not necessary, but it is a nice addition to any watch collection. And if you look at what’s priced around the Farer trio, the Aldrich, Markham, and Roché nail it with a perfect mix of compact parameters, fine manufacturing, and dial creativity.