Off the Cuff: Halios Fairwind

Obtaining a Halios is akin to catching sight of a Stresemann’s Bristlefront. Never heard of it? Then you catch my drift. The Halios is a rare bird and it sells out in the time it takes to refresh your browser.

Halios Fairwind Dive Watch Microbrand Review
The Halios Fairwind Slate Grey with 12Hr Sapphire Bezel @calibre321

Founded in 2009 by Jason Lim of Vancouver, Canada, Halios is a brand that has been a poorly kept secret among watch aficionados. Championed by the likes of industry giants Hodinkee, Worn & Wound, Time & Tide, and most especially The Grey NATO’s James Stacey, Halios has nonetheless remained true to its microbrand roots. Lim still runs a one-man show, overseeing production from inception to final assembly of every model.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
A microbrand icon @calibre321

Lim and Hailos produce primarily water-resistant sports watches of the highest quality for prices within reach of the enthusiast community. And each release, in its own small way, is treated like the launch–if you’ll excuse the paradox–of a microbrand icon. The Fairwind is no exception.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Up close and personal @calibre321

Following the next-level success of the Seaforth, the Fairwind is a much-anticipated refinement of Halios’ slow evolution in watch-making. What began with the the rugged, 47mm Puck, and culminated in the 41mm Seaforth, has now settled into the 39mm case of the Fairwind. The movement toward smaller, dressier sports watches does mirror the trend of the industry at large, but also marks a watchmaker coming into its own in terms of aesthetics and vision.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Svelte 39mm case @calibre321

The svelte case of the Fairwind–running 48mm lug to lug, and 12.4mm thick–is further highlighted by the pared back profile and extensive polished bevelling which divides the planes of the primarily brushed surfaces. While the case shape, large screwed-down crown, and coin-edge bezel speak of vintage skin divers, the creamy grey dial and matching sapphire bezel are very modern. In truth, the watch is also available in Bathyal Blue and three different bezel variations–all of which coalesce in a perfect balance between mid-century skin divers and decidedly contemporary sports watches.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Watch Review
Halios Fairwind with Double-domed Sapphire Crystal @calibre321

Its double-domed box crystal is also sapphire, and yet its angled distortions are every bit as warm as vintage acrylic. The applied indices, the slender baton hands, and the bezel markers are all coated with a generous application of C3 Super-LumiNova and offer long-lasting brightness. The model shown here has a bi-directional, 60-click, ratcheting, 12-hour bezel, but a proper dive bezel is also available. All models offer 200m of water resistance.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
C3 Super-LumiNova @calibre321

Hidden beneath the solid caseback of the Fairwind is a Swiss Sellita SW200-1. The movement has become a popular competitor of the ETA 2824 series. It is adjusted in two positions and offers an accuracy range of +/-12 sec/day up to +/- 30 sec/day. Like the ETA, it beats at 28 800 oscillations per hour and offers a 38-hour power reserve. This particular movement is a no date variant and therefore does not a have a ghost position.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
The Sapphire Box Dome on the Halios Fairwind @calibre321

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Specs

Case316L Stainless Steel
39mm Diameter
48mm Lug to Lug
12.4mm Thick /w Box Crystal
20mm Lug Width
200m Water Resistance
MovementSellita SW200-1
28 800bph
26 Jewels
38-Hour Power Reserve
Crystal & DialDouble-domed AR Sapphire
Applied Indices
C3 Super-LumiNova
StrapCustom-designed Stainless Steel Bracelet
/w Micro-adjusting Clasp
The Halios Fairwind
Halios Fairwind Dive Watch Microbrand Review
Wristcheck with the Halios Fairwind @calibre321

Of Interest

One of the most impressive elements of the Fairwind is its stainless steel bracelet and proprietal clasp. The bracelet is an ultra-slim mix of flat, brushed, fully articulating planes and extensive bevelling. It is so close in design to the watch case itself, that it appears as though one is simply a continuation of the other. The tolerances here are incredibly fine. The links are also screwed, which is an added benefit when sizing the watch out of the box. However, even more impressive is the custom clasp which has an ingenious micro-adjusting mechanism. This not only allows for added comfort in initial fit, but has the added convenience of providing the wearer with an option to adjust the sizing in small increments throughout the day as the wrist swells and shrinks with activity. The watch need not even be removed to activate the mechanism.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Halios Fairwind Micro-adjusting Clasp @calibre321
Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Stainless steel flat link bracelet @calibre321

Quibbles

There isn’t much with the Fairwind that isn’t spot on. However, the same mechanism which sets it apart from the herd in functionality might also be a minor aesthetic compromise. The micro-adjusting clasp is visually thick in comparison to the lissom bracelet. That being said, it does have the practical advantage as a counterpoint to the case itself, providing a well-balanced, comfortable on-wrist experience.

It should also be noted that the bracelet, in this iteration, cannot be sized for a wrist smaller than 6.25 inches.

Halios Fairwind Jason Lim Microbrand Watch Review
The Halios Fairwind @calibre321

Final Thoughts

The Fairwind is an example of utilitarian elegance. It has the sober stylings of the Sinn 105, or even the SLA017, and yet there is a sophistication to the watch that is much more in line with the Tudor Black Bay 58–its chamfered lugs, the refinement in its bracelet. It is far from ostentatious, but everything it does, it does well. And it does all of this for only $775USD. This is not an inexpensive watch, but the aforementioned comparisons are two to four times that price. Its case size and subdued good looks make it the perfect desk-diver for the office; its robust construction and 200m of water resistance mean it will transition well to weekends at the cottage. With its specification to price ratio, it is difficult not to place the Fairwind at the top of its class; however, what is unquantifiable is its on-wrist experience–the way its indices, or the planes of its bracelet, catch light. The way its arching lugs hug your arm.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Sophisticated, sober styling @calibre321

The Fairwind does what a microbrand should. It provides an attractive, value-laden alternative to industry mainstays. But you also get the impression that it’s striving for something more. How will we know if that is achieved? Only time will tell.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Designed in Canada @calibre321

NB-At the time of publication, ordering for the Fairwind is on hold. However, once the latest batch of orders are shipped, the site will open again. Bookmark the page and refresh it frequently, if you want a shot at the Fairwind.

Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Halios Fairwind @calibre321
Halios Fairwind Microbrand Review
Dark mode @calibre321

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.

2 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: Halios Fairwind

  1. Pingback: Other Watchy Bits: The Skin Diver – calibre321

  2. Pingback: Off the Cuff: Seiko SPB147 – calibre321

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