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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
48mm Lug to Lug
12.4mm Thick /w Box Crystal
20mm Lug Width
200m Water Resistance
38-Hour Power Reserve
|Crystal & Dial||Double-domed AR Sapphire|
|Strap||Custom-designed Stainless Steel Bracelet |
/w Micro-adjusting Clasp
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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