When I think of Farer, I think first of colour. Often playful–and frequently inspired–Farer use uncommon palettes to create memorable dial designs. And with the latest launches in its Manual Wound Cushion Case Collection, the brand has done just that in both the Durham and the Mansfield. What the watchmaker has proven with the Lethbridge, on the other hand, is that colour need not be offbeat nor unconventional to make an impact. And sometimes, you need only one.
While Farer now have twelve collections and almost forty different watches, the Stanhope II was the first timepiece in their catalogue to undergo an evolution. This past Spring the brand released the sensuously redesigned cushion case we see in the Durham, the Mansfield, and the Lethbridge, featured here. But of all of those aforementioned references, the Lethbridge alone relies on the one simple tincture of its highlights to seduce the unwitting enthusiast. Rendered in layered metallic plates–what the brand refer to as “astro silver”–the dial is a stark field onto which highly polished octane blue numerals and laser cut dauphine hands have placed. The result is a study in texture and tone.
As I wore it around town last week, I realized that more than once I could have been stopped for distracted driving–so engrossed was I in the light bouncing of its azure hands.
The architecture of its sector dial, and the gently curved sapphire crystal, are no doubt responsible for collecting this light. Foremost in the design is a raised, circularly brushed hour index–where we find the polished Arabic numerals. This is framed by the recessed and printed railway minute track on the outer edge of the watch. Inside, there is a finely brushed and vertically textured medallion where much of the light-play takes place. The dial is enhanced by two further offset circles in the small seconds register, where we find azurage encasing a miniature version of dial’s centre medallion. Together, these discriminating details make for a contemporary reinterpretation of a classical dial design.
At 38.5mm the Lethbridge case has an almost organic feel. On wrist it practically melts away, being a mere 10.5mm thick and measuring only 43.8mm from lug to lug. Its barrel-sided shaping flows seamlessly into the crystal like a polished pebble. Yet the case has definite structure, too–particularly in the sloping bezel, delineated from the mid-case by a simple bevelled line. Its “bat-ear” lugs, and the case scalloping between them which allow the strap to appear integrated, are also marks of adroit engineering.
The Lethbridge and its sisters are driven by the customized Sellita SW216-1. The manual movement is an Elaboré grade with significant decoration and micro-engraving in the bridge, including Farer’s arrow-pattern logo and the brand name written in bold. The slender Swiss calibre is further embellished with blue screws. It is a 4Hz, 24-jewel movement, offering a 45-hour power reserve when fully wound. All of this is visible through the sapphire exhibition case back.
The Durham, for its part, is differentiated from the Lethbridge by its metallic salmon copper dial and slate grey hour ring. The Mansfield is finished in stannic hues of tea green.
The Stanhope II, upon whose foundation the cushion case collection is built, sports a textured, cream-coloured dial with polished steel baton markers and numerals at 3, 9, and 12. Unlike the Lethbridge and its sisters, the Stanhope II also employs Super-LumiNova in both its handset and the hour indicators.
All four references come with a choice of seven different straps.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
43.8mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Display Case back
Embossed Bronze Crown
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Curved Sapphire|
/w AR Undercoating
Grained Astro Silver Sector Dial
Applied Arabic Numerals
Polished Octane Blue Dauphine Hands
|Movement||Sellita SW216-1 Elaboré Grade|
(45-Hour Power Reserve When Fully Wound)
|Strap||Seven Strap Options|
Farer Lethbridge Cushion Case Manual
The Farer Stanhope II, and the original before it, commemorate the trailblazing Lady Stanhope–also know as Queen of the Desert. Likewise the Lethbridge, Durham, and Mansfield are also named after British women and explorers. Lady Hay Drummond-Hay–who was born Grace Marguerite Lethbridge–was an enterprising journalist who became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in a Graf Zeppelin airship. Mary Edith Durham was an artist and anthropologist who wrote pioneering work on the customs and society of the Balkan territories of Albania. And Charlotte Mansfield was a writer known best for her African expeditions–particularly her 16 000-mile adventure from South Africa to Lake Tanganyika.
The Pilot Blue Granolo Leather Strap that accompanied the Lethbridge is a little stiff and will certainly take some breaking in. However, all references in the Manual Wound Cushion Case Collection do come with a choice of seven different bands. A more important consideration might be the limited water resistance and lack of lume (on the three newer models). Fifty meters is not terrible; however, given that the series is named after explorers, one might anticipate something a little more confidence inspiring.
Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” If that’s true, then the Farer Lethbridge is one sophisticated timepiece. It definitely does much with little. That is not to say that the resulting minimalism in its design is not hard fought nor clever. Quite the opposite. The Lethbridge is far more impressive for its austerity. In fact, if you look up the definition of elegance, you will find that it means “pleasingly ingenious and simple.” That is the Lethbridge in a nutshell. Add to this the unquantifiable intimacy that comes with a manual watch–the daily ceremony of winding–and you might have the quintessential timepiece.
The Farer Lethbridge, and all the Cushion Case Collection, retail for retails for $995USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
About the author
Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.
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.
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6 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: Farer Lethbridge Cushion Case Manual”
I think you hit on the right stuff here Robi… I love Farer for its playful nature in design colors much like Leonardo Da Vinci would have appreciated it also… The old world masters who appreciated pops of color on finely finished surfaces of gesso. The build quality is definitely next level and has allowed Farer in my opinion to keep its followers intrigued with what is next. With that said you hit on a strong point of my 1 distraction from Farer… it’s inability or the design team’s unwillingness to invest a little into the water tightness of its case design.. Farer is at a market point that this needs to be addressed. Another spot on review 🙌🏽😎
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All true. Thanks for reading!
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Those sharp, blue hands are mesmerizing!
One of the most attractive pieces Farer offers.
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Like a smooth pebble