What do watches from one of the oldest names in watch making look like now?

The watch world is obsessed with stats, titles and poignant statements with meaning. So how about we take a look one of the oldest name in horology? Favre Leuba has quite a claim to fame here, but surprisingly the brand is relatively under the radar when compared to other equally old brands such as Blancpain.

Fortunately, Favre Leuba’s designs are far from under the radar, they’re bold, unique and peak curiosity, something that isn't new for the brand. With over 283 years of history, it probably comes as no surprise to hear they have a fascinating one. With links to brands such as JLC, Bovet, Vacheron Constantin & Audemars Piguet it’s fair to say Favre Leuba offer huge importance to watchmaking.

Who is Favre Leuba?

A vintage Favre Leuba Harpoon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Created by original founder Abraham Favre (1702–1790) and with a later addition to the brand in the form of Auguste Leuba, initially, they started making pocket watches. Due to the age of the brand, this was naturally common practice. The brand saw many successful years during these pocket watch dominated times which guided them successfully until 1925 when watches moved to the wrist and they began making monopusher chronographs. Over the next 40 years, the brand celebrated many milestones including the acquisition of Bovet as well as the successful development of their own in house calibre, the FL101 which led to further in house movements.

The 1960s turned out to be a fascinating and pivotal time for the brand. To kick the decade off the brand released a diving watch in the form of the Water Deep. This was a popular, sensible addition to the brand’s offerings, however with the rapid demand for watches with increased water resistance, the Water Deep was replaced by the Deep Blue just 4 years later (remember that name).

In 1965, Favre Leuba acquired Jaeger LeCoultre and in 1969 they became sister companies. The outcome of this pairing came in the form of double-signed dials as well as some interesting releases from Favre Leuba that have always been referred to as JLC icons (including the Reverso).

There are also examples like the above Zenith & Favre Leuba double-signed dial.

Another interesting model joined the Favre Leuba family in 1968 in the form of the Bathy. This characterful watch not only looked incredible, but it also was the first watch to display to the wearer dive time as well as dive depth.

The 1970s saw new models such as the Sea Raider, Memo Raider, Sea Sky and the Sea Sky GMT introduced to the range. However challenging times were ahead for the brand as during the 80s, the dominance of battery-powered watches resulted in the brand having to be sold. This was extremely common during these times, many mechanically focused brands simply had to give in to the clearly more modern, reliable and affordable option of quartz.

Modern-day Favre Leuba

The Favre Leuba Raider Harpoon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

2011 saw the revival of this historical name thanks to a new dedicated team who were driven by ensuring the ethos and mentality of the original family owners didn’t remain in the history books. 12 months later the brand released a new range of watches fuelled by the principles of the brand's ancestors while making the most of modern technology.

Which neatly brings us to today and these three models we’re exploring in more detail...

Favre Leuba Deep Blue 41mm

The Favre Leuba Deep Blue - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

To kick things off we start with an early name the brand used in their detailed history. The barrel-shaped case has been created to efficiently bring those design choices from the 60s and 70s through into a modern-day piece. The short, stumpy squared off-hour markers are also suitably 70s. In fact, so are the hands with their tapered design and the square tip of the minute hand being one of three additions of colour seen on the watch. The other pop of colour is on the bezel with 12 to 20 being highlighted in yellow on this particular model. The bezel itself has a unique design to it as well with two almost square bracket-like sections between each 5-minute mark to enhance the visibility of each passing minute. The final pop of colour is in the centre of the dial framing this short seconds hand design.

The watch has a real quirky appeal to it. The diving watch is such a popular category of timepiece that commonly can look all too similar. But the Deep Blue is curiously distinctive. This particular model is actually PVD Gunmetal coated which really drives home the ability to stand out.

Specs:

Case width: 41mm
Thickness: 13.8mm
Lug width: 22mm
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Case Material: Stainless steel with PVD Gunmetal finish
Water resistance: 300m
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodized aluminium
Bracelet: Leather strap
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, unidirectional diver bezel

Price: Starts from £2,400

To find out more about this unique take on a diving watch click here.

Favre Leuba Raider Harpoon

The Favre Leuba Raider Harpoon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Imagine if Favre Leuba took all of the unique aspects, quirks and unexplainable appeal of the Deep Blue and simply turned it up a notch. Well, imagine no longer as this is where the Raider Harpoon steps in. On the surface, it’s a similar watch to the Deep Blue. The minute hand is the same, good use of colour throughout the watch appears and their signature case design is present. Upon further inspection however, the hour hand has been replaced by an hour disk that sits and rotates around the edge of the dial. This can look pretty confusing at first so here’s how it works.

The Favre Leuba Raider Harpoon - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

As you pull the crown out and turn the minute hand, the hour disk will also turn with the minute hand working its way through the section for the hour it is currently in. Once you have rotated around to the 12 o'clock position the hand will have moved into the next hour section of the disk. This principle is similar to a jump hour watch however in this set up rather than the hour jumping, it comes along for the journey around the dial.

The result is a watch that can make telling the time simple and understandable with an emphasis on minutes first. That focus on the minutes naturally suits the watch being a diver with 300m of water resistance, a large size for legibility and it’s bold appearance.

Specs

Case width: 42mm
Thickness: 14.92mm
Lug width: 22mm
Movement: Automatic FL301 movement based on the Sellita SW200 ­caliber, patented mechanism for hour display
Case Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 300m
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodized aluminium
Bracelet: Rubber strap
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, helium escapement, unidirectional diver bezel

Price: Starts from £3,350

Click here to find out more!

Favre Leuba Sea Sky

The Favre Leuba Sea Sky - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Last but not least, we have the Sea Sky. This large chronograph effectively encapsulates the modern-day Favre Leuba perfectly. Design touches from the two earlier models are apparent here including that unique minute hand, purposeful hour markers appealing case design and fantastic use of colour. This is the orange model which sees the dial and the bezel get the orange treatment. What’s brilliant about the Sea Sky is how balanced that use of colour is though. Just when you may start to think the colour begins to feel controlling and biased, the black subdials or the subtlety of the orange on the bezel jumps out.

At 44mm this is certainly a watch for someone who enjoys a watch with some real presence on the wrist, but the quality and reasoning for the increased size is abundantly clear.

Specs:

Case width: 44mm
Thickness: 16.99mm
Lug width: 22mm
Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 7753 movement
Case Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 200m
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodized aluminium
Bracelet: Stainless steel
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters, date display

Price: Starts from £3,350

To explore more, click here.

Favre Leuba and WatchGecko

The Favre Leuba Collection - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

We’re incredibly pleased and excited to announce that WatchGecko now officially stock Favre Leuba on the site! This new addition builds on the recent update to the site that also saw Delma Watches become available.

Be sure to click here to see all Favre Leuba watches now available on the WatchGecko website.

Much like Delma Watches we recently took a look at, Favre Leuba has effectively translated their ethos and approach to horology throughout their models. The brand has a fantastic history with some beautiful vintage watches that can be found on the second-hand market for obtainable price tags. Their modern watches explore and act as amazing examples in the strength of unique design. They are watches that are designed to be used, worn and enjoyed. And it’s pretty hard to argue with that...