Favre-Leuba is one of the oldest names in the watch industry. The brand was relaunched a few years ago with rugged retro-themed adventure watches. Among these, the Raider Harpoon stands out with its quirky retro-futuristic design. At 46mm in diameter, this beast of a dive watch does not fly under the radar and is clearly not meant for every wrist… but if your wrist is on the smaller side or if you are inclined toward more discreetly sized watches, the Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon is now available in a smaller 42mm version.
What we’re looking at here is basically a downsized version of the original 46mm design, but for the rest, no dramatic changes. We still have the 1960s-inspired barrel-shaped, angular case with its circular opening, the same bold colour schemes and, mostly, the same original and truly dive-oriented display.
Starting with the case, it has been reduced from a whopping 46mm to 42mm, without changing the design and proportions of the model. It is fitted with a two-tone unidirectional rotating bezel, which keeps track of dive times. The dual-crown layout is still there, one of these is a manual Helium Relief Valve (HRV). This characteristic professional dive watch feature was created for saturation diving.
Professional divers live and work under important levels of pressure for days or weeks. At great depths, they breathe a mixture that has been saturated with helium to prevent any risk of inert gas narcosis. During these prolonged stays in a pressurized environment, the pressure inside the watch gradually becomes the pressure of the diving depth. Depressurization poses a problem when the diver returns to surface pressure. Without a helium relief valve, which enables the pressure to escape, this may cause the crystal to pop out. To ensure water-resistance, the caseback and the crown are screwed. A nice detail, the caseback is aligned ensuring that all markings are in the right position, which is rarely the case on screw-down casebacks.
With the launch of the Harpoon Raider 42mm, the main challenge for Favre-Leuba was to accommodate its unique time display mechanism into a smaller case. To do so, the in-house module has been adapted and the water-resistance of the watch reduced from 500m to 300m.
Specific to this watch, the Raider Harpoon focuses on the most crucial time indication when diving; the minute hands. There is no hour hand as the indication is relegated to the periphery on a co-rotating ring. The ring gradually advances and hours are indicated by the minute hand. Intriguing and unusual at the start, it is handy once you get used to it (you can watch the following video that will make things clearer). A small central pointer allows you to see that your watch is running, which is an essential feature of a dive watch. The use of luminescent material makes it easy to read the time even in dim light.
To power this unique mechanism, Favre-Leuba uses the tried-and-tested automatic Sellita SW 200-1 as a base. It boasts 38 hours of power reserve and beats at 4Hz. A reliable base to power the in-house module.
The Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon 42mm is available in steel or gun-metal PVD-coated steel, with multiple dial/bezel configurations. It can be ordered with a choice of leather or rubber strap, or on a steel bracelet with safety folding clasp and diving extension system. Price starts at CHF 3,450.
For more information, please visit www.favre-leuba.com.