Tested for You: The Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon
As one of the oldest Swiss brands, Favre-Leuba has recently enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. Since it’s 2016 relaunch, the brand has introduced a few nearly indestructible dive watches. This is one of them, and this is Tested for You.
During a recent trip to Switzerland, I was given the opportunity to test the new Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon. For anyone who has seen this watch in the metal you can understand why curiosity has been building around this minimalistic yet extremely over-engineered dive watch.
At 46mm it’s a hefty watch with a weight that leaves quite the impression. Its sweeping lugs are attached to a bracelet that feels more like an armor than your typical dive watch bracelet.
The Ultimate Diving Watch
Favre-Leuba bills this watch as “The Ultimate Diving Watch.” While not a diver myself, I can understand this sentiment. Many divers will tell you what they require most during their expeditions is a reliable yet readable watch. This piece has both. The Raider Harpoon is powered by a Sellita SW200 movement which is about as reliable as they come.
From a readability standpoint, the brand has executed an innovative hour/disc system to tell the time. The piece also features a secure rotating diver’s bezel. The dial, hands, and internal/external bezels are all lit up by blue emission SuperLuminova. This all adds up to a quite brilliant way of telling time on dry land and underwater.
Telling the time
At the center of the Harpoon Raider’s dial, you’ll see a single hand. This innovative and patented system allows the wearer to tell time easily, precisely, and obviously underwater. The single hand rotates clockwise in concert with a rotating inner disc which tells the hours. It took a few minutes to understand how all this came together, but afterwards, I started to almost prefer this method of time telling over a traditional three hand watch where you must track the hour, minutes, and seconds to conclude the time. In the dark, it was downright delightful to see this system light up and display the time in a clever way.
I’ll be honest, I have very small wrists. A 39mm watch is usually my daily wear and I don’t dive more than 10 feet in a pool on a good day. So, I was hesitant to take on this review, but my fears quickly subsided when I strapped the Raider Harpoon to my wrist. When I put on a wet suit for our photoshoot, I quickly understood why this watch was created. The diver’s extension easily deployed and the watch clasped on over my suit like it was made for this very purpose.
The watch can withstand depths 500m of 1640feet and for saturation divers, there’s a helium escape valve/crown at 8 o’clock on the case. The sapphire crystal has double antireflective coating and feels incredibly durable.
While this watch won’t fit under a cuff, it simply wasn’t made for that purpose. The Raider Harpoon was designed for one thing and one thing only, diving. You could also make the case that this watch is a solid weekend piece if you were to exchange the bracelet for a leather or NATO strap. On top of this, Favre Leuba offers a variant with gunmetal PVD coating.
I don’t typically experience saturation dives nor sea creatures, but I felt like I could
After a few weeks with the piece, I found myself reaching for it in the watch box more than expected. There’s a certain confidence boost in having such a solid watch on the wrist. In my day to day I don’t typically experience saturation dives nor sea creatures, but I felt like I could.
I’m confident in saying this watch will give divers and sportsmen years of service and reliability. I’m looking forward to seeing how this line evolves and the adventures these pieces will inevitably find themselves in.
In closing, The Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon is an intuitive yet minimalistic execution of a dive watch. It’s nice to see a brand ignore consumer sentiment and produce something that they believe is the best product possible made with the best materials available. I think the designers were right to remove all the typical gimmicks you see in dive watches and just make a killer watch at a reasonable price point.
As of press time, the Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon is 4,450 CHF for rubber strap, and 4,950 CHF for steel bracelet.