Favre-Leuba may be one of the oldest watchmakers in the world, but there’s nothing dated about its designs. Nor in its masterful use of technology. Case in point, the Raider Harpoon, a diver’s watch that combines bold aesthetics with pioneering engineering. Since it’s original launch as a hefty, 46mm beast, it’s slimmed down to a much more manageable 42mm… although thankfully, lost none of its proportions, design, or functionality in the process of making this watch. Here, we take a look at ten things you might not know about the Favre-Leuba Raider Harpoon 42.
1. The Brand
If you want a watch that comes with history, if you want a watch that comes with pedigree, and if you want a watch that comes from one of the most respected watchmakers in the world, there’s a very good chance you want a watch by Favre-Leuba. As the second oldest Swiss watch brand (Blancpain beats them to the number one spot by a measly two years), Favre-Leuba has been producing highly covetable, highly collectible watches for the best part of 285 years. As the latest in their collection, the Raider Harpoon 42 promises to be just as desirable as the many Favre-Leuba’s that have come before it.
2. The Promise
Some watches come with so many gadgets, apps, and extras, it’s easy to forget their primary purpose. Not so the Raider Harpoon. With this piece, Favre-Leuba has stripped away the fluff and created something that smacks of simplicity, minimalism, and hardcore functionality. “My engineers have omitted anything unnecessary. What remains has been completely rethought and redesigned. I’m the result – the ultimate diving watch. With only one hand. It lets me offer you everything you need to discover new worlds underwater – and on land. I am brilliantly functional,” says the watch (or perhaps more accurately, the marketing team at favre-leuba.com), and that’s pretty much exactly what you can expect. No pomp, no circumstance, just a flawlessly precise, effortlessly capable timepiece.
3. The Spec
Seeing the pictures and reading a few little descriptions is all well and good, but if you really want to understand what makes the Raider Harpoon such a coveted item, you’ll need to take a deep-dive into its spec. Courtesy of the brand’s website, here it is: MOVEMENT – Automatic FL301 movement based on the Sellita SW200 caliber, patented mechanism for hour display. FUNCTIONS – Time display by minute hand and hour indicator, running seconds disk at the center for function control, helium valve. CASE – Stainless steel, Gunmetal PVD coating, Unidirectional rotating bezel made of anodized aluminum, screw-in crown, sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides, screwed and aligned case back, diameter 42 mm, water-resistant up to 30 bar/300 m. DIAL – Black, appliquéd index marks, luminous (blue emission) index marks and hour indicator, minute and second hands, markings under seconds disk.
4. The Price
The Raider Harpoon is that rarest of things… a superb quality watch that doesn’t cost the earth. Although prices vary depending on both the retailer and the edition, you can expect to wrap your wrist in one for no more than around $3,350.00.
5. The Water-Resistance
The Raider Harpoon is a diver watch, and as such, you’d expect it to tolerate the occasional splash of water. But just how much water it can stand up to might leave you a little gobsmacked. In 2019, professional marine photographer Florian Fischer decided to take his Harpoon on a diving mission to the Island of Faial. Diving near the Condor Bank, Florian tested the watch to its limits as he dived beneath the 1800m Condor Bank. It passed the test with flying colors, accurately recording dive times as Florian concentrated on capturing images of the area’s legendary Blue Sharks.
6. The Design
Keeping on top of oxygen levels and time underwater is crucial for the deep-sea diver. Having a watch that will accurately record diving times is therefore vital. As is having one that makes time-telling a breeze. Thanks to its pioneering design, the Raider Harpoon does both. Effortlessly. Unlike other designs that require the user to reference two hands to site hours and minutes, the Raider Harpoon’s simple watch face is designed with a single hand system to indicate the minutes and hours – a simple, apparently minor difference that nonetheless represents a major step forward in watchmaking engineering.
7. The Size
The market may be awash with huge watches, but the latest version of the Raider Harpoon has chosen to go in a different direction. Last year, Favre-Leuba challenged itself to come up with a new, slimline version of the classic design, without losing any of the features its customers had grown to love and expect of the original. It may have been a big challenge, but it was one they managed masterfully. “When we decided to launch the Raider Harpoon in a smaller 42mm size, we had to think how to create the new timepiece without changing the design and the proportions of the original,” Favre-Leuba’s technology engineer Urs Gottscheu explains via gmtpost.com (https://www.gmtpost.com/post/favre-leuba-raider-harpoon-42-mm-price-pictures-and-specifications). “Most importantly, we didn’t want to compromise on the readability. To avoid having a much thicker watch, we reduced the water-resistance parameter from 500m to 300m. The proportions stayed the same and we still have a very impressive diving functionality.”
8. The Helium Valve
It’s not only the simple time reading mechanism that makes the Raider Harpoon such a coveted piece among divers. The helium valve adds an extra level of functionality that elevates the piece to new heights of excellence, maintaining an optimal pressure balance regardless of how long the watch spends underwater, or how deep it goes.
9. The Versions
Choice isn’t something Favre-Leuba believes in restricting. Regardless of what kind of strap or color combination you’re looking for, you’re almost guaranteed to find it in the brand’s extensive collection of Raider Harpoon pieces.
10. The Vintage
A good wine may have vintage, but more often than not, so does a good watch. The Raider Harpoon may utilize very 21st-century technology, but as A Blog to Watch rightly notes, it’s also more than happy to pay homage to the big, bold designs of the 1970s, a quality that’s more than apparent in its chunky, blocky elements and bright, retro colors.