Firle watches are a new brand in the ever cluttered micro brand world of watches. It’s taken 3 years of painstaking design and development to get here. And this April, Firle is launching their flagship model; Sennen. The name comes from the Old English word ‘fierol’ which means oak-covered land, a name that carries strength.
I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the package and seen the beautiful Sennen staring up at me, I picked it up and almost immediately I could feel the quality, this didn’t feel like a generic rubbish starter brand, this felt good and I knew I was going to enjoy this one.
The high polished 316L stainless steel case is 41mm in diameter and measures in at 11.7mm thick, a size I feel extremely comfortable wearing. The case shape has a vintage feel to it, beautifully polished the whole way round and it smoothly transitions and bevels into the short lugs, leaving us with a lug to lug of 48mm. On the other side of the case, we have an unsigned onion crown that is easy to grip and provides this watch with 100m of water resistance, a nice feature to have on any watch. The barrel design and shape to the case mean this watch sits and feels perfect on my wrist, another 1 or 2mm smaller and this would have sat right on the sweet spot of watches for me. For a dress watch, I feel that 40mm and below is the perfect size but this didn’t feel overpowering on the wrist thankfully.
The dial is covered by an AR-coated piece of double domed sapphire crystal which is always nice to see on micro brands and especially the those new to Kickstarter. The dial itself is an uncommon two-tiered enamel dial, the enamel process requires a glaze to be painted onto the surface of the dial, the dial is then fired at 800 degrees celsius, the painting and firing process is then repeated until the enamel is perfectly even. The dial is then polished to achieve a smooth surface.
Enamel gives the dial an extremely rich colour and feel to it, having an incredible depth to it, just like the ocean, part of the inspiration behind the watch. As well as this white model I also had a deep black dial variant to play with and the incredible depth of the enamel dial is clear to see on both models.
The dial itself is incredibly uncluttered, almost indicative of Bauhaus design, featuring 5 stainless steel indices that have been hand placed on the upper tier and 3 assegai stainless steel hands that have a distinctly classy feel to them. The lower tier of the dial features the company name at the 12 o’clock position and ‘Sennen Automatic’ at the 6 o’clock position. The uncluttered nature of the dial means reading the time is extremely easy and means you can stare longingly into the depth of the Sennen.
The movement inside this watch is a new one for me; the Swiss made STP 1-11, an alternative to the increasingly rare and hard to get ETA 2824-2, the movement itself has been modified to remove the date position so the crown only has two positions. It is a 26 jewelled movement that has a very nice power reserve of 44 hours and it beats away at 28,800 vibrations per hour. It has stated tolerances of around +-15 seconds per day and features a hacking seconds hand for precise timekeeping, I found the Sennen to fall within these parameters and I had no issue with timekeeping. This movement, whilst not incredibly pretty is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback and is accompanied by a ‘Firle’ signed rotor, a nice touch. Like I said before, the movement is not incredibly pretty but it’s always something I like on a watch, a see-through case back, just a personal preference.
This model came with a beautiful vintage cowhide leather strap that was a gorgeous shade of blue and features quick release spring bars that are 22mm in width. The strap was wonderfully supple on the wrist and didn’t need any breaking-in period as some straps do. It’s nice to see a micro brand focusing on the strap as much as the watch itself. The stainless steel buckle is signed by Firle and completed the whole package nicely.
All Kickstarter pieces come with a choice of either a Genuine calf leather croc strap or plain calf leather strap – respective colours based on the watch model/colourway you have chosen.
Another note, unlike many Kickstarter campaigns, there is already 500 Sennen Automatics in stock ready to ship – so there is no 6-month wait and the planned launch date is late this month.