Sharon Tan reviews her own Habring² Foudroyante Felix in Salmon after owning and living with the watch for some time. Here are her candid thoughts on it, supplemented by our original review of the date version in 2018.
Habring² makes technically wonderful watches with careful and meticulous finishing, and is not exorbitantly priced. In fact, we have often touted their watches as having great value for money.
We published an in-depth hands-on review of the Foudroyante Felix Date.
Review: Habring² Foudroyante Felix in Salmon
Habring² recently released a salmon dial variant of the Foudroyant Felix (FF), a decision I suspect was initiated, or influenced to some extent, by yours truly.
The watch itself is exciting, but is still largely similar to the Foudroyante Felix Date we reviewed in 2018. This time, we get to review the purchasing experience if you order directly from Habring².
Deciding on the Watch
Sincere used to be an authorized dealer for Habring² but that has ceased around 2016. I felt that Habring² was underappreciated in Singapore, and the lack of an authorized dealer could be the main reason. Without a brick-and-mortar store, I was not able to try the watch which is usually a showstopper for me. Luckily, there was sufficient information on the internet for me to gauge how the watch might wear. I contacted Habring² directly by email when I decided on a FF in Salmon for three reasons: the intriguing movement, the smaller case size (compared to the date) and the feminine dial colour.
Maria managed most of the communication, and she was very responsive and helpful. At that time, the FF was only available in silver dial and black dial. The salmon dial was only available on the Felix and Maria asked me if I would consider getting the Felix. I told her that I would not want anything less, and that I was willing to pay a premium for a customized dial. Maria said that it was possible, but with a long waiting time of six months as they were finishing up the production of the black dial FFs.
Honestly, that seemed like a rather short wait compared to some brands who are telling their customers to wait for a few years. I took up the offer, committed a deposit and started to wait patiently.
Salmon Dial in Production
A few months in, Maria emailed that the salmon dial looked wonderful on the FF, and they went ahead to produce a batch of salmon dials for the next production series of FF. I would like to think that my custom request initiated that decision and Habring² can now offer beautiful Salmon Foudroyante Felixes to everyone! Another month or so later, Richard dropped me an email to ask about the preference for the colour of the second hand. Evidently, I chose black second hands to match the fast-paced foudroyante hands. If you want to know, the other option Richard gave was silver. Again, I give myself credit in tilting Habring²’s decision for the serial production to have black second hand.
When the watch came, the whole package was more than expected. The watch came in a simple scandinavian style wooden box. There was no synthetic leather waiting to peel off, and no velvet lining waiting for mold (Singapore is a humid place). In the box, the watch is neatly placed into a shaped removable tray. It was stuffed with wrapping tissue paper upon delivery which in my opinion, it is a very practical way of cushioning the watch.
Under the tray were a few compartments with complimentary spare parts. The spare parts included were gaskets, crown, spring bars and a set of hands (packed into a glass tube) so that simple servicing could be done by local watchmakers without having to send the watch half way round the globe. I have not gotten any other watch that came with this many spare parts. The usual suspects would be spare straps, a spring bar tool, a pusher and perhaps a moon phase calendar or tide table for watches with relevant complications. More often than not, the box only contains the watch and a warranty and/ or authenticity card.
Case, Dial and Hands
At 38.5mm, I would consider this an oversized casual watch for small wrists but as a dress watch for most men. The case design is pretty much identical to the Felix- simple, fuss-free, easy to wear. The salmon dial was already offered on the Felix and FF-Date prior to being available on the FF. Besides salmon, the Felix also sported blue and green dials with a brushed finish, similar to this. I personally perceive the introduction of bright-coloured dials as an invitation for more ladies to explore, experience and appreciate fine mechanical watches.
The dial layout is very similar to the Felix, except for the subdial. From afar, they would look the same. But up close, the furious ticking of the foudroyante hand would identify the watch.
The colour of the foudroyante and jumping second hands are different from the Felix, and closer to the FF-Date colour scheme. I think this colour scheme highlights the features of this watch very well. The markers are mirror finished, which makes them very interesting (or frustrating) to photograph. It is highly reflective and sometimes bounces back the colour of the surroundings.
Movement: Habring² A11F
The ingenuity of pushing the foudroyante hands to be almost directly driven by the balance wheel is great. Most watches feature a foudroyante hand as a more precise measurement on a chronograph movement- to be activated only when the chronograph is running. This is because the fast foudroyante hand uses up too much energy and affects the power reserve. In the A11F (and A11FD for the date), the foudroyante is running all the time, yet boasts an impressive 45 hour power reserve.
It is a manual wound movement, which I enjoy as it allows for thinner movement, and looks great through the case back. The movement is neatly designed and well finished, but lacking the sexy curves and decorative finishings of high end watches. However, at this price point, it is really difficult to beat and expect anything more.
The Foudroyante line comes in five different variants, each with about 3 dial colours. The RRPs are listed below.
Foudroyante-Felix Date (auto) 42 mm A11FD € 7.350,00
Foudroyante-Felix Date (manual) 42 mm A11MFD € 7.050,00
Foudroyante (auto) 42 mm A11F € 6.850,00
Foudroyante (manual) 42 mm A11MF € 6.550,00
Foudroyante-Felix (manual) 38,5 mm A11MF € 6.550,00
For the time being, Habring² does not have retailers in all major cities, especially in Asia. For those who are struggling to find a retailer, do consider dropping them an email directly ([email protected]) to find out more.
In our older review, we have compared it to Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre and I would think that continues to be the only similar comparison for a running foudroyante complication. If we look at jumping seconds, or deadbeat seconds, complication on it’s own, we could consider Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Geophysic True Second, which is used to retail at about USD9,050 for the steel variant.
Habring² is an intimate, down-to-earth independent couple watch brand. We are a big fan of theirs, and have raved about their products on Deployant, and now we know that their customer service is top notch. In the recent environment of brands aggressively inflating their retail prices, Habring²’s modest pricing is almost hard to believe.
It may be argued that a foudroyante and jumping second complications are functionally useless, but there’s no arguing that they are very cool complications. And hence, would recommend this Foudroyante Felix in salmon dial without hesitation to all our readers.
The Habring² Foudroyante Felix in Salmon was photographed in our studio with the Leica SL2-S and the APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 mm f/2.8 ASPH. Profoto strobes. The watch in its delivery box was photographed with the Fujifilm GFX 50S with GF50mmF3.5 R LM WR, under available light.