SEVENFRIDAY is an intriguing brand with an unusual take on horology. The first collection, dubbed the P-series, caught the horological world by storm with its rounded-square case and complicated-looking dial – and at an affordable price point of around US$1,000. This had cemented SEVENFRIDAY’s position in the horological scene.
Despite finding unparalleled success with the P-series, SEVENFRIDAY had found it harder to replicate the same roaring outcome with the subsequent series, namely the M- and V-series. The P-series was indeed an extremely outstanding piece, and they have indeed set the bar on a whole new level altogether.
This is the reason why we were genuinely intrigued when we found out that SEVENFRIDAY had launched an all-new timepiece with an intriguing case, in the form of the Free-D. For the author, finding out about the existence of the Free-D was similar to the first time he had caught wind of the P-series in 2013, while he was randomly surfing watch forums while he was waiting for his dinner. But the main question lies: Does the Free-D live up to our highly-held expectations of it?
The SEVENFRIDAY Free-D is priced at US$3,800 (approximately S$5,297), and it is limited to a production of 50 pieces. We understand that all 50 pieces have been accounted for by collectors.
The Free-D was produced earlier in March this year, to commemorate the brand’s 10th anniversary. This is done in style too, with an outrageous 3-D printed case that looks unlike anything that we have seen. We definitely love the brand’s approach in this case, as they could have simply leveraged on their existing watches and carry out minor tweaks to celebrate the occasion.
The main highlight for this timepiece is undoubtedly the case, which is rather futuristic and contemporary. It is a large watch with a great wrist presence, but it is also equally polarising between collectors as well. This watch is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, although we do expect a steady stream of interest from many collectors and enthusiasts alike for the watch’s eye-catching aesthetic.
One thing is for sure: This piece, even without the pomp and large publicity, has garnered quite a fair share of attention over the last couple of months. Maybe this is the brand’s new strategy, or a way to gauge the public’s interest before deciding if 3D printing is the way to go. Either way, this is an interesting watch, and SEVENFRIDAY has probably managed to break the code once again.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The new 52.8mm SEVENFRIDAY Free-D is a bold watch, featuring a 3D printed external shell that is incorporated with the brand’s signature rounded square case.
The 3D printed external shell is produced from PA11, a sustainable castor-based polyamide. The product was digitally manufactured using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology in conjunction with dyeing RAL (an advanced dyeing technology, specially developed, in Munich). The end result is a rather coarse looking external case, which actually makes it rather fascinating to touch.
Internally, the Free-D is fitted with SEVENFRIDAY’s signature rounded square case. The internal case is made of titanium, with a domed sapphire crystal that completes the look.
Next, we have the dial and hands. The watch is fitted with three rotating discs, similar to the M-series. The time-telling component is rather intuitive, with each of the three discs – aided by a triangular motif – telling the hour, minute, and seconds respectively.
The dial also features some 3D printed elements as well, which fill up the negative spaces internally. The inclusion helps to reinforce the concept of using 3D printed components, but more importantly, it also shows singularity between the internal and external case. The latter is important, as it might otherwise appear as though the 3D printed external case is an afterthought, and that will definitely not sit well with many collectors.
Overall, the Free-D is indeed a bold and stylish piece. The watch is imposing, and it looks ultra-modern and striking as well. We love the design concept, and how the brand has managed to stand out by incorporating 3D printing into its timepieces.
It is also noteworthy to point out that despite its massive size, the combination of using polyamide and titanium meant that the watch is rather light. This – together with the relatively short lugs – translates to the fact that it is very comfortable on the wrist. Granted, the watch might not work for anyone with a relatively smaller wrist, but for the author (whose wrist measures at 6.5 inches in circumference), the Free-D oddly works rather well for him throughout the couple of weeks that he had spent with the timepiece.
The Movement: Sellita SW300-1
Powering the Free-D is the Sellita SW300-1 movement. The self-winding movement should not be unfamiliar to our readers, as it is the movement of choice for many fledgling and entry-level brands. The movement boasts a power reserve of around 42 hours, and it beats at 28,800 bph. We cannot ascertain the level of finishing, partially because the caseback is blocked by the external 3D printed shell. Nonetheless, we do not expect anything beyond the industrial-grade finishing as seen in most typical Sellita-based movements.
On the note, it is also noted that SEVENFRIDAY had opted the use of Sellita movement for this timepiece, instead of the usual Miyota movements that is present in other SEVENFRIDAY watches. The use of a Swiss movement definitely elevates the timepiece, although it is only effective to a certain extent. Nonetheless, thankfully for the Free-D, the main highlight lies in the overall aesthetics of the case, and hence the movement is not exactly the focal point as of now.
The Competitive Landscape
The SEVENFRIDAY Free-D is a statement piece. It is bold, loud, and outrageous – no questions about it. And it is unabashedly different. For the couple of weeks that we have had the watch, people have often thought that the Free-D is made by an independent watchmaker with a price tag of a princely five-figure sum.
In terms of competition, there is no watch that is a direct competition to the Free-D. However, there are still some watches that we reckon offer some similarities to this SEVENFRIDAY.
The first piece on the list is the magnificent Liminality by Holthinrichs Watches (photo above courtesy of Holthinrichs Watches). This is one of the very few brands that also features a 3D printed case, and Holthinrichs recently introduced some form of refinement especially with its new HW-LIM movement. This includes handmade rough textures bursting from the balance wheel, heated blued screws, and black polishing on the crown wheel core. The watch is priced at €7800 (approximately S$11,328), and this is definitely an interesting option for someone who is looking for a highly unusual option from the independent watchmaking scene.
Next, for a bold watch with a great wrist presence, we have the Azimuth Twin Turbo. Azimuth is an interesting brand, with its roots traced back to 2003. Known for its intriguing designs, the Twin Turbo is a timepiece that exemplifies the brand’s ethos in creating visually-arresting and unconventional watches. Paying homage to the sexy silhouette of the 60s vintage racing cars, the watch is also fitted with a vintage caliber – in the form of the ETA 2512-2. The watch is priced at S$8,100, and they are all limited to a production of 88 pieces for each of the three variants (except the Crimson Red version, which is limited to a production run of only 50 pieces).
Lastly, we have the 44mm Fastback GT Drift “Elise”. Notably, this conspicuous timepiece features a bold colour scheme, as well as an elusive “wandering hours” mechanism. The latter is achieved through the modification of an ETA 2824-2 movement, which is certainly remarkable. The Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise” is limited to a production of 350 pieces, and this special model has a case that is made up of four different materials: Ceramic, aluminum, titanium and carbon fibre. It is priced at S$5,088, which we thought offers a compelling proposition for someone who wants to be different from the crowd.
As we have mentioned earlier, the SEVENFRIDAY Free-D is a statement piece. It is not just the owner who is making a statement, but more importantly, SEVENFRIDAY as well. The Free-D is evidence that SEVENFRIDAY is not just a one-trick pony, and they are capable of moving away from their success with the original P-series.
We do hope that the Free-D had laid the fundamentals for SEVENFRIDAY, and allow the brand to challenge the norms and create timepieces that are as mind-blowing as the original SEVENFRIDAY timepiece. 3D printing, especially in the watch industry, is still at an infancy stage, and there is still so much more for the players to explore. SEVENFRIDAY can certainly take advantage of their knowledge here.
We know what the brand is capable of, and we do want to see SEVENFRIDAY achieving that sort of roaring success once again. Perhaps, the Free-D might just be the start of something new – the saviour that will free them from the burden of its past success.