The watches of SevenFriday caught our eyes early on and we decided to feature them in our guide to the top ten Swiss/German mechanical watches under $1000, even though the watches aren't made in Switzerland or Germany (although the company is based in Zurich). That's how much we liked the watches. And finally, just on a year later, we were able to get our dirt mitts on these beauties and finally confirm that yes they do look as good as they did on screen. Better, in fact.
This is a great case study in how to increase brand recognition with zero or near-zero marketing budget. Have a search for SevenFriday on Instagram and you'll know what I mean. It has a massive cult (oxymoron?) following and it does help that the watch design is very distinctive and lends itself well to photos. And although the watch runs a humble miyota movement, the watches speaks to an extremely broad audience, including high rollers who frequently showcase their SevenFridays on Instagram alongside watches easily ten times the price.
The growth and popularity of the brand took everyone by surprise. Even the people that created the brand. (Although I'm sure they had some inkling that they were onto a good thing, as the internet tells us the people behind the brand have plenty of experience in the watch industry.) So I think it's more the speed of the growth, given the brand only came about in May 2012. And they did it without throwing money at it. I really cannot emphasise this point enough!
Now onto the watch. The whole design philosophy is industrial. So the watch looks industrial, the case is an industrial packing crate, but the finishing of the watch is anything but industrial. Pick up the watch and you immediate notice the sort of heft usually associated with a Panerai and the matte/polished finish of the case is superb, easily comparible to the Swiss cases at higher price brackets. I did find it a little difficult to tell the time but no doubt that will come with familiarity. It's a big watch, but due to the lack of lugs (straps attached directly to the case) it wears smaller, meaning more people can pull it off. In fact, on the wrist it feels like a 44mm watch as opposed to the actual 47mm.
One thing I found disappointing is the quality of the straps, which looked and felt cheap. However, this is not a big issue, as you can now find custom made straps just for the SevenFriday! This goes to show how popular the brand has become. You know you've made it when someone makes custom straps to fit your watch!
No thanks to the exchange rate, they're now priced from $1195 for the P1/1 in Aussie Dollars (just above if you claim your tax back), but they're still a bargain and the fact that you can pick one up here locally makes it that much more desirable. The watch comes in a variety of finishing and colours, but my personal favourite is still the original P1 model. Mated to a dark brown distressed thick calf strap and it'll be perfect.
At the time of the quick viewing SevenFriday were looking to start distribution in Australia, and they are now in stores! Check out Gregory Jewellers to see where you can get your hands on one of these.