Fratello and Straum Collaborate on a Limited Edition with a Lava Red Dial

Fratello announced their latest limited edition last week, a collaboration with Straum, a Norwegian brand on the rise who made some noise a few years ago with the Opphav, a stainless steel integrated bracelet sports watch made for an affordable price with a dynamic textured dial. The new collaborative watch with Fratello is notable in that it appears to be a true collaboration, with Straum making rather significant changes to their design at Fratello’s request. This is somewhat rare in the world of collaborative watches, and in this case has resulted in a rather compelling edition with a fiery red dial and some key refinements made from the brand’s earlier watch. 

The Fratello x Straum Jan Mayen Limited Edition is named for a Norwegian island that the brand has tapped for inspiration when it comes to the striking red dial. Fratello describes it as “lava red” fumé, appropriate given Jan Mayen is home to the Beerenberg volcano. Ridges emanating from the dial’s center replicate flowing lava, and the effect is achieved via a stamping process followed by several steps of painting and surface finishing treatments. The dial text is minimal, just the brand’s logo and wordmark at 12:00, allowing the unique texture to truly take a starring role.

There are several small details beyond the new dial design that differentiate the new LE from Straum’s earlier Opphav. First, the case size has been slightly reduced, from just shy of 41mm to 39mm. At the same time, the bezel width has increased slightly, resulting in a smaller dial opening. Fratello says this helps bring focus to the red dial, but it also just looks more proportional and feels a bit more visually interesting. 

Another change is in the bracelet, specifically in the endlink design. The Opphav had the appearance of an integrated bracelet design, but actually had traditional endlinks that allowed for the use of straps. In fact, the bracelet for the Opphav was an optional add-on – the stock configuration had the watch on a leather strap. For the Jan Mayen, Straum has developed a truly integrated bracelet design in an effort to make the whole package a bit more focused. 

Additionally, this Fratello collaboration features what most would consider a movement upgrade. Where the Opphav was powered by a Sellita SW200, the Jan Mayen runs on the La Joux-Perret G101 automatic caliber. The LJP movement has a longer power reserve (70 hours) as well as other refinements like a tungsten rotor and finishing that is generally a bit more attractive than what you’d find on a stock Sellita. 

Red is a difficult color to get right for a watch dial. It’s impossible for it to be subtle, so when brands try for a subdued red, the end result can lack distinction, and be (almost literally) kind of muddy. Red dials tend to work best, in my opinion, when they lean into boldness, and that seems to be the route Fratello and Straum have gone with this release. The texture is in your face and the hue is bright and unmistakable. It’s not a watch that’s going to blend in to its surroundings, which feels like the point of the whole endeavor. Additionally, the size looks great on paper. The case height measurement is just 11.3mm, and with a lug to lug of just under 46mm and a true integrated bracelet design, this one should be right in the wheelhouse for many.

As they have with other recent collaborative releases, Fratello is taking orders for the Straum LE over the course of a one week span, committing to make as many as are ordered in that period. The window opened last week, and closes on April 20 at 4:00 PM CEST (10:00 AM on the east coast of the United States). The selling price is €1,600, which feels competitive given the movement upgrade and dial work on this release. Delivery is expected to take about six months, barring an unusually high number of orders. More information can be found at Fratello’s website here

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.