On the wrist, the Barnato really comes to life, and you can see how well the proportions are considered. The case has just the right amount of presence at 39.5 to be a solid day-to-day casual watch, while the 45mm lug to lug keeps it comfortably on top of the wrist. This is true on my 7” wrist, and would be true on smaller wrists as well. And it just looks so good. The subtle use of color gives it a lot of style, while not seeming garish or silly. Meanwhile the smooth flowing case catches the light beautifully and the tall box crystal adds a vintage vibe. It’s a very versatile design too, working great with everyday casual clothes, while looking a bit more fun and daring with more formal attire.
For a new brand, Farer has got a lot right with the Barnato. It’s still very much in the vocabulary of what “watch people” will accept, but looks and feels more fashionable than what most brands produce. Sometimes we get watches in for review, and while I like them, I don’t feel overly compelled to wear them all the time… the Barnato has been on my wrist very regularly since it arrived. It looks good, it’s comfortable and it’s simply fun to wear.
So, as far as design and aesthetic go, they nailed it. Of course, their is a downside and that’s the price for a quartz watch with a mineral crystal. Coming in at around $440, it’s just a bit of hard pill to swallow. At this point, I’m willing to accept a $4-500 quartz watches, when everything else is beyond reproach. Heck, a lot of major Swiss brands (and Shinola) charge a lot more for quartz watches with not even half the style of the Barnato. So, the mineral crystal just feels out of place. With that said, minerals aren’t actually bad, it’s really a perception thing.
The other side of it, is how much extra is being added on for the Barnato to be Swiss made? Do we really care about that anymore? Especially on a watch at this price point? For the public at large, the answer is probably “yes, Swiss is good”, but for watch fans, it’s pretty irrelevant around $500 as Asian made watches are certainly as good, sometimes even better. So, had they made it in Asia and the price been $250 – $300, would it have been a less compelling watch? In the end it’s splitting hairs, and the price, while higher than I’d want, isn’t totally offensive, and the watch itself is still gorgeous. The other side of the coin, had it been a mechanical GMT and cost $1200 – 1500 (and had a sapphire) the watch would still be very compelling with all other details being the same.
In the end, it’s still a great watch that I think a lot of people will enjoy, and a fantastic first offering from the brand. A quick look at their website will show you how well considered and polished their branding and presentation are as well. This is definitely a brand that will be doing great things in the years to come.