Furlan Marri Nero Sabbia

Furlan Marri has very quickly made a name for themselves with watch collectors – the very same ones who doom-scroll through eBay and C24 every night, searching for Patek Philippe Tasti Tondis and imagining what life would be like with an example on their wrists.  To put it mildly, Messrs Furlan and Al-Marri know their niche.  TBC is looking at one of the three chronographs in their Permanent Collection, the Nero Sabbia.

Photography by Ronald Chew

by Terence Tee

  • September 5, 2023

By now, you should know the microbrand Kickstarter script – Brand X will disrupt the watch industry with its new offering, expertly curated from Chinese factory catalogues.  With the benefit of hindsight, very very few of such brands have actually achieved that lofty goal.  Furlan Marri is one of those brands.  Its early releases were snapped up faster than you can say “Kickstarter campaign 1451% over initial funding goal.”  Have we mentioned that those releases are (gasp!) meca-quartz?  Watch snobs are watch snobs, until they see something executed to perfection. Suddenly, precious doctrines about movement, brand history and pedigree are conveniently set aside.

It has to be said that there are not too many small watch brands that are brave enough to bring out truly new designs; most project teams know the distinction between what collectors want and what they will actually pay for, and thusly proceed to make their take on the Submariner.  What happens next, invariably, is that the watch community torches the design as unimaginative, derivative, completely unpalatable.  A sliver of support will push better projects past the funding goals.  The rest, relegated to the history books that no one ever picks up.

And then, there’s Furlan Marri, with its focus on dress watches from the middle of last century.  What sets them apart is that this team has that preternatural knack in just nailing the design and the aesthetics in every single one of their designs; in fact, the familiar refrain you hear from Furlan Marri converts is: “I don’t normally buy dress watches but this looks nice.”

The cases of the new watches are all identical to the original collection, sharing the same 38mm diameter with sweeping curves and thin lugs that gives Mr Grey that overt retro vibe.  Design-wise, the dial work is not that big a departure from the original collection that earned the brand the 2021 GPHG Horological Revelation Prize.  Furlan Marri has opted to continue referencing mid-century horology, and makes insightful design decisions on both the mechanical and meca-quartz lines.

The Nero Sabbia is arguably the most stylistically adventurous out of the meca-quartz Permanent Collection trio.  It does away with the 24-hour subdial, leaving the Art Deco-esque dial asymmetrical.  The desaturated yellow (Editor: off-gilt?) accents and font complement the dark (Editor: off-black?) dial, greatly elevating the watch’s perceived quality.  Powering the Nero Sabbia is the familiar Seiko VK64 mechanical quartz movement, which allows the brand to manage commercial considerations while appeasing purists with a sweeping second hand and mechanical chronograph functionalities.

It speaks volumes about the team’s savviness in offering a permanent collection that does away with the predatory FOMO mechanics of time-limited drops we have come to see and expect from small independent brands.  Who knows, maybe other brands of similar capacity might want to take a leaf out of Furlan Marri’s playbook?

Specifications

BrandFurlan Marri
ModelNero Sabbia
Reference1072-A
Case MaterialStainless steel
Case Diameter38mm
Case Height12mm
Lug-to-Lug46mm
Water Resistance5 ATM / 50 metres
MovementSeiko VK64 (mechanical quartz with mechanical module)
ProductionRegular
WearsTrue to size

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