Fashion brand Fendi is more familiar for its furs and leather accessories than its watches. Selleria (which means saddlery) is a name that dates back to the 1930s when it was introduced for bags. The brand’s Selleria watches are more recent, and Fendi have given their timepieces some features that set them apart from the competition, principally an original strap-changing feature. Selleria watches are supplied with several straps, each with its own lugs that can be fixed onto the case with a bayonet system. Scroll down to see a demonstration.
The case is 42 mm in diameter, and it has an unusual shape, part cushion, part octagonal, providing a frame for the circular geometry of the bezel and dial. The caseback is also distinctive with its heavily serrated edge. This has a practical function because it its rotation locks and unlocks the strap with its lugs. The three straps are finely crafted, and all have prominent stitching at the side. This is an important part of the watch’s DNA, and it determines the design of the dial. Water resistance is 50 metres.
The design of the Roman numerals – appropriate for a company founded in Rome – is based on stitches. In this piece it’s interesting how they project over the circular translucent window that reveals the date ring. The “stitch” hour marker at 4 o’clock also acts as an hour marker. Hour and minute hands share the same sort of inspiration with their SuperLuminova tips and eye-of-the-needle skeletonization.
The self-winding movement is probably an ETA 2824, Sellita SW200 or STP 1-11. It runs at 4 Hertz and provides 38-42 hours power reserve. Finish is basic, but the rotor is decorated with a pattern based on interlocking F’s, and the brand name.
The new men’s Selleria watch comes in two versions, one with a carbon dial, and one with a gold-plated bezel and crown. The reference FOW411SCGF0QT6 (shown in the illustrations above) has a case in black PVD-coated steel, with bezel and crown coated in 18-carat rose gold. The three straps are in brown alligator, in black Fendi Cuoio Romano, and in black calfskin with a carbon motif. Price €2,800. The other reference with carbon motif on the dial is possibly reference F820011111 and it costs €2,900. The dial of this piece is given extra character by the fluo green 4 o’clock date marker which matches the coating at the tip of the seconds hand. Read more (and purchase) on the Fendi website.
Fashion-brand watches are an interesting category because of the different market forces that apply. On one hand, a fashion brand such as Fendi already has its own massive visibility, and a ready-made distribution structure. On the other hand, they have to find something that sets them apart and convinces the consumer that it’s worth buying a fashion-brand watch rather than a timepiece by a specialist watch brand. Success or failure depends on how seriously you do it. Hermès (to take one example) build their own movements, and create profoundly original watches. Burberry introduced a range of watches in a collaboration with Fossil but after a few years decided to abandon the watchmaking scene. Fendi are concentrating more on the aesthetics of the watch, and their strap-changing system is without doubt something unique and well-engineered. Their creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi is closely involved in the design process. I look forward to seeing them again at Baselworld 2018.