A few days ago, Furlan Marri presented a watch made with Romaric André (founder of Seconde/Seconde) and bearing the name Hertz Beat. Marketed as part of a limited series of 200 pieces, the Hertz Beat was a great success since the entire series was sold out in a few minutes. The reality is that from the launch, several hundred people were already in the starting blocks to make the purchase. In fact, this success is not so surprising because the Hertz Beat symbolizes one of the trends in contemporary watchmaking which consists of making exclusivity and creativity accessible.
Talking about accessible exclusivity seems to be an oxymoron. The Hertz Beat was the subject of a small series and Furlan Marri confirms on his site that this reference will never be reproduced again. However, its price was reasonable (CHF 720 excluding taxes). Here I touch on one of the current paradoxes of the watch industry. True exclusivity in the sense of rarity is found more in these small brands (without the term “small” being pejorative) which offer true limited series which are distinguished by original details than in large brands for which exclusivity is more the result of a gap between supply and demand while the volume of parts produced remains significant.
In addition, the Hertz Beat offers more creativity than a brand that would only offer a single change of dial color (which is the vast majority of limited series that we can see here and there). Thanks to Second/Second, the replacement of the minute counter hand with a very pretty pixelated heart (thus making a complete revolution in one hour when the chronograph is running) brings a touch of originality and fun to a watch of classical inspiration. The contrast between the rendering of the minute counter and the rest of the dial is interesting from an aesthetic point of view, a bit as if the world of classic watches from the 1950s met that of video games from the 1980s.
Furthermore, the Hertz Beat is not ashamed of its mecha-quartz movement. Furlan Marri’s meca-quartz chronographs take advantage of this type of mechanism because when the chronograph is started, it is the mechanical part of the movement that is expressed. In this case, the behavior of the central chronograph seconds hand is identical to that of a 100% mechanical chronograph. And as in the case of the Hertz Beat, the permanent second hand is removed, at no time does a visual link exist with the quartz part of the movement. It is obvious that the Seiko VK64 caliber is not the most glamorous caliber in the industry but it is reliable and efficient and as it is intelligently integrated, it meets customer expectations. And then, the great asset of Furlan Marri watches remains the care given to the details of the exterior. The work on the case and the finish of the dial are of an excellent level for the prices charged and visually the watches have an impeccable perceived quality. The neo-retro inspiration is of course clearly stated with traditional dimensions (diameter of 38mm for a thickness of 11.3mm) and an obviously pulsometric scale graduated for 15 pulsations.
Finally, younger brands like Furlan Marri have an ability to handle derision that more established brands do not have. The message is more relaxed and this is particularly felt with the Hertz Beat because not only does Furlan Marri insist on the presence of a quartz mechanism but also takes the opportunity to deliver the watch in a red first aid kit which includes several bracelets and which is decorated with the inscription: “Jumpstart the love for quartz watches”. Yes, quartz watches also have a beating heart and Furlan Marri reminds us of this.
Thanks to the Hertz Beat, Furlan Marri and Seconde/Seconde have managed to combine several factors which allow watchmaking to maintain a link with a young clientele and/or who do not have access for different reasons (price, availability, etc.). ..) to the iconic models of Swiss watchmaking. The Hertz Beat is therefore an excellent demonstration that it is possible to combine creativity, exclusivity, humor, derision and careful finishes while maintaining a reasonable price, located below 1,000 euros all taxes included. In the same way as in our societies, the gaps are widening in watchmaking offers and we are increasingly observing a W-shaped or even V-shaped structure in the prices charged. Fortunately, brands like Furlan Marri (or like Baltic and a few others) exist to continue to attract a clientele who feel excluded from a whole section of the industry. They do important work because they help to get young people interested in watchmaking, which is crucial: the big challenge that the watchmaking sector will very quickly face will be that of customer renewal.