Favre Leuba Sky Chief
The Favre Leuba Sky Chief is another model from the recently revived brand. A few months ago I reviewed the Raider Deep Blue, a dive watch from Favre, this time we take a look at a more casual/dress piece, the Sky Chief. When I hear the name Sky Chief I immediately think of a pilot style watch, though this model looks nothing like any pilot watch I have ever seen. From the website: “I am minimalistic. Yet magnetic. I dominate the game with unmistakable and timeless aesthetics. With different layers and facets. I am a statement on your wrist. I am the Sky Chief Date by Favre-Leuba”. That does not really give me a better understanding of what this watch really is, but one thing I know, it is very well made with a gorgeous sunryay dial and one hell of a premium leather strap.
Favre Leuba Sky Chief Spefications:
- 43mm wide case
- 50mm lug to lug
- 22mm lug width
- 12.5mm thick
- Sapphire Crystal
- ETA 2824 Automatic Movement
- 100 Meters Water Resistant
- Brown Leather Strap
Retail Price: $2150 USD
While I do not know whether to classify this as a dress watch, dress sport, or just an all around deal, one thing is for sure, the Favre Leuba Sky Chief is pure class. It is never my intention to sell a watch, that is for the company to do. I state my opinion and give the facts as I know them. This would be a dress watch for me, though I would put it on more of an upscale strap, say an alligator or crocodile. At 43mm, I know most would not want to wear this as a dress watch, as the purists in the watch world believe a true dress watch should not be over 40mm. All well and good. This is a style of watch that while I find very attractive, would not be on my wrist daily. I am more of a dive/field style watch, as that is just what I gravitate towards. I can not deny how beautiful this watch is though, and how well made it is.
As you can see in the photos, the case is comprised of brushed and polished finishes and has a similar case design to the rest of the Favre Leuba line up. They all share similar DNA, though this model is more rounded than the divers and other models they have. The screw down crown is similar as well and has the same logo on top. The logo is somewhat simple and understated and as it should be; the Favre Leuba Sky Chief is not over branded at all, as a matter of fact, the model name is not printed on the dial at all. What is present on the dial is the date window at the 6, my favorite spot for a date. It is unobtrusive and does not screw up the symmetry of the markers or look like a wart on the dial in a weird out of place spot as so many do.
Now of course, I do not find everything to be perfect and I have one “glaring” issue with the Favre Leuba Sky Chief: The Crystal. Of course at this price, you get a sapphire crystal. I have no idea where these sapphire crystals are sourced and there are many grades of sapphire that can be had these days. I have mentioned this many times before, but it seems like the crystal is almost the last thing some companies think about when it comes to designing their watch. In this instance, the slightly domed sapphire is ultra reflective, and it takes away from seeing that beautiful dial. I do not know if a higher grade of crystal should have been used, like museum grade sapphire, or if a better AR coating is needed, but hopefully in future production of this model they upgrade it to something more suiting to a watch such as this.
Strong lume is not something to expect out of a watch such like this, and that would be the case here. To be frank, lume these days is more of a gimmick than anything, I mean if you have a cable or DVR box it has the time on it, you have a huge display in your car with the time on it, and of course your cell phone. I think we all use our lumed watches to check the time in the movie theater and that is about it. That all said, the Favre Leuba Sky Chief has better lume then I expected, but do not expect to wake up 4 hours after you went to be and be able to read the time at a glance, not going to happen.
In my opinion, when you start getting into the $2000 range of watches, details are what is important and I think overall the Favre Leuba Sky Chief has them covered. The case is well machined and finished, the case back while the same as the last model I reviewed is nicely engraved, crown action is smooth and it comes powered by the very reliable Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement. Where many brands seem to fall short is the strap and buckle supplied with watch. When you are looking at a $500 watch, you know some things are going to be straight catalog, if not all. And that is fine, because it is $500. When you get into this price range, you need to step it up. Favre Leuba did just that. A rich dark brown padded leather strap is that is lightly distressed and just exuding quality. Topping it off is a custom machined buckle, not the flimsy two cent thumbnail buckle some companies try to pawn off.
While the Favre Leuba Sky Chief would not be my first pick for a new watch, as the style is not what I look for, I understand its appeal. It is a beautiful watch that for the most part is manufactured and finished as a watch at this price should be. Other than the crystal issue I pointed out, I can not find a flaw with this watch. I know some might say it is too expensive, but it really is not. Compare it with other like watches in this category and I think it will hold up just fine. I think sometimes we say things are overpriced just because we would all want things to be cheaper, and unfortunately that is not how it works. Favre Leuba might be the second watch brand in existence in name only at this point, I think the new company is doing the name proud. I would like to see them branch out to newer case designs though at some point, though I get the appeal of making models that resemble the heritage ones of the past. Hopefully we will see some higher grade movements used going forward as well, but I think Favre Leuba is on the right track so far. Bringing a company back from the dead with so much history is no easy task, but l hope they stay around for another 100 years.