Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds: Such A Good Daily-Wear Watch, You May Not Realize It Was Designed With Women In Mind
by Martin Green
The basic development methodology of many, if not most, ladies’ watches is SAJAD (Shrink And Just Add Diamonds), in which a men’s watch is given a smaller case and sprinkled with diamonds. Sometimes a brand goes “the extra mile” by adding a mother-of-pearl dial.
This is the gist of how many women’s watches seem to be made. To some extent it works as these watches sell — because there are few alternatives. Watches purposefully designed from the start with women in mind tend to be both rarer and a cut above.
Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds: so good it hurts
Firstly though, try and forget the word “Fiji” in the name as it is bound to put images in your head of the most beautiful tropical islands. Schwarz Etienne doesn’t need that association for the Fiji Floral Seconds, and it’s hard to find much in the watch’s design to merit the “Fiji” moniker.
I’ve been criticized in the past for being too positive about the watches I write about, and it’s true that I’m usually positive, but that is because I have the luxury of picking my own topics to write about and I don’t enjoy wasting time on things I don’t like.
That said, the Fiji Floral Seconds is one of the best watches for women that I have seen in recent years.
With a case diameter of 38 mm, the Fiji Floral Seconds highlights the fact that that Schwarz Etienne understands that many women prefer to wear a largish, but not oversized, watch. And a height under 11 mm ensures comfort on the wrist.
But it is not only the dimensions of the case that make the Fiji Floral Seconds so good, it is also how it is constructed. While the case may seem a bit plain head on, it is far from that. The lugs and the back of the three-part case are connected via a grooved mid-section that flares out. This subtle detail adds a ton of character to the watch without competing with the dial for attention.
Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds: only one diamond
The same goes for the crown, which is interesting and decorative without being overdone. And it is here we also find the only diamond set into the serial models: a brilliant-cut gem embedded in the crown.
All of these elements set the stage for that stunning dial with its teardrop-shaped applied hour markers, which Schwarz Etienne serially offers in either black or salmon-pink. The latter color is in my opinion the more expressive of the two, perhaps because the salmon is matched with blue details and hands.
Both multilevel dials have the same features, including a central flower motif that is complemented by a kaleidoscopic animation at 6 o’clock that is the running seconds display.
Here Schwarz Etienne cut a decorative pattern into the subdial behind which another, different-colored disk makes revolutions. While it can hardly count the seconds in a legible manner, it does provide the information that the watch is running (much like the running seconds on a chronograph dial) and adds a playful touch to the watch.
Useful leather bag packaging
Talking about playful, Schwarz Etienne also opted to forgo traditional watch packaging; instead, the company joined forces with Noleti, a Swiss brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds that makes refined, elegant bags.
The handbag/packaging that comes with the Fiji Floral Seconds is crafted from supple grained leather and adorned with the Schwarz Etienne logo. The watch comes in a leather pouch found inside the handbag made from the same leather.
This is quite frankly a much nicer and more useful option than a box that ends up in a closet.
Schwarz Etienne also offers the Fiji Floral Seconds with a quick-strap change system and delivers the watch with two straps so that the new owner can begin wardrobing right away. For the black-dialed version, the brand chose a beautifully contrasting ruby-red strap in addition to a black stingray strap.
The Fiji Floral Seconds with the salmon dial comes with light blue and brown calfskin straps.
Join the movement: Schwarz Etienne Caliber ASE 200.00
Caliber ASE 200.00 is a robust and reliable automatic micro-rotor movement offering an impressive power reserve of 86 hours and, at a height of 5.35 mm it is neither too slim (fragile) nor bulky (inelegant).
Reliability seems like a no-brainer, but it is a requirement that not all movements meet. The finishing is quite high level, with circular graining on the main plate and snailing with a sunray effect on the bridges. Again, all with restraint and elegance.
Perhaps that is also what makes the Fiji Floral Seconds such a good watch: it exudes a modesty that amplifies its qualities. It is a thought-through creation in which no detail is left to chance.
The Fiji Floral Seconds doesn’t owe its appeal to a lavish use of gemstones (non-serial gem-set models excluded) and it also doesn’t take after one of Schwarz Etienne’s men’s watches. It is a creation made especially with women in mind, one that is as serious as it is playful, with a manufacture movement and kaleidoscopic seconds indicator.
It is certainly too soon to apply the term benchmark to the Fiji Floral Seconds as I feel that a new watch has to prove itself over time, but the Fiji Floral Seconds can well serve as an inspirational example for other brands of how a high-end daily-wear ladies watch could look.
For more information, please visit www.schwarz-etienne.ch/en/collections/fiji.
Quick Facts Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds
Case: 38 mm x 10.76 mm, stainless steel, VS 0.02 ct brilliant-cut diamond set in the crown
Movement: automatic micro rotor Caliber ASE 200.00, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, 86-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, running seconds animation
Price: 7,150 Swiss francs (excluding taxes)