A work of art for less than you think.
RAYMOND WEIL is one of those rare beasts of the luxury watch world: an independent brand.
It’s surprising to see how far the brand has come since its humble beginnings in 1976, too, its namesake founder initially selling his pieces from a foldout bridge table in a stall in Geneva. 45 years later, the brand has secured its name as one of the most successful watch brands in Switzerland, while remaining family-owned.
RAYMOND WEIL’s vision from the start was to make the highest-quality Swiss watches possible, at the most competitive price point possible. ‘Affordable luxury’ is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days but there’s no watch brand that better encompasses that than RAYMOND WEIL.
But RAYMOND WEIL’s latest watch also proves there’s another term that ought to be attached to the brand – exciting. Because that’s precisely what the new Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton (ref. 2785-BKR-20000) is.
Skeletonised movements are one of the hallmarks of haute horlogerie. Visually dramatic and weight-saving, they require an enormous degree of precision manufacturing to pull off.
RW has experimented with skeletonised movements before but this new model is unique in that it uses an in-house movement – indeed, it’s RW’s very first in-house movement, a landmark for the brand.
“[The] Calibre RW1212 is a tribute to the present and a symbol of the future,” RAYMOND WEIL CEO Elie Bernheim relates.
“The collection name picks up the digits of our address here in Switzerland: 1212, standing for the Geneva suburb Grand-Lancy. It symbolizes the path we have travelled to date and the free-spirited approach we bring to watchmaking.”
Unsurprisingly, the Calibre RW1212’s eponymous movement is the main attraction, framed by its masculine 42mm black PVD-coated stainless steel case. The movement’s fine engine-turned machining provides visual flair and provides an artistic counterpoint to the highly legible tachymeter scale that adorns its outer perimeter.
One mistake many skeletonised or transparent watches make is that the movement they so proudly display is ironically not that pretty nor decorated. That’s not a problem with the Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton, whose perfectly proportioned movement looks stunning.
Despite its elegant yet sporty appearance, the watch is rather practical for day-to-day use, too. Water-resistant to 100m, self-winding with a power reserve of 38 hours, sapphire crystal with dual-sided anti-glare treatment, an ultra-comfortable stitched rubber strap… It’s an eminently wearable watch and even fits comfortably under a shirt cuff.
Oh, and it’s only $4,795 AUD.
We can’t think of another skeletonised men’s watch on the market that offers such precision and quality for such a price. You could tack another zero (or two) onto the end of its price tag and most watch fans wouldn’t bat an eyelid, especially if it had a Patek Philippe or Roger Dubuis logo on its dial.
Simply put, the Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton is a triumph of Swiss watchmaking, and represents a bold new chapter in the history of the RAYMOND WEIL brand.