This series looks at mechanical watches which are still within reach of the normal mortal who has not enjoyed a Warren Buffett style win on the stock exchange in recent weeks. If you have up to £3,500 to spend on a watch, one brand well worth investigating is Raymond Weil, one of the last of the true independents, they don’t have to answer to the mighty Swatch Group or Richemont, they only have to answer to their customers, and they care, passionately. You might notice that all the brand names seem to revolve around music, and in particular opera. That’s because Raymond Weil is passionate about classical and lyrical music.
All their collections, past and present, have taken their inspiration from operas or classical music. I was first introduced to the brand in the early 80’s in Singapore, where a middle eastern businessman would bring Raymond Weil watches back from Dubai and then sell them around the condo swimming pool in which I was staying. Today the company is run by Olivier Bernheim, Raymond Weil’s son in law, together with his two son, Elie and Pierre, who have also developed their own brand 88 Rue de Rhone, which we have featured on Click Tempus.
Here are some of the Raymond Weil watch collections worth checking out, each collection offers plenty of different finishes to suit your style and your budget.
Maestro Automatic Moonphase
With its pure and refined style, this Maestro watch features a moon phase complication watchmaking enthusiasts will love. The steel casing on the leather strap adds to the authentic cachet of this timepiece. In addition to its moon phase indicator situated between 10 and 11 o’clock, this watch also offers a date function. The mechanism is automatic and recharges using your wrist movements. Authenticity and watchmaking know-how come together in this watch Maestro Phase de Lune, to the delight of men who honour tradition. £1,775.00
Freelancer 7730 Chronograph
Equipped with a chronograph and day and date functions, this Freelancer watch is powered by an automatic movement that recharges using your wrist movements and has a 46-hour power reserve. The elegant silver dial is enhanced by the rose gold hands and indexes and delicate lining around the sub dials. A day and date window is positioned at 3 o’clock, traditionally displaying 3 days. As for the stainless steel case, it sits on a leather strap that adds to the harmony of the ensemble. Its style is assured and it will be with you every step of the way, both throughout your sporting adventures and on special occasions. £2,095.00
Parsifal 7260 Chronograph
This range takes its inspiration from Richard Wagner’s three part opera. The watch is housed in a two tone case and black leather strap, black dial with 3 sub dials, gold plated bezel and stainless steel case, date at 4 o’clock position, automatic movement, case diameter 42mm and water resistant to 100m. The dial features Roman numeral hours markers, with slender rose hands, date function and chronograph. £2,995.00
Don Giovanni Cosi Grande
Not hard to guess where the inspiration for this watch collection came from. Verdi’s Don Giovanni. This handsome rectangular chronograph is both distinguished and masculine and features a black dial contrasted with rose gold casing and comes on an alligator-skin strap. This fully mechanical watch is equipped with a chronograph with sub dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock with the date at 12 o’clock. £3,217.00
Blow the budget
Nabucco Rose Gold, Titanium and Carbon Fibre Cuore Caldo Twelve
Nabucco is a Giuseppi Verdi opera written in 1841, and ‘cuore caldo’ means ‘warm heart’. It’s a real mouthful of a watch name and at around £12,000 it’s certainly at the credit card punishing outer limit of the mid-priced mechanical range. At the warm heart of its 46mm diameter case, there are two complications – the split- seconds hand and the 42 hours power reserve indicator – in addition to the mechanical movement with bi-compax automatic winding. Surrounded by an 18 carat rose gold tachymeter bezel, the black dial is illuminated here and there with bright gold touches. This watch was limited to just 76 pieces, so it can probably only be found as a pre-owned watch.