In many ways, skeleton watches are an exercise in character. Beyond simply exposing the internal workings of the movement, the way a watch is skeletonized can impart a wide variety of personalities on the finished product. Since its inception in 2018 the Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton has remained on the dressier side of the skeleton watch spectrum, with a wide open central display window flanked by an outer dial ring with full indices. For its latest installment into the series, however, the brand substantially revamps the character of this watch with a more open, minimal skeleton treatment and new bronze case accents for a more aggressive, industrial look. The new Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton in two tone bronze offers a substantial shift in the focus of the brand’s skeleton series, potentially pointing to a more casual future for the line.
While the lines of the new Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton’s 42mm case are shared with its predecessors, the execution of this form gives this model a distinctive personality. Where the narrow bezel and needle-thin beveled tapering lugs gave the series the look of a somewhat oversized dress watch in previous models, the matte brushed surfaces here give this new model a much more sporting character. Both the smooth bezel and the crown are rendered in bronze for a more masculine, moody look in initial images that contrasts nicely with the stainless steel main case. This contrast is kept balanced thanks to the bronze alloy Raymond Weil uses, which looks to be darker and less vibrant than many bronze cases. Overall thickness is a relatively slender 10.6mm, but despite this slim profile and a sapphire display caseback the Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton manages a reasonably sporty 100 meters of water resistance.
The dial of the new Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton in two tone bronze is its largest departure from previous models, with a new design that opts for aggression and spectacle over the last generation’s mix of refinement and legibility. The dial for this new model is fully skeletonized, with no indices or markers beyond a thin outer minutes track. This lack of markers, coupled with the complex skeleton framework beneath the hands, does impact readability substantially. The skeleton bridges themselves follow a similar pattern to previous models. With less of a solid dial surface to conceal them, however, these intricate narrow curves are given more real estate to breathe for a more airy look. Raymond Weil further accentuates the perlage finish of these bridges here with a medium graphite gray coating, keeping the subdued dark look of the case intact through the dial. The sizeable 12 o’clock mainspring barrel and the tourbillon-esque bridge for the 6 o’clock balance wheel become natural focal points here, and the brand’s decision to use darker tones for the surrounding bridges allows these bright visual elements to truly pop from the background. Likewise, the gold tone finishing on the subtly convex baton hands helps to draw the eye towards these useful elements and slightly mitigates the new design’s effect on legibility. Like previous models in the line, the new Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton is a simple two-hand dial, with no running seconds hand or added complications.
The movement on display inside the Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton in two tone bronze is the RW1212 automatic movement. Designed in concert with movement partner Sellita exclusively for Raymond Weil, the RW1212 is an attractively decorated design with a matching skeleton rotor to maximize visibility. This elaboré grade movement offers solid accuracy at -5/+20 seconds per day, but the power reserve of 38 hours at 28,800 bph feels slightly underequipped in today’s advancing movement market. To complete the subdued and masculine color palette, Raymond Weil pairs the Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton with a distressed leather strap in deep tobacco brown. This strap features the brand’s signed two button deployant clasp for a cleaner, more premium look, and adds subtle highlights with lighter brown stitching.
With new bronze case elements, a more fully skeletonized dial, and a nuanced colorway, the new Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton in two tone bronze reorients the RW1212 Skeleton line in a more casual, masculine direction for the future. The Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton in two tone bronze is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $2,940. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.