Raymond Weil introduced a lovely new skeletonized dial watch collection this year at Baselworld 2018 known as the Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton. The Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton will initially be available in three model variants being the reference 2785-BC5-20001 in black, 2785-ST-65001 in steel on the bracelet, and the 2785-SC5-20001 in steel and rose gold tone on a strap. The point of the collection is to offer an “enthusiast-oriented” skeletonized dial in a mainstream package in terms of dial and price. I think for a lot of watch lovers Raymond Weil nailed it with the Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton watch model.
The Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton builds on Raymond Weil’s close relationship with Swiss movement maker Sellita. The movement was designed by Raymond Weil and custom-built for them by Sellita. The two companies began their relationship with a different version of this same movement that isn’t skeletonized, but with an “open dial” and the balance wheel exposed at 6 o’clock. In addition to this elegant symmetrical position for the visible regulation system, another distinctive design element is the bridge over the balance wheel. This isn’t strictly necessary but is “tourbillon-esque” in its aesthetic and I admit that the result looks pretty attractive.
In skeletonized form the RW1212 movement looks very nice. Not all skeletonized movements (in the affordable range) are created equal. Pick up a few cheap Chinese ones and you’ll know what I mean. It requires a certain type of finishing and appropriate decoration, in addition to the proper overall movement architecture for the resulting skeletonized dial to look attractive. Raymond Weil further ensures that the Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton dials are legible. That means appropriately-sized (and lumed) hands along with a full (aside from 6 o’clock) hour marker scale. The result is the aesthetic appeal of a skeletonized dial with most of the legibility you’d want/expect from a daily semi-formal “business” watch.
The Freelancer RW1212 Skeleton case is in steel and 42mm wide by 10.6mm thick and water resistant to 100m. Over the dial as well as over the movement on the rear of the case is a sapphire crystal. Depending on the model the hour markers, hands, as well as the movement itself are in different colors. My favorite model is the masculine and technical reference 2785-BC5-20001 in the PVD-coated black steel case with matching textile strap. The natural steel model comes on a matching steel metal bracelet and with very easy to read blue-colored hands and hour markers. The most “mature” model comes on a brown calfskin leather strap and pairs a PVD-coated rose gold tone bezel to the steel case.
The RW1212 movement is an automatic operating at 4Hz with 38 hours of power reserve. The automatic rotor has also been skeletonized to enhance the sense of an open view into the mechanism. Some of the movement bridges have been given attractive perlage polishing on them and overall I think that Raymond Weil and Sellita did an excellent job on the execution – especially for the money. Dial balance and symmetry as well as overall legibility win this one in my opinion when it comes to offering a daily wear with enough personality to say “I’m not boring” and “I like enthusiast watches.”
Price for the Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton watch begins at $2,450 USD for the reference 2785-ST-650001, which is in steel on the steel bracelet. The prices go up marginally to $2,495 USD for the reference 2785-SC5-20001 with the rose gold-toned bezel. My favorite model in the black PVD-coated case (the reference 2785-BC5-20001) has a retail price of $2,595 USD. raymond-weil.us