Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

In most engineering fields and resulting products, complexity is a nasty evil that pops up at inopportune times and usually needs to be curbed and eliminated. In the world of fine timepiece craftsmanship, complexity, the right kind, is highly valued and cherished. Complicated watches from top brands that include calendars, astronomical charts, power reserve indicators, and so on, are prized collector's items.

Of course, a side effect of complicated watches is that they may require more frequent maintenance and are on the very top price range of an already high-priced market for Swiss made watches. One brand that is trying to break the mold is Raymond Weil (RW). Part of their mission is to create classically designed watches with various complications while keeping prices in the affordable range. A good example is the Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase which also includes day, date, and month complications.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Raymond Weil names its watch lines after musical-related monikers. The Maestro line was introduced in 2010 in advanced celebration of Raymond Weil's 35th year anniversary since they started operating in Geneva in 1976. Many of the watches in the Maestro line are essentially RW's version of classic round watches with guilloché dials and various calendar-related complications.

The Maestro Automatic Moon Phase reference 2849-STC-00659 is a relatively small watch by today's standards. Its 39.5mm wide polished stainless steel case measures 11mm high. It's also a light watch at just 70 grams. The brown leather strap with alligator pattern starts at 20mm and narrows to 16mm with a polished steel tang buckle that is inscribed with the Raymond Weil name.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

My favorite part of this watch is the beautiful dial which is visible through a flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. The dial's color is silver with a central round guilloché pattern that contains a month subdial between 7 and 8 o'clock and a symmetrical day subdial between 4 and 5 o'clock. Both subdials have a fine radiating pattern that ends with the abbreviation for months and days and a small blue steel hand indicator.

At 12 o'clock is a half quadrant that serves as the moon phase indicator. The moon shows in gold on a blue background that includes gold stars when the moon is in its crescent and new phases. The dial includes roman numeral markers in black for the hours and at the edge a full calendar of dates showing the odd numbers and ending in 31 at 12 o'clock. In a nutshell, it is both attractively symmetrical and legible in its design.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The dial is completed with hours and minutes blue steel hands and a hair thin seconds hand. The current date is shown by an additional hand that ends with a half circle and moves in steps every day, half-encircling the current date. The hands have the classical "clous de Paris" design style with the hours and minute hands including a hollow circle close to the tip that becomes thinner to better show the current hour and minute. The dial is brilliantly executed, reminding one of Breguet-style calendar watches... Or you can think of it as "baby-Breguet" or "Breguet-light" ("Diet Breguet? if you may).

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The automatic movement inside the watch is an RW 4600 caliber which is a modified ETA 2824 movement to include day, month, and moon phase complications. The transparent case back shows the sparsely decorated movement. The automatic rotor includes the caliber number and the RW name.

Adjusting the day, date, month, and moon phase is done via flattened pushers at 2, 4, 8, and 10 o'clock. To simplify this process, RW includes a small stainless steel pin that has a tip perfectly sized for the pushers. The pin is included with a brown leather pouch and includes the RW name on the side.

This is a nice touch and make sure to ask your dealer for it if it did not come in your box. This happened to me since I had special ordered the watch. All Maestro watches share the same box but they don't all share the same complications nor include pushers for adjusting the date.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While I have some positive feelings about this watch and as I mentioned, I simply absolutely love the dial, I do have various complaints.

First the case is a bit small. I think one or two additional millimeters would go a long way to make this watch perfectly sized. Interestingly, even at that relatively small size, the crown, which contains the distinctive RW logo embossed, scratches against my wrist's skin… I am not sure if it's because I wear it too close to my hand, but a more softened-edge crown would also help.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While I can live with the relatively small size, my next two complaints have been annoyances from the moment I got the timepiece. First, the strap is not real alligator. The brown color is perfect but who wants fake alligator patterns on an otherwise classic watch? RW should either forgo the alligator pattern, use a real alligator strap, or have an option for getting the real thing. I don't care if I need to pay a bit more for it.

Second, while I can again forgive Raymond Weil for sparsely decorating the movement, there is again less of an excuse for not decorating the rotor a bit more. An engraving of the RW logo would go a long way. Also, on my unit I found the rotor to be excessively noisy. It's not noisy to a point of being annoying, however, I can hear a tin noise if I spin the rotor. Not sure if this is due to lack of lubricant or that the rotor is touching the side of the case or that it is loose a bit, but it's definitely noisy. I plan to take it to the shop soon, before my two years warranty expires.

Finally, the watch is completely invisible at night. This is not necessarily a complaint as much as it is a fact for many such watches. Just don't expect to be able to read it at all in low light.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic Moon Phase Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For the affordable manufacture suggested price of $2,950, the RW Maestro Automatic Moon Phase (ref. 2849-STC-00659) makes for a nice classic dress watch. The dial alone makes it worthwhile. RW also makes another variation of the Maestro which is ref. 2839-STC-00659 that includes a black dial with moon phase and a version that also has a silver dial. Both have the moon complication at 10 o'clock and do not include the month nor the day subdials but instead a date subdial at 6 o'clock.

Another model in the Maestro line does not include the moon phase and instead has a chronograph complication (ref. 7737-STC-00659). And there are various plain models with different small variations like a steel bracelet (ref. 2837-STC-00659) and one with a front opening to show the movement (ref. 2827-STC-00659).

Overall, I am somewhat satisfied with the RW Maestro Automatic Moon Phase since its classic looks and superb dial gives me a watch that I can wear at the next play or at the opera, at least until I can afford a Breguet…

Necessary Data
>Brand: Raymond Weil
>Model: Maestro Automatic Moon Phase (ref. 2849-STC-00659)
>Price: $2,950
>Size:  39.5mm x 11mm
>Weight: 70 grams
>Would reviewer personally wear it: No longer
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: As a dress watch to the 30-something guy who is not necessarily passionate about timepieces, but wants to look the part during a date at a play, at a musical, or at the opera.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The case back shows the lightly decorated movement with a winding rotor that is underwhelming...
>Best characteristic of watch: The dial. Beautiful Breguet-style guilloché dial with radiating subdials and clous de Paris dark blue hands.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (1)
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • Markiemark85

    I have the Raymond Weil Marstro Black 2839-STC-00659. I have to say I absolutely adore this watch and the detailing in the dial. I too however have found the rotor to be quiet loud and abrasive sounding. I think this may be a common issue with these models out of the manufacture. After sending it to the certified dealer here in Australia though, I no longer have this issue. For the price however, I could not find a more beautiful dress watch even though there is a lack of movement finishing. As Ariel always says, that kind of finishing is a sign of haute horology and if it were an Omega or Breguet I would expect more. I do get lots of compliments on the watch and I am happy with my purchase so I guess that’s all that matters anyway. Thanks for a really good review on a lightly touched brand Michael

  • whythehack

    Is the calendar an annual calendar or is it just a monthly calendar ?

    • Markiemark85

      whythehack It’s a monthly calendar as far as I’ve been told

      • Markiemark85 whythehack yup. At that price point an annual calendar would be rarefied air… Zenith makes a nice annual calendar in SS for about $7K: the Captain Windsor (I believe). The gold Captain Windsor with chronograph is on my grail list. Superb watch and brand.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s nice enough but doesn’t excite me.  RW used to be the “affordable” Swiss brand, but this pricing doesn’t really demonstrate that anymore.  Of course, I remember that RW along with Longines used to represent the entry level region of Swiss mechanical timepieces, though I suppose they are now trying to push their brands into a more premium segment.  “Affordable” is all relative, of course.

  • Michael Max:
    Great post, Great Pics, Keep up the good work Man

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  • cluedog12

    Great review Max. I think a bit of red paint on the tip of the date indicator would have been a nice touch, but I agree that the dial is nicely-executed overall. The fake gator straps seem to be standard amongst some other brands’ watches in the low end luxury bracket, although at nearly 3k USD MSRP, it’s a bit less excusable. As for the basic rotor, I feel it’s more honest to outfit a basic movement with a basic rotor. Better to put a few more dollars into the strap!

  • Kris C

    Nice watch – I’d give it a fair go.
    I understand the importance of lume, but I don’t like it at all on my dress watches, and I find it frustrating when people complain about the lack of lume on an obviously dressy watch. Lume, to me, is a sporty addition, and I think it would completely detract/undermine the rest of the feel that this, and many other watches have.

    • @Kris C a fair point. However, some select modern dress watches do have discrete lume applications that work really well, e.g., JLC Master Control Q1542520. Of course at the price point of the RW that may be too much to ask. Cheers.

  • Kris C

    Max, drop me a line and I’ll make you a replacement strap out of some very nice chocolate-colour crocodile I have in stock, 100% authentic.

    • @Kris C will do, however for a different watch. Best.

    • @Kris C ping me on LinkedIn or Twitter when you have a chance, could not see how to contact you. Cheers.

  • village idiot

    It is a beauty. A RW was my first real watch, although being a babe in the woods then, it was a quartz. At first look of the dial, knowing it is a Sunday in April is all fine and well.  Knowing the whereabouts of the moon is ok too, but from experience, having a watch show me the date  has prevented me from appearing as a total fool by being off by a number or two. Then i started thinking outside the box and realized if one was to sync the watches  moon cycle to his significant other, it could serve as a dandy early warning system.

  • MarkCarson

    I really think this watch has visual appeal. And when reading the first part of the review, I was thinking Breguet-like also, then Michael went there 🙂
    I also find fake alligator irritating. “Do or do not, there is no try”. But you can get a very nice alligator strap for less than $100 (retail), so that would be an easy “fix”. Tapering from 20mm to 16mm is a concern as mostly this taper appears on ladies watch straps, but alligator with these dimensions can still be found.
    The rotor is a real concern. looking at it, they are not just engraving a stock 2828-4 rotor. AFAIK The rotor is not an ETA part (based on the shape). You would think they could have used the stock rotor (whose shape I think is more graceful) and just dressed/engraved that instead of doing their own part (especially if that is source of the noise).  Different is not always better!
    I appreciate the thickness only being 11mm considering the additional module for the date functions (which adds to the height of the base 2824 movement). But at nearly $3,000 USD, they are in the Valjoux 7750 movement market segment. At $2K this watch (with an improved rotor) would be very attractive to me. At $3K, there are a lot of other watches to consider.
    A question – is the dial actual guilloche (machine engraved) or just a stamped dial?

    • MarkCarson great comment, lots of useful additions. W.r.t. dial, not sure. I am guessing stamped or CNC manufactured due to “low” price and since handmade guilloche would be something to advertise (RW does not)… However, I am speculating. Maybe someone else can comment or point to correct source? Also, note that the dial is nevertheless well made, even compared to a Breguet… In time I hope to learn and appreciate the difference, as I am sure a guilloche expert would school me quickly as to the minute differences and enlarge them in my eyes.

  • Ryan B

    @ Maximilian Good call on the dial, definitely looks Breguet-esque. Also a few RGM models.

  • CheffeSalad

    To Quote:—- I found the rotor to be excessively noisy. It’s not noisy to a point of
    being annoying, however, I can hear a tin noise if I spin the rotor. Not
    sure if this is due to lack of lubricant or that the rotor is touching
    the side of the case or that it is loose a bit, but it’s definitely
    Cheer up! I have a $40,000 Patek that has the same problem. They told me I’ll get used to it!!

    • CheffeSalad LOL… Good point. All mechanical automatic rotor make some noise. However compared to my other automatic watches this one is noisier.

  • CG

    Wonderful what look like fire blued hands. But the extra pin tool is a concern. I have an Oris that requires a pin tool and of course Oris has never seen fit to make one! Always inconvenient and the tool would be easily lost. Otherwise a very nice classic design for a manufacturer i see as “modern”.

    • CG you can use something else like tip of a pen or a mechanical pencil though it might not be the best result. It’s also quite possible that RW would send you a replacement if you’d happen to loose it. I imagine that within reason they would want to make sure their customers are pleased. However, I am simply guessing and giving RW the benefit of the doubt. Cheers.

      • CG

        Maximilien CG  yes been there done that! It works but the fear is the wrong “tool” will slip and scratch the case. I could go on with a litany of sizing of ballpoint pens I’ve used and how they were effective or not… but still not a purpose made tool that FITS correctly and won’t have the potential for damage. I guess convenience is the big issue, I’m always halfway down the road and notice I didn’t change the date on the Oris so I have to improvise a tool… toothpicks DON’T work even the plastic ones! 🙂

        • CG yep, I hear you. That’s why IWC’s no pushers approach, lets do everything via crown is a convincing path fo these issues. Cheers.

    • Ulysses31

      CG I think if they were smart they could’ve engineered the buckle pin to serve this purpose.  Always available, impossible to lose.

      • CG

        Ulysses31 CG I like your style of integrated thinking on that! Yes! Like the old days of car manufacture; you basically could  take a whole car apart with two sockets and a screwdriver!

  • Markiemark85

    The Maestro 2839-STC-00659 has these integrated into the case as a type on non intrusive pusher

  • Ayreonaut

    Lots of fake features here.  The dial looks like an annual calendar but it isn’t.  The dial looks like guilloche but it is stamped, not cut.  The strap looks like alligator, but its leather.  The hands look like blued steel but I think they’re painted.  The case has no sharp lines and a bland polished finish.  All-in-all, very underwhelming and over priced.

    • MarkCarson

      Ayreonaut I’m with you, but to be fair, a “full calendar”, like this one, and and an “annual calendar” /could look the same (no more of fewer indicators). And a “perpetual calendar” only needs a year/leap year indicator or else it could look the same.

      • MarkCarson @Ayreonaut and not to mention be 10x to 50x more expensive and complicated w.r.t. movement . The cheapest streel annual calendar I have come across is the Zenith Captain Windsor and that goes for about $7K and by all account a great value when balancing style, brand, complication, and all with an in-house movement. Hope this helps. Cheers all.

  • Joram

    Does this watch distinguish automatically between 28, 30 and 31 day months or do I have to manually reset the date every month (which is a nuisance)?

    • Joram Nope.  However, the watch includes four pushers at the 4 “corners” to address moonphase, day, month, and date.  Each press of the flat pushers will move each of these complications and thus allow you to address the changes in calendar.  RW includes a small pusher (pictured above) to allow you to make thes pushes easily.  Having a watch that automatically does this adjustment is a highly valued and expensive complication called a perpetual calendar, first invented by Patek Philippe.  Needless to say that such watches are uber pricey compared to this RW.  There is also the anual calendar which addresses all calendar changes for the year, except for the idiosyncrasies of February.  The cheapest mechanical automatic anual calendar that I know of is from Zenith with their Captain Windsor line and that will set you back $7K to $10K in steel and $15K to $17K in rose gold…

      • Joram

        Maximilien Joram Thanks! I appreciate your quick and relevant response.

        • Joram

          Maximilien Joram BTW, the RW is now on sale for $ 1,475, which seems quite reasonable…

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  • fortsonre

    Markiemark85 I also have the 2839-0659 but in white dial.  It’s a beautiful watch, and addresses some of the concern here about having a pusher for adjusting the date and moon phase but using the integrated buttons in the case.  While I agree that I wish the strap was a true croc, I actually find the leather very comfortable and soft.  BTW, my rotor is also noisy, but it doesn’t seem to affect the function or accuracy of the watch.  Also, by registering the watch at the RW website, I got an extra year of warranty for a total of three years, which is very nice.

    Overall, I’m impressed by this watch and wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to anyone.