September 5, 2010
by Ariel Adams
Here is some serious French testosterone in a watch. Made for or influenced by the special, elite operations branch of the national French police known as RAID. The highly secretive special force is interesting because they often recruit people directly from the public, as opposed to existing police or military personnel. The purpose of the group as part of the national police, is to combat and investigate major crimes and terrorism. RAID stands for “Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion.” In English, “Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence.” They seem to kick enough ass to get a watch made for them with their logo on it.
St. Dupont make watches, among other luxury items, and will soon release a limited edition set of these RAID watches. The “Service Without Fail” part of the name is apparently RAID’s motto. At first glance I like the watch. It is a bit “heavy” on the eyes, and does feature a extreme boldness, but in an appealing way. Although the watch does feature a design spirit, it was designed with function in mind. Meant to be highly viewable in low-light situations, the watch hands are predictably large, with accompanying large numerals in relief. Of course there is lots of lume on the dial, and despite it being quite stylized, it is rather legible.
While the PVD black/gunmetal case looks massive in stature, it isn’t THAT big at 44mm wide. The case design is somewhere between a square and an octagon, with a compliment of satin “carbon,” and brushed finishing. It looks St. Dupont took a Bell & Ross BR01, combined it with a rugged diver watch, and then sent it through special forces boot camp. A true diver watch, the easy to see dial is framed by a rotating diver’s bezel, in a case that is 300 meters watch resistant. I am totally amused as to how the St. Dupont logo completely clashes with the personality of the watch and the rest of the dial.
The mixture of white, green, black, and red on the dial is interesting. Red is used for the GMT hand, as well as the 24 hour scale. Although the 24 hour scale is split into red and white areas – for night and day times. A large RAID insignia logo is placed in all black at 6 o’clock on the watch. I wonder if any RAID members will be wearing this watch.
Inside of it is a Swiss ETA 2893 automatic GMT movement, that St. Dupont has COSC Chronometer certified. The watch comes on a “soft-touch” leather strap (not sure what soft-touch is, but this isn’t a soft looking watch), and will make you sound as though you have more bravado instantly just by wearing it. Price for each of the 500 pieces will be 3,890 euros.
“Service without fail” RAID watch Technical features direct from St. Dupont:
Case : 44 mm, in 316L stainless steel, alternately finished in shiny microblasted polished steel and brushed satin in discreet gunmetal colour, “vacuum carbon” type
Case back : Screwed down case back engraved with the motto: “Service without fail”.
Water-resistant : to 300 m (30 atm, 984 ft)
Crystal : Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment.
Movement : Self-winding ETA 2893-2.
Power reserve : 42 hours.
Jewels : 21
Frequency : 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Luxury movement finishing : decorated with the Coat of Arms of Geneva and circular cross sections on the oscillating weight.
Movement certified by the COSC : (ContrÃ´le Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) according to their specifications regarding the designation of “chronometer” – delivery with official COSC certificate. Like any other timepiece, it needs to be calibrated and monitored.
Your watch is delivered with an individual numbered certificate issued by the COSC, specific instructions for care and use in its unique black lacquered box.
Functions : Hours, minutes, seconds, 24-hour hand for a second time zone, reading of time zone on the flange with separation of Day-time zones (white) and Night (red).
Crown : Screwed down crown, deep engraving of the time pointers, unidirectional bezel with 120 clicks and a 12-hour reference guide mark with a luminescent rider.
Dials : Brushed black with applique Arabic numerals and index and the official RAID hidden logo in relief at six o’clock. Indications on the hands with photo-luminescent light restitution pigment.
Strap : Matt black “soft touch” treated leather enhanced by grey overstitching, double pin buckle.
25th anniversary medallion minted with the RAID motto in identical finish to the watch provided in the box with its protective holder.