Time Jumper: Testing Raymond Weil’s Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour


Raymond Weil Cosi Grande Jumping HourIn this watch test mini-feature from our June 2010 issue, we examine Raymond Weil’s strikingly designed Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour, with original photography by Imagina.

The Raymond Weil Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour is a rectangular watch measuring a generous 50 x 38 mm, with two offset dials and a large aperture for the hour display. Its distinct shapes and lines immediately grab your attention and a closer look reveals many other attractive features. Circular and sunburst patterns set off the dual dials; different levels highlight the dials’ centers, frames and outer tracks; and a faceted frame draws the eye to the opening for the jumping-hour display. The slightly different numeral styles on the dials and hour display have similarly curved, organic shapes.

Raymond Weil Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour
Raymond Weil Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour

The relatively lightweight stainless-steel case (112 grams) features a double-sided, curved, rectangular sapphire crystal; decorative edges on the flanks of the case; and a large octagonal crown with an embossed brand logo. Aside from the line finish on the sections between the lugs, the extensive surfaces of the case are fully polished — which unfortunately gives the case a rather austere look and easily shows scratches and fingerprints. The rectangular caseback is secured with four screws and its sapphire viewing window is sized to match the dimensions of the movement exactly.

The view of the watch’s power drive is quite satisfying. Raymond Weil uses the “Top” version of the automatic ETA 2892 movement, greatly modified by Dubois Dépraz, as the base of its RW 1400 caliber, which shows off its Glucydur balance, côtes de Genève decorative finish, blued screws, gold-colored engraving and perlage. Though it is not visible, the modification of the threehand movement that’s responsible for the three-part display is even more interesting than the decorations. Dubois Dépraz has added an hour disk in addition to modifying the central seconds to a small seconds and shifting the arbor for the minute hand from the center of the movement to the top. Raymond Weil’s decision to use the “Top”-quality movement — which, theoretically, runs with a chronometer-like accuracy –– was a worthwhile one, at least in the case of our test watch. On the timing machine the watch showed a daily error rate of only +2.8 seconds. Unfortunately, the maximum deviation between the individual positions was relatively high, at +8 seconds.

The Dubois Dépraz module complements the beautifully decorated ETA 2892 “Top” movement.
The Dubois Dépraz module complements the beautifully decorated ETA 2892 “Top” movement.

The movement and dial are clearly the highlights of this striking timepiece, and although the case has its drawbacks, the strap and clasp are also of very high quality. Measuring 28 mm wide at the lugs, the exquisite hand-stitched crocodile strap has fully turned edges and fully glued inner lining. Two conveniently placed releases, located at both bars, enable the wearer to change the strap without tools and without scratching the watch. The simple folding clasp has two deployant buttons and is milled from a single block of steel. It is pleasantly sturdy and attractive, with a large brand logo on the outer bar.

Although its finishing is impeccable, the watch loses some points in the comfort category. The extremely wide strap and the heavy folding clasp make the watch less comfortable than other smaller watches with narrower straps and pronged buckles.

The simple, sturdy folding clasp is as nicely finished as the alligator strap.
The simple, sturdy folding clasp is as nicely finished as the alligator strap.

Operation is convenient and easy. The crown is recessed in the flank of the watch; it can be easily pulled with a fingernail on the underside of the case and turned smoothly. The hour can be advanced  both forward and backward, which makes setting the time simple. When the watch is running, the hour disk jumps suddenly to avoid the appearance of a partial numeral in the window. This is thanks to a well-designed spring mechanism, which also ensures that the disk will not jump unintentionally in either direction if the watch is jolted.

The hour on our test watch jumped one minute too soon, which could result in a false reading of the time by one hour shortly before the full hour. However, this is a minor problem compared to that posed by the widely spaced divisions on the minute track, which aren’t conducive to a precise reading of the time. The lower section — the part intersected by the seconds subdial — even lacks five-minute markers. Also, it is possible for the unusual hour display to be obscured by the minute hand, raising the possibility of confusing one o’clock with 11 o’clock. And, of course, the luminescent minute hand is redundant, since the dial itself remains dark and difficult to read in low lighting.

Curiously, the watch’s limited legibility is a consequence of its distinctive, jumping-hour design. Certainly there will be plenty of enthusiasts who will be happy to glance at a cell phone or computer for the exact time while still making a statement by wearing this exciting-looking watch.

Pros
+ Multifaceted dial
+ Technically and visually attractive movement
+ High-quality strap

Cons
– Cannot be read precisely
– Case easily shows fingerprints

SPECS:
Manufacturer: Raymond Weil S.A., Avenue Eugène-Lance 36-38, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Reference number: DGCG 4400-STC-00268
Functions: Jumping hour, minutes, small seconds; hack mechanism
Movement: RW 14400, derived from ETA 2892 “Top,” modified by Dubois Dépraz, automatic; 28,800 vph; 27 jewels; Etachron regulating system with eccentric screw; Incabloc shock absorption; power reserve = 42 hours; diameter = 25.6 mm; height = 5.2 mm
Case: Stainless steel with curved, double-sided nonreflective sapphire crystal;    sapphire caseback held in place by four screws, water-resistant to 30 meters
Strap and clasp: Alligator strap with stainless-steel safety folding clasp
Rate results (deviation in seconds per day):
Dial up                  0
Dial down            +3
Crown up            +3
Crown down            +2
Crown left            +8
Crown right            +1
Greatest deviation:          8
Average deviation            +2.8
Mean amplitude:
Flat positions        303°
Hanging positions                   271°
Dimensions: 50 x 38 mm, height = 12.4 mm, weight 112 g
Variations: With stainless-steel bracelet ($3,895)
Price: $3,750

SCORES:
Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): 9
Operation (5): 4
Case (10): 7
Design (15): 13
Legibility (5): 2
Wearing comfort (10): 7
Movement (20): 14
Rate results (10): 7
Overall value (15): 12

TOTAL: 75 points

One Response to “Time Jumper: Testing Raymond Weil’s Don Giovanni Così Grande Jumping Hour”

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  1. Patrick

    Unfortunately, the word “unfortunately” was used too many times is your description…Makes me question if it’s what I want.

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