Students of wristwatch history know that Raymond Weil, founder of the eponymous watch brand, was both a watchmaker and a musician. What many might not have known until recently is that he was also a pilot and aviation enthusiast.
The Raymond Weil Freelancer Piper, which I had a chance to preview at JCK 2015 in Las Vegas, is a tribute to its founder’s deep passion for aviation. Produced in a partnership with the aviation manufacturer Piper Aircraft, Inc., it is the Swiss watch brand’s first-ever pilot watch.
The watch has a 45-mm-diameter case made of titanium and stainless steel and contains a mechanical, self-winding chronograph movement equipped with a date indication and a pilot-friendly GMT function. The shiny blue minute and hour hands resemble an aircraft’s rotor blades while the GMT hand, with its red pointer, has the look of a compass needle. The small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock is inspired by a dashboard altimeter. The black leather strap also imparts a classic, vintage aviator look. The watch features a tachymeter-scale bezel, 100-meter water resistance, and a 46-hour power reserve. Each Raymond Weil Freelancer Piper watch is packaged in a special box along with a model of the official Raymond Weil-branded Piper aircraft owned by brand CEO (and descendant of the founder) Elie Bernheim. Available at retail in the fall, the watch will be priced at $3,495.