BASELWORLD 2017:

Raymond Weil’s Tribute to the Les Paul Gibson Guitar


Raymond Weil CEO Elie Bernheim’s well-established love of music has been reflected in several of his brand’s watches — most recently in last year’s Maestro Beatles limited edition and 2015’s Nabucco Gibson SG. This year, a new piece in Raymond Weil’s Freelancer collection celebrates the spirit of Gibson’s iconic Les Paul guitar and its role in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: the Raymond Weil Freelancer Chronograph “Gibson Les Paul.”

Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - mood
Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson Limited Edition

The watch features several visual elements inspired by the legendary guitar, named for its inventor, Lester William Polsfuss, aka Les Paul, and made famous by artists such as Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, who have used the instrument in carving out their places in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. The stainless steel case measures 43.5 mm in diameter, with a black PVD-coated tachymeter bezel that echoes the lacquer finish on the Les Paul “Black Beauty” guitar.

The dial features a circular guilloché motif representing the guitar’s six chords, while the applied hour markers are fret-shaped. The Gibson logo and a Les Paul signature appear at 12 o’clock, just above the Raymond Weil brand logo. The famous golden split-diamond inlay, a defining feature of the Gibson Les Paul, is represented at 4:30 next to the date window. Golden highlights are used in the chronograph counter, date window, and central chrono hand. Finally, the perforations in the golden-top-stitched calf leather strap are reminiscent of the sound holes in the body of a guitar.

 

Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - front
The watch’s dial features several elements inspired by the famous guitar.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - back
A Gibson logo appears on the sapphire caseback.

The chronograph, with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, as well as the other timekeeping functions, are powered by the mechanical, self-winding Caliber RW5010 (based on the La Joux-Perret 8601), which is visible through a clear caseback adorned with another Gibson logo. The movement, which is the same used in the Nabucco model devoted to Gibson, has 27 jewels and a 46-hour power reserve when fully wound.

Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - angle
The bezel’s black PVD finish evokes the black lacquer of the Gibson Les Paul “Black Beauty.”

The Raymond Weil Freelancer “Gibson Les Paul” is a limited edition of 300 pieces, priced at $3,295. It is encased in a special presentation box that is inspired by a Gibson guitar case.

Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - box
The special presentation box (above and below) is inspired by a Gibson guitar case.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Les Paul Gibson LE - box open

We had a chance to see the watch up close at Baselworld this week. Here are a few live shots.

Raymond Weil Les Paul GIbson - tray
Raymond Weil Les Paul GIbson - flat
Raymond Weil Les Paul GIbson - wrist

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17 Responses to “Raymond Weil’s Tribute to the Les Paul Gibson Guitar”

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  1. Brad E

    For $3,200 I’d rather put another Les Paul Standard in my collection and have $500 in my pocket.
    Somebody didn’t think this out very well.

    Reply
  2. dennis houle

    This watch is a sub par $1000 piece, history of the Les Paul does not warrant this
    a $3200 timepiece.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Hughes

    Not my thing, but my guitar buddy loved it. That thing is H U G E !

    Reply
  4. Neil Davey

    Regarding the review of the Raymond Weil Gibson Les Paul watch.
    Apologies for being a pedant here, but:
    The “guilloché motif representing the guitar’s six chords”, is incorrect, the Gibson Les Paul has six strings, not six chords.
    The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar, there are no sounds holes in it, the strap is nice, but its not a reflection of the guitar the watch supposedly pays tribute to.

    That aside, as the proud owner of a Gibson Les Paul and a number of fine Swiss watches, it seems to me that Elie Bernheim has missed an opportunity here. Other than the Gibson & Les Paul names at 12, and the Les Paul split diamond (which to my eyes looks out of place and like an after thought where it is), there is little on this watch that links it visually with the Les Paul guitar. The hour markers may look like very worn frets to some, but I’d have to be told what they represented to be able to see the link. I wonder what the exposed screw head at 9:30 is meant to represent? There are so many visual identifiers that could have been used, which have been ignored. The volume and tone control layout, which has always featured on the guitar, the pickup switch, the dual humbucker pickups, and lets not forget the single cut away body or the headstock shape.

    Elie, may be a fan of music in general and maybe this guitar in particular, but the links between his watch and the guitar are pretty tenuous. I wish Elie luck, but I wont be buying his watch.

    Reply
  5. David Parker

    Very cool watch, but I have a problem with a few details in the description. First, Richards and Hendrix are only slightly known for using Les Pauls, especially Hendrix. And even Clapton only used one regularly early in his career. There are so many better known Les Paul users that could be cited — Billy Gibbons, Slash, Duane Allman, Peter Green and Peter Frampton come to mind. Second, the “circular guilloché” motif represents the guitar’s six strings, not six chords. And third, the strap perforations supposedly representing the guitar’s sound holes is ridiculous because Les Pauls are solid-body guitars, which means they have no sound holes. As a matter of fact, they are known as being one of the first mass-produced solid-body guitars, coming soon after the introduction of the Fender Telecaster. Hope I could help clarify things.

    Reply
  6. Andrew Hughes

    From a design perspective, this watch might have been stronger without a tachymeter that seems to overpower the dial IMHO. Just think how much cleaner it might have looked. I do like the guitar case inspired box…

    Reply
  7. James B.

    Only 300 pieces- dang. That will likely put the watch out of reach for the average Les Paul owner; the hordes of musicians that bought the guitars making the Les Paul a legend.

    Reply
  8. Martin Moore

    The dial actually has a fretboard depicted in a circular pattern. The split diamond refers to the Les Paul Custom version, the most expensive model. The Les Paul has no holes so perhaps the strap is just functional. Beautiful timepiece.

    Reply
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