Mother’s Day is on May 8, and watch aficionados know what that means: the opportunity to express their appreciation to moms, wives, sisters, and other important ladies with a well-chosen timepiece. Between now and the big day, we will spotlight some notable ladies’ watches we’ve discovered at this year’s watch fairs. Today we look at the Raymond Weil Noemia, a new ladies’ timepiece whose distinctive blue dial color has a special connection to the brand’s new celebrity ambassador.
The Noemia launched last year with an ad campaign that featured actress Katheryn Winnick, best known for her role as the shield maiden Lagertha on the historical TV drama series, “Vikings.” The partnership between the third-generation family-owned Swiss watch brand and the Canadian-Ukrainian stunner began with a long binge-watch on an intercontinental flight and an unprompted piece of advice from a client. “I was flying to Las Vegas for the JCK fair,” recalls Elie Bernheim, CEO of the brand, “and it was a very long flight. A friend of mine had recommended that I download this TV series, ‘Vikings,’ to watch on the plane. I had never heard of it but had said OK. So I spent those next 13 or 14 hours watching the episodes.” Impressed by the series, and particularly by the balance of beauty and toughness in Winnick’s character, Berheim had the actress in mind several hours after the flight landed, when a retailer, a loyal Raymond Weil customer, expressed to him during a JCK appointment that the brand had several strong partnerships for its men’s collections — Gibson Guitar and Piper Aircraft, to name a few — but lacked such a partnership for its ladies’ series. “Realizing I had just spent so many hours with just the right person,” Berheim says, “I called my communications manager. Twelve hours later, he’d gotten a hold of Katheryn’s agent and we got something going together.”
But it wasn’t just an ad campaign for the Raymond Weil Noemia collection that sprung from the collaboration. The dial color of the flagship model (Ref. 5132-STS-50081, pictured at top) is a direct homage to Winnick’s striking blue eyes. The watch, priced at $2,595, has a stainless steel case, 32 mm in diameter and 7.58 mm thick, with a sapphire crystal and a screwed caseback. The dial has single-cut diamonds for hour indices, and the curving sides of the case are set with brilliant-cut diamonds, for a total of 64 diamonds. The movement is Swiss quartz, and the crown has a blue lacquer inset.
The most recent Raymond Weil campaign featuring Katheryn Winnick is for the new Shine collection (below), which differentiates itself from the Noemia family with its mother-of-pearl dial, leaf-shaped steel hands, applied Roman numerals, inset fluted winding crown, more diamonds on the case (49) and the feature that the actress particularly loves about the Shine collection, Raymond Weil’s recently introduced, brand-patented interchangeable bracelet system. Accessible from the caseback, the system allows the wearer to change between an “urban, casual” stainless steel bracelet and a more evening-oriented satin strap with ease.
“Versatility but also elegance; a ‘timeless’ piece that is also practical,” Winnick responds when asked by WatchTime what she finds most important in a watch. “As an actress, especially one as active as I am, I like a watch that you can wear one way during a full day of meetings and such and then switch [the bracelet] up at night to walk a red carpet or attend a premiere.” An accomplished martial artist from a young age, with black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Karate, the actress recalls her early experiences with watches being “mostly for practicality, for timing martial arts training, like push-ups and sit-ups. Of course, now I have a phone I can use for that. But I finally feel like I have a ‘lifelong’ timepiece to wear on my wrist.”
According to Winnick, she has developed a personal kinship as well as a business partnership with the brand. “What attracted me to Raymond Weil was that it’s a family company, third generation. Coming from Canada and from a close-knit Ukrainian family, that’s an aspect that I love and that I think sets it apart from many other watch companies — especially now that I’ve had a chance to visit the New York offices and meet everyone, including some watchmakers who have been here for 17 years. You can see those strong relationships and family values.”