The new Raymond Weil Parsifal Day-Date (ref. 2965 SG5 00658) self-winding wristwatch that the Swiss brand plans to present in a month or so Baselworld 2011 show, leaves a bit strange impression. While all elements of the timekeeper were delicately touched here and there to avoid copyright claims, it is still clear (well, clear to yours truly, that is) that its source of inspiration was one of the well-known models sold by Rolex. Will Raymond Weil get away with this? Only time will tell.
I am almost breathless.
Frankly speaking, the new Raymond Weil Day-Date Automatic (Ref. 2965 SG5 00658) leaves me flabbergasted! This is the first time that I see such a shameless, blatant rip-off of a well-known, even legendary model done not by an Oriental fakemaker, but by a respected Swiss watchmaking brand.
I may be wrong, but… Just take a look at the picture below. Presented in an attractive-looking mixt of stainless steel and rose gold, the new watch looks like its dial is a simplified version of the face of the Rolex Perpetual Day Date!
The hands, the Roman numerals, the hour markers at 11 and 1 o’clock, the date window, the day of week aperture at 12 o’clock look almost identical.
The shape of the case is different, but it is certainly more than inspired by Rolex cases with their signature crown guards and flowing lugs.
Predictably, similarities end here. The watch comes equipped with Caliber RW 4240 automatic movement, which is in fact a redecorated Sellita SW200 ebauche with an additional “day of week” module. Not as stellar as calibers produced by Rolex, the mechanism is still reliable and fairly accurate being a clone of well-known ETA 2824-2 caliber. A clone powering a clone? Now that’s interesting.
The movement seems to come with stock decor: there is nothing here but an engraved oscillating weight that sports Raymond Weil’s brand name and some technical information.
As I have already noted, RW used some tweaks here and there to make the piece look more original with a bit longer lugs, a pair of Submariner-style crown guards and differently sculpted bezel. Here, I must admit that the guy who, um, adapted the design actually did a fairly good job. While I am personally not very fond of bracelet links that look like they were inflated, they actually look well with the rest of the body making a very solid impression.
Given its size of just over 39 millimeters, the piece sits well even on smaller wrists and its longer crown seems to be more comfortable to operate than that of the Perpetual Day Date. Also, it will possibly look great in case you get tired of the two-tone bracelet and decide to replace it with a genuine leather or even NATO strap.
I hope still don’t mind me comparing the Parsifal Day-Date with the aforementioned Rolex model. All elements on its face seem to be a bit larger making the piece a bit easier to read with just a passing glance. The traditional magnifying lens that is glued to the sapphire crystal right atop of date aperture makes the calendar even more readable.
Its only problem (at least, usability-wise) is the super-thin strips of Superluminova on hour and minute hands. Nighttime legibility may a bit problematic, especially in those dark places with directed light spots on the walls that don’t do much in terms of lighting up the space, but still don’t let your eyes to adapt to darkness.
That’s basically all.
If you don’t mind your timekeeper constantly compared to Rolex by other persons, it is a nice choice for a person seeking for a dressy timekeeper with day-date display on a relatively low budget. At an MSRP of just $3500, you can’t beat it.
Photos: Raymond Weil, Rolex
Raymond Weil Day-Date Automatic (Ref. 2965 SG5 00658) watch specification
Movement: Automatic, RW 4240 (base Sellita SW200), 26 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 39.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 10.50 mm
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Bracelet in steel and rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire