While I can’t call the automatic Raymond Weil Maestro Moonphase (Ref. 2839-STC-00209) a breakthrough, its nicely designed case, as well as the guilloched dial, which is executed with careful attention to even the most minute details, makes a strong impression. However, its list price of some $2500 USD may scare away a lot of customers who will probably prefer a good old Longines to this product manufactured by a relatively obscure brand.
When in search for a dressy timekeeper with a nice classic feel about it, you should probably ask yourself the following questions (I sorted them in an order they appeared in my head, but you should probably do some homework and range them by giving them weight as you see fit):
1. How versatile is it? Can I afford to get myself a watch that would only look good with a business suit?
2. Do I want to make a statement by buying a certain brand or do I simply plan to stick to the corporate dress code?
3. How good are the four or five models that made into my short-list in keeping their resale value? And how much will I lose if I find that the model of choice doesn’t fit my wrist well and I decide to flip it?
You should probably spend some time contemplating answers to these questions, but I can help with some ideas by answering the questions above in order of appearance.
Yes, I find this device versatile enough. Although you would probably look stupid wearing it while playing bass in a punk band if your idea of casual wear is close to a sweater and worn jeans with a pair of sneakers, it will still look great, especially if you opt-in for a model with silver dial.
If making a statement is your plan, you will be disappointed: even Longines is better recognized by corporate snobs than a model from this relatively young brand. Time will tell, but, given the previous statement, the Maestro Moonphase will probably depreciate more than a similarly styled model from IWC or the aforementioned Longines, but it is also less expensive, so the price difference in real dollars will probably be in your favor in case you decide to get rid of this one.
I must say that I like this model. As generic-looking as it is, there is a feel of quality about the timekeeper. I can’t say how good it will last on a long distance, but I can see that all parts are well-made and are carefully attached to each other.
Although I don’t like the leather strap (I had the impression that it is a bit too stiff for this price range), the rest seems gorgeous.
It is also compact enough: an important factor for a dressy timekeeper, especially now when there are so many obscenely fat watches on the market that are supposed to look dressy, but are not.
Being 39.50 mm in diameter and only 10.50 mm in height, the case looks slim and will certainly fit well under a normal shirt cuff, which makes it a good choice if you plan to wear it with formal attire.
Its size, again, is versatile. It isn’t lost on a huge wrist like a dress watch from the 1950s, and it doesn’t take too much space even on the wrist of a teenager.
Perhaps, I would feel more inspired if the case featured some more elaborated finish, but, in its price range, it’s okay.
Its decorated dial features more or less standard layout with the sub-dial at 6 o’clock occupied by a simple calendar indicator and the moon phase display located between X and XI o’clock, closer to the chapter ring.
So far, the face is available only in two color variations: a silvered one, and an anthracite-toned, but both are legible and contrasting enough for most circumstances.
As usual, there is no lume present neither on the hands, nor on the hour markers, but I don’t think that this is going to be a problem.
According to the Swiss company, the Maestro Moonphase will be powered by the caliber RW4500 automatic movement, which is based on a Sellita blank caliber (probably, a modified SW200.) Sellita makes good quality mechanisms that are designed to occupy the market niche, which is soon to be vacated by ETA that gradually halts selling their blank calibers to third-party manufacturers. The movement is reliable enough and if you happen to have a good service station in your hometown to properly care about the mechanism, you are golden.
It is promised that the collection will be introduced in a couple of months during the Baselworld 2011 event. We hope to get a better look at this model there.
Photos: Raymond Weil
Raymond Weil Maestro Moonphase (Ref. 2839-STC-00209) specification
Price: $2500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RW4500 (base Sellita,) 26 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, moon phase
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 39.50 mm
Case height: 10.50 mm
Hands: Steel, Breguet-type
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather