With the new Raymond Weil 35th Anniversary Maestro Full Calendar (Ref. 12849 G 00659), the watchmaker offers yet another generic timekeeper at a ridiculously high price. Although the brand has been in business since 1976 (it is just a couple of years younger than yours truly,) there is something fundamentally unhealthy with their self-esteem.
While an aspiring watchmaker always tries to find its own design language (even if it is as blatantly kitsch as that of Hublot or daring crude as that of Linde Werdelin) and then keeps it alive and constantly evolving, Raymond Weil prefers walking the beaten path.
The brand speaks a peculiar mix of tongues developed by others and offers watches that look like hundreds of other timepieces designed for the same niche with the same functionality.
Like the rest of the Maestro line, the new Raymond Weil 35th Anniversary Maestro Full Calendar is offered in a round, classic-styled yellow gold case with relatively short lugs and a prominent bezel made of the same material.
Classic 39.5 millimeters in diameter, it is less than 11 millimeters thick, which makes it thinner than an average timekeeper equipped with a mass-produced automatic movement.
The dial, with its barley-corn guilloche centerpiece, Breguet-styled hands, a pair of sub-dials for the calendar, and twelve black Roman numerals, is clean and easy to read.
However, as I have already noted, the layout is generic at best: there is no single feature in it that could tell you that, yes, this is a Raymond Weil watch! It looks like just another medium-priced complication dress watch of European origin.
It could very well be a close relative of the Longines Master Moon Phase or a Limes Pharo Full Calendar or any other timekeeper inspired (to say the least) by classic Breguet moon phase models.
The Swiss watchmaker doesn’t spoil us with technical details regarding this model, only saying that it is powered by a self-winding movement based on a Sellita blank caliber. It is safe to assume, that the caliber in question is the well-known SW 200 model with an extra full calendar module sitting atop it.
Raymond Weil plans to sell the 35th Anniversary model at a ridiculously high price of $10,000 U.S. dollars, which, in my opinion, isn’t justified even by today’s sky-high price of gold. There is certainly not enough gold in this timekeeper’s slender body to make it worth the dirt-cheap movement that powers the watch.
Photos: Raymond Weil
Raymond Weil 35th Anniversary Maestro Full Calendar (Ref. 12849 G 00659) specification
Movement: Automatic, based on a Sellita SW200 ebauche with a complication module, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight with vertical Geneva stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, days, months, date, moon phase
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case: 18-karat yellow gold
Size: 39.50 mm
Case height: 10.80 mm
Dial: White, guilloche
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Breguet-type, blued steel
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black natural leather strap with yellow gold pin buckle