Well, it has finally happened. RW’s Freelancer line has at last received a trendy chronograph model that comes in a matt black stainless steel body that was subjected to PVD treatment. While retaining the basic dimensions and dial layout of sister models, the new Raymond Weil Freelancer Urban Black (Ref. 7730 BK 05207) clearly looks different from the rest of the gang thanks to its moody, even military-style appearance.
As I have already noted, with its traditional dial layout, the new watch faithfully (even too faithfully, to my taste) preserves the characteristic elements of the growing family.
Its body still measures the same 42 millimeters in diameter and is almost 14 millimeters thick, while its setting crown remains defiantly oversized, especially when compared to the standard-sized chronograph push-pieces that are, as usual, located at 2 and 4 o’clock.
Since its Caliber RW5000 automatic movement is just a slightly redecorated version of the good old ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic ebauche (it is, for example, equipped with a black PVD treated oscillating weight, which is visible through a black tinted sapphire crystal on the back), the timekeeper sports the usual tri-compax layout of its opaline black dial.
Predictably, there is a small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock, as well as a couple of chronograph totalizers: a 30-minute counter and a 12-hour sub-dial at 12 and 6 hours respectively.
The usual arc-shaped date aperture with the traditional applique, which is secured to the dial with the signature oversized screws, is also on its usual place at 3 o’clock.
Again, quite predictably, the black features of the watch are accented with red elements: the three chronograph hands, an arrow that points at current date, as well as the tachymeter scale, which is printed on the bezel flange. It seems only logical if the black-and-red color scheme was supported by contrast stitching on its calf skin leather strap, but, regrettably, the latter comes with inconspicuous black stitching.
However, despite all of its “signature” features, the watch still looks very generic, producing a kind of “seen them all” impression. For a piece, which is clearly going to be priced around $3000*, this looks like a deadly sin.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: According to RW, the watch will indeed be priced at $3250 and it still seems way too excessive even despite the fact that the piece is powered by an ETA 7750-based movement. On the other hand, most online retailers will most probably offer huge discounts on this timekeeper, so, if you are really interested in one, you should probably spend some time searching for the best deal. This one is not of those accessories that you buy on impulse.
Photos: Raymond Weil
Raymond Weil Freelancer Urban Black Automatic (Ref. 7730 BK 05207) watch specification
Price: $3250 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RW5000, based on ETA Valjoux 7750 ebauche, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: Black oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, day of week, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel, treated with black PVD
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.70 mm
Lug width: No data
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: None
Hands: Black steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black matt finish, full skin calf leather strap with anthracite stitching, resistant elastomer lining, equipped with a RW folding clasp, opening with a double push-piece security
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides
Case back: Sapphire, black tinted