After years of numerous trials and errors, Raymond Weil has finally delivered. Their 2013 Maestro Automatic (Ref. 2867- STC-00659) is offered in an elegant, well-proportioned stainless steel case that makes even the top-tier watchmaking houses want to eat their hearts out.
Possibly inspired by a whole range of vintage timepieces (some of them dating back to prosperous 1930s), the watch still looks deliciously fresh. Its three-dimensional bezel is well-designed and, despite being thick, looks impressively light. It also matches the guilloched central part of the silver dial that, with its signature sunray pattern, brings in associations with numerous Art-Deco objects starting with the iconic Chrysler Building and going all the way to Henderson Streamline bikes with their amazingly futuristic aerodynamic bodies with lots of flowing curves and just a few chrome accents put in just the right places.
Of course, unlike the two aforementioned objects of art, this particular watch not only looks more understated and elegant, but it can actually be put on a wrist, which will probably make it even more appealing to readers of this blog. It will make you feel comfortable, too, thanks to its width of just 40 millimeters and thickness of only 9 mm: unlike many recently introduced timekeepers that speak the same design language, but are offered in defiantly oversized cases, this one actually looks delicate and thin which is impressive for a watch powered by an old-school automatic caliber.
According to RW’s press release, this particular model is powered by what they call a RW4200 self-winding movement, which is based on Sellita SW200 ebauche.
While this ETA clone will not surprise you with its ingenious design or, at least, extreme power reserve (the watch is guaranteed to work at least 38 hours before stopping, which is bearable at best), but the mechanism is reliable and fairly accurate for its type.
Frankly, I am not sure about the Breguet-type blued hands that they used for the watch, but I kinda get the idea: like car manufacturers that have to use variations of the same corporate grille on their sports coupes and commercial vans even if the latter kind looks utterly stupid as a result, Raymond Weil’s designers just had to keep some “signature” part of design that is universal across the whole family.
The railway-style minute track makes measuring short time intervals a lot easier: it certainly increases the device’s score in the ‘legibility’ department despite it having not a single molecule of Superluminova on its face.
All in all, this one makes the impression of a truly wonderful watch. If the price is right, it could be a winner. I only wish that the Swiss brand will one day introduce another variety of this timepiece that would be equipped with a hand-wound mechanism: an ultra-thin version of Maestro would totally be an instant hit among those in need of a ‘real’ dressy timekeeper on a relatively low budget.
Frankly, I would also like to see a version with a graphite grey dial and rhodium-plated hands, but that would possibly be too much to ask in a world where nothing is perfect.
Photos: Raymond Weil
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Raymond Weil Maestro (Ref. 2867-STC-00659) specification
Price: €1470 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber RW4200 (base Sellita SW200), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 40.00 mm x 48.00
Case height: 9.00 mm
Dial: Silver, sunray guilloche
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Breguet-shaped, blued
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective