Despite its flashy look, this automatic Raymond Weil Freelancer Lady Urban Black (Ref. 2750-BK1-05208) belongs to that extremely boring (and also extremely large) class of fashion accessories that can only get attention at times like this: when the constant flow of new releases almost dries out and there are almost no interesting objects fighting for our attention.
You know, a watch is like a song. When an author puts a verse under a spotlight that shines so bright that it almost hurts your eyes, a listener has a right to expect something brilliant to come out of that verse. In cases when the songwriter fails to deliver, the one who listens feels nothing but irritation, as things swiftly turn anticlimactic we feel like somebody tried to fool us by offering a good that actually costs nothing, nothing at all.
This new Raymond Weil Freelancer Lady Urban Black (Ref. 2750-BK1-05208) makes an impression of a perfect example of the situation. The whole piece looks nice. When combined with the right clothing and accessories, the choice of colors and materials looks almost stunning, especially if you compare the piece with other versions of the Freelancer Lady (I mean the generic-looking one that comes in steel with white mother-of-pearl dial). The device itself sports good proportions. While its 38.5 millimeters of diameter may be a bit too large for some, its thickness of fewer than 10 millimeters makes it look slender for a watch that is powered by an automatic caliber based on a mass-produced ebauche.
The movement that powers the device is a version of the Sellita SW200 blank caliber, which is a stout and dependable version of an engine produced by ETA that is now equipped with customized oscillating weight and, well, nothing more.
The thing that annoys me here is, of course, the open-heart cut-out at 12 o’clock. Raymond Weil is so proud of it that it puts the display at the top half of the dial, putting it under thousands of lumens of light. Everything, including the black-on-black color scheme, black diamonds, and even dark-grey hands, serves to highlight the this piece de resistance.
But what are we actually served here?
Well, truth be told, it is nothing but a circular cutout in the dial that allows us a glimpse at the balance wheel with its cock featuring some inexpensive perlage decoration. Usually referred to as a “poor man’s tourbillon”, the open-heart design may look good on inexpensive watches priced below $500 mark. But here, on a dressy timekeeper with its black PVD-treated body and whole 86 black diamonds decorating its thin bezel and lugs? Just give me a break.
I frankly do not understand what precludes Raymond Weil from at least partial decoration of the mechanism. Perhaps, the balance cock here is a bit too delicate for machine engraving and the watch isn’t expensive enough to justify applying hand engraving to it. But if they want to charge us almost €3000 for this specimen, can we at least have its mechanism rhodium-plated, for Pete’s sake?
Photos: Raymond Weil
Build quality: 4.5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Raymond Weil Freelancer Lady Urban Black (Ref. 2750-BK1-05208) specification
Price: €2950 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RW4200 (base Sellita SW 200), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Perlage, branded rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: Stainless steel, black PVD
Bezel: Decorated with black diamonds
Size: 38.00 mm
Case height: 9.65 mm
Numerals: Arabic, applied
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black shagreen-style calf leather with double-push security folding clasp in black steel PVD
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective