While, at a recommended street price of approximately $5300, I have the impression that a normal guitarist would rather get him- or herself a vintage Gibson SG from the 1960s in mint condition, there is still a good chance that the whole bunch of 200 pieces of the limited-edition Raymond Weil Nabucco Gibson chronographs will sell like hot pancakes: guitarists have moms, dads, and spouses and this sort of people love to spoil their loved ones with nice gadgets. And this is a nice gadget indeed.
Created together with Gibson, the new version of the good old Nabucco offers the same basic design as the model that revealed back in 2007 when the Swiss brand presented the very first member of the family. It still comes in a generously proportioned body that combines steel, titanium, and ceramic and almost dwarfs an average sporty chronograph currently available on the market.
Judging by promotional pics, the new watch seems to pay tribute to the Gibson SG: an iconic guitar loved by blues and hard rock players alike that the American brand somehow manages to screw up royally for the last couple of years either with a strange number of frets or with the automatic tuning machine that Mr. Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s boss also known among the initiated ones as “Henry”, loves so much. The 2015 model range expanded in an even greater number of ways, but that’s a blog about watches, so I won’t bother you with my ranting.
Since the SG line was originally a lighter version of the legendary (and heavy as a rock) Les Paul electric guitar, the choice of a “tribute” watch is more or less legit: the combination of materials makes this huge timekeeper a lot lighter than one would expect.
To my taste, the Nabucco Gibson looks a bit raw, a bit too in your face with the way it tries to let you know it is co-branded with a piece of the American legend.
Although the way they use the famous “crown” inlay (actually, one of the most well-known headstock inlays when it comes to SGs, although people differ in their opinions when it comes to the real name of the inlay: some prefer to call it “the flower”, for example) in place of the original Arabic numeral at twelve o’clock is nice, the Gibson logo right above Raymond Weil’s own plaque looks a bit too adulating, there is a certain amount of lack of self-respect behind the move.
Speaking of branding, it is a bit funny to see that the plaque, which is mounted to the dial with two decorative screws suddenly starts looking like the iconic “stopbar” tailpiece that has become Gibson’s signature part (of course, only when it is not a guitar with a Bigsby vibrato or, God forbid, a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge installed on some of their guitars.) I believe that RW designers did this on purpose by replacing the original screws with convex heads to a pair with flat heads: just like that heavy-duty hardware that holds the tailpiece in place and allows one to adjust the part with nothing but a coin.
In its press release, the company is brief as to the movement that powers it only saying that it is called Caliber RW5010 and is good for 46 hours after being fully wound up. In these promo photos, it is not visible, but pictures of other Nabuccos with the same caliber give me the impression that it is in fact a redecorated and slightly modified version of caliber La Joux-Perret 8601 that, in its own turn, uses the good old ETA 77xx chronograph as its base.
I don’t have any information as per its reliability, but have an impression that it may be a bit more difficult to be repaired in case you don’t live in a major city in a developed country: there may be just not enough qualified service persons to deal with such a mechanism.
The movement (or at least the oscillating weight) is nicely decorated matching the overall sporty elegance of the Nabucco Gibson.
The main selling point here, as usual, is the bezel. It comes with their traditional tachymeter scale engraved in an easily legible font on the scratch-resistant silver-grey ceramic material that gives the watch that “noble” appearance it would lack if the bezel was crafted from something as common as steel.
Well, here comes the hard part. Although guitarists often hurt their backs badly staying for hours with an instrument that often weighs around ten or eleven pounds (I am not even counting the cable, strap, and a ponytail!), they are not often very sporty kind of guys that often, especially younger ones, have thin bones. If you are one of them, you may be seriously disappointed by this timepiece.
The problem is not only in the fact that the Nabucco measures whole 46 millimeters in diameter and is more than 15 millimeters thick. The real problem is that its lugs while looking relatively short when compared to the overall bulkiness of the watch, are in fact long and massive taking almost all width of a normal person’s wrists.
The fact that the crown and push-pieces are, too, massive, as is the black “alligator-pattern” rubber strap (that looks absolutely tasteless, at that), doesn’t help either.
I don’t actually criticize the choice of dimensions here: Raymond Weil keeps this collection alive for around eight years now and probably enjoys sales that are good enough to keep the model afloat, but I want you to understand what you are subscribing for: it is a huge watch that requires a big hand.
As I have already noted, the dial’s styling was sacrificed for the sake of (co)-branding, and either it is good or bad is for you to vote with your wallet.
I can’t call it a study in legibility: the sub-dials and numerous hands almost always look cluttered and busy, but it does its main function well: it is contrast and there is enough lume, so you only need just a brief glance to read current time.
I will also note that the usual black Superluminova on hands and hour markers is still there as is the usual date window between four and five o’clock (it is still too small for my taste). The chronograph hours and minutes hands at 6 and 3 o’clock respectively, as well as the central chronograph seconds hand, are still painted bright red as on their earlier model in black PVD-treated body, but you can always brag that it actually pays tribute to that “cherry red” color that immortalized by AC/DC’s Angus Young.
Price and Availability
The brand plans to limit the Raymond Weil Nabucco Gibson‘s production to just 200 numbered pieces. The asking price is around €5000 depending on your market and local taxes.
See also: Raymond Weil Freelancer Urban Black
Photos: Raymond Weil / Wikipedia
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Raymond Weil Nabucco Gibson specification
Price: $5200 USD
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RW5010 (base La Joux-Perret 8601), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Movement decoration: Open-worked oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case and Crown: Stainless steel and Titanium
Bezel: Grey ceramic
Size: 46.00 mm
Case height: 15.25 mm
Hour markers: Black Superluminova
Hands: Black Superluminova
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black alligator-pattern rubber band on titanium and polished steel safety folding clasp with double pusher
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective