Review: Raymond Weil Freelancer

Movement
Automatic RW1212 or mechanical RW4250
Case
Stainless steel, PDV Rose gold or Titanium coating
Strap
Leather, Stainless steel, Stainless steel with rose/yellow gold coating, rubber or textile material
Dial
Green, Silver, Grey, Blue, Black or Skeleton
Lens
Sapphire crystal with dual side anti-glare treatment
Water Resistance
< 100 metres
Lume
Yes
Dimensions
42mm
Crown
Screw-down with RW logo (or with dual pushers)
Warranty
2 years
Price
£1,100 - 3,000

Based in Geneva, the home of many great watch-makers, Raymond Weil has long had an affectionate image with many watch lovers around the world. While its products are usually made with luxury quality, they are often priced very modestly also. The Swiss company does not mean to be a paragon of “Haute Horlogerie”, but still frequently produces an ambitious fusion of value and integrity.

Mr Raymond Weil established the company in 1976, not the best time to start a Swiss watch company due to the quartz situation. It has always been Raymond Weil’s decision from the onset to go against the grain and fight with the odds positioned against them to stand out from the regular crowd. As watch companies in the 1970s and 80’s closed up, Raymond Weil did the opposite. It went from strength to strength with timepieces like the classic Othello collection. Now in 2020, Raymond Weil is one of the few family-owned Swiss watch companies and they always revered in the top ten best selling luxury Swiss watches till now. A great accomplishment for a brand with less than three decades in the industry!

The Raymond Weil Freelancer collection first launched in 2007, was developed in respect of the free-spirited man who strives to stay in charge of his destiny. It features a diverse variant of refined mechanical and automatic timepieces. The Freelancer combines classic and simple elements to produce a balanced yet special design. It has continued to reinterpret itself and stay free from every restriction. The Freelancer maintains those components through its variations over the years which form its advantages.

If there is one Raymond Weil timepiece to be added to your collection, then the Freelancer is a must-have. The watch is no-hassle, practical and is prepared for function in all styles of social and sartorial circumstances, but still solid enough to handle the regular changes of a life well-lived.

We think the Freelancer collection has an elegant, yet classic look and feel that will appeal to most men. The water-resistance is very good especially for the price point worth the watch also provides a superb host of other quality high-quality features.

Dial

The Raymond Weil Freelancer is available in a few different dial variations. There is the well-known Calibre RW212 model with the open-skeleton or balance wheel dial which comes in a variety of colours. You also have the Automatic Classic which may be a better preference for the older gentleman with a classic style. If you prefer something with more modern features, however, the Freelancer Chronograph or Half-Moon variants are certainly a pick of the bunch.

Raymond Weil Freelancer Classic Steel (Blue Dial)
Raymond Weil Freelancer Classic Steel (Blue Dial)

Raymond Weil has equipped this timepiece collection with outstanding barrel-shaped hands covered with luminescent fill. The roundedly designed hands are fixed jointly against the indexes and share an identical design. More appropriately, the hands indicate the dominant time with special precision. Misreading the markers has no hazards, and everything is legible and easy to read.

Although you may feel the open-skeleton model make readability harder, the Freelancer watch looks brilliant with the contrast in colours allowing the hour and minute indices to stand out. The Half-Moon Open Date model has a central zone in “Clou de Paris” and shows a lovely dual window rendition of the dates in a month, allowing for seamless time and day keeping.

Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Rose Gold PVD Plated Open Aperture
Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Rose Gold PVD Plated Open Aperture

The Chronograph model as expected combines sophistication with a powerful and extremely stylish aesthetic. It comes with a tachymeter or engine turned bezel options, the chronograph complication on the differing dial colour options mean it is the perfect companion for any activity or outdoor occasion.

Case

All Raymond Weil Freelancer watches in the collection come at a 42mm size. Despite its large size, it still seems to fit well on most wrists. The scale of the timepiece provides a convenient fit and the dial edge is appropriately robust to read. The case for the watch is either made up of stainless steel or stainless steel with PVD coating/plating (black or gold variants).

Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Open Case-back
Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Open Case-back

Only the Freelancer Chronograph model comes with a slightly different case outlay, as it sports a Tachymeter bezel alongside dual-pushers on either side of the screw-down crown.

As expected the standard Freelancer RW1212 comes with the reliable automatic RW1212 calibre movement named after the digits of the Raymond Weil address in Switzerland: 1212 (Grand-Lancy). The Freelancer Diver 300M model comes with the automatic Calibre RW4000, whilst the other variants come with either the RW5000 or mechanical RW4250 calibre.

Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Open Skeleton Dial Black
Raymond Weil Freelancer RW1212 Open Skeleton Dial Black

The Classic model comes with a 38-hour power reserve, whilst the Chronograph model comes with 46-hour reserve, this is impressive especially for the price point of the watches. There is 100m water resistance as standard which is also very impressive, although the Diver edition does sport up to 300 metres water-resistance (for the real divers out there).

Wearability

Regardless of its practical consign, the Raymond Weil Freelancer collection is very alluring whichever model you prefer. It combines some very fashionable design features with simple case elements. Highly polished surfaces thrive and the lugs have preferred facets next to the bracelet. The folding clasp is well designed and the double push-security structure gives peace of mind.

Raymond Weil Freelancer Half-Moon Opening Date Window (Two-tone Gold)

Raymond Weil Freelancer Half-Moon Opening Date Window (Two-tone Gold)

The watch strap options include leather, stainless steel, stainless steel with rose/yellow gold coating or textile material. It is very comfy as it felt quite soft and flexible. There is one variant available with a strong black rubber strap which is offered with small holes along the side; this is good because it allows the wrist to breathe, minimising the unpleasant sweat build-up the wearer may get with some rubber straps. We think a leather NATO strap or a canvas NATO strap would match this timepiece if there are personalisation options, even though the leather may not be as enduring as the fantastic rubber option.

Price

The Raymond Weil Freelancer above all we believe is very well priced. Too well in fact. The base Classic model can be purchased from £1,100 (€1,220 or $1,370) depending on the retailer. The Freelancer RW1212 (open-skeleton or balance-wheel) models are usually between £1,600 to £2,400 ($1,990 – $2,980 or €1,775 – €2,660).

Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition
Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix™ Limited Edition

The Freelancer Chronograph (and the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Chronograph) timepieces are at the top-end of the costing upwards of £2,500 depending on the retailer. For these prices and the quality on offer, we would certainly expect the watches in this collection to be upward of £6000+. We would have liked to possibly see the addition of high jewellery variants for the RW1212 model, maybe another year.

Review: Raymond Weil Freelancer
Final Thoughts
As one of the few remaining independent family-run Swiss watch brands, Raymond Weil has honed the art of watchmaking and ensure that the Freelancer is nothing short of brilliant in most aspects. The great price point also allows this watch to stand out even more.
Dial
Case
Wearability
Price
Positives
Great water-resistance
Very good price point
Brilliant array of dials
Great quality and well built
Negatives
Only one large size
No high jewellery alternatives
Low brand awareness
4.4
Editor's Score
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