Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition
The Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition has been admired by watch and music fans alike since the moment it was first revealed. Recently, Steve Ashby took great pleasure in getting up close with this music-themed chronograph.
Raymond Weil has built a reputation over the years for its close relationship with the music industry. Simply glancing at the brand’s collection names, eg Tango, Maestro and Toccata, it is easy to connect the dots.
In recent years Raymond Weil has collaborated with some illustrious names from the field of music, such as Gibson, the famous guitar specialist, and Marshall, known for its range of amplifiers. Furthermore, the Genevan watch brand has also celebrated the work of world-renowned music icons, including The Beatles and Buddy Holly, creating timepieces destined to be prized heirlooms in years to come.
The latest limited edition watch from the luxury marque is probably my favourite Raymond Weil timepiece to date. It is the ticking embodiment of the legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix and celebrates 50 years since his famous performance at Woodstock in 1969. Released late last year, the Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition instantly catches the eye. However, look more closely and you will discover a plethora of details.
Presented in dark grey, the dial is teeming with references to Hendrix’s musical career. The silver-toned hour markers resemble single-coil guitar pick-ups, while the six lines which encircle the dial mimic the appearance of guitar strings. Hendrix’s name is emblazoned on the chapter ring next to his famous quote, “Music is my religion”. In the centre of the dial is a small patterned section, resembling the strap worn by Hendrix during his Woodstock performance. It may sound excessive, but just in the same way Jimi Hendrix was adept at delivering a masterful and extravagant performance, this tribute watch also proves very impressive.
Equipped with a chronograph, the Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix features two generously-sized subdials situated at 6 and 12 o’clock with a small seconds dial located at 9 o’clock. A day-date indication also resides at the 3 o’clock position.
Contrasting against the monochrome dial, the hands relating to the chronograph are presented in electric blue. In addition, the central chronograph seconds hand features a counterweight resembling a guitar headstock and provides another subtle respectful nod to Mr Hendrix. Close inspection of the counterweight reveals the headstock has been flipped. This is an ingenious reference to Hendrix’s preference for playing a restrung right-handed guitar upside-down, rather than a left-handed guitar played in the customary fashion.
The 42mm case is presented in brushed stainless steel with an application of grey PVD coating, providing the perfect foil for the detail-rich dial. Raymond Weil has placed its initials on a screwed-down crown, which is positioned at 3 o’clock. The simple chronograph pushers resemble volume and tone controls typically seen on an electric guitar, complementing the overall aesthetic of the piece well. I am unsure whether this latter detail was intentional or simply a happy coincidence, but either way it proves a delightful touch.
To the rear, a smoked sapphire glass dominates the caseback. It has been embellished with the Authentic Hendrix logo which augments the model’s visual appeal and provides a welcome reassurance that the watch has received the estate’s seal of approval. Indeed, Jimi Hendrix’s own family had some involvement designing the watch. In addition, the watch is supplied with a certificate of authenticity signed by Jimi’s sister, Janie Hendrix.
The watch is presented on a brown calf leather strap with decorative double stitching. The piece is completed by a stainless steel folding clasp bearing the Raymond Weil emblem.
The watch is endowed with Raymond Weil’s RW5200 movement which has seen service in some of the brand’s other Freelancer models. It is based on a Valjoux 7750 calibre, a revered chronograph movement widely used in the watch industry. Delivering an impressive blend of reliability, robustness and value, the self-winding movement features 25 jewels and will run autonomously for up to 48 hours. It has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz).
In this instance, the Valjoux 7750 calibre has been modified and features a Raymond Weil rotor and embellished with Côtes de Genève decoration. Although the view of the movement is slightly obscured by the Authentic Hendrix logo and smoked sapphire glass, it remains visible via the exhibition caseback.
From the moment the Genevan watch firm released the Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition I was immediately smitten and it now sits on my rapidly growing ‘watches to buy’ list.
The mid-sized 42mm case is a delight to wear, neither feeling heavy nor over-sized. The calf leather strap is soft and luxurious and its brown hue makes it the perfect accompaniment to casual and formal wear.
Over the years, Raymond Weil has gained a reputation for delivering quality watches at keen prices. This Jimi Hendrix model upholds this reputation. Limited to just 500 pieces worldwide, it grants a high degree of exclusivity. The dial is comprised of numerous bespoke parts, specifically crafted for the model’s stunning dial and yet the watch costs a mere £2,795, representing exceptional value.
Lastly, this watch provides a tasteful tribute to an incredibly talented musician, however, its appeal is not limited merely to his many loyal fans, but to horophiles who appreciate style, mechanical integrity and value for money.
- Model: Raymond Weil Freelancer Jimi Hendrix
- Reference: 7730-STC-JHDX1
- Case: Stainless steel with grey PVD coating; diameter 42mm; height 13.9mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystals to front and caseback.
- Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph
- Movement: RW5200 automatic movement (based on Valjoux 7750); frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours
- Strap: Brown calf leather with stainless steel PVD coated folding clasp
- Price: £2,795 including VAT (RRP as at 9.2.2020)
- Limited Edition: 500 pieces
The press sample was kindly provided by https://www.jurawatches.co.uk