On the Wrist:Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton Watch

When Raymond Weil designed the Calibre RW1212, their first ever in-house design (produced by Sellita), I suspect part of the mandate was to show it off, hence the open escapement prominently on display — literally showing off a movement they’re rightfully proud of. Well, Raymond Weil doubled down at Basel 2018, exposing not just the escapement but the whole dial, thanks to a new series of skeletonised Freelancers.

As you’d expect, there’s a range of new offerings on the table, but the one that impressed us was this modern sporty number, with what remains of the dial done in crisp white, with contrasting blue hands and hour markers, with their appealing, slightly bulbous shape. It’s also worth noting that both hands and hours are lumed — a nice, useful addition. But really, the dial is dominated by the, well, lack of dial. The open-worked dial really gives you a look behind the scenes, showing off not only the escapement but the power barrel at 12 (which could, in a pinch, be used as a very, very rough power reserve indicator), and the power train on the nine o’clock side. The crown gearing is partially obscured by the Raymond Weil branding, the only asymmetrical element at play. All these movement elements are held in check with slender bridges, finished with machine perlage that gives the movement a pretty, albeit industrial, finish.

The open work continues on the rear, with a skeletonised rotor, and more extensive movement finishing than last year’s Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Watch debut. To my mind this new-look rear is a real improvement. After all, the movement is the selling point of the watch, so why not show it off fully? I’d like to see this movement treatment offered on solid dial models too.

Aside from the skeletonised selling point, this Freelancer is well sized at 42mm across; in the familiar case with a a mix of brushed and polished finishes. This particular model comes on a fairly dressy five-link bracelet with hidden clasp. Water resistance is 100 metres. We knew Raymond Weil would expand the offering of the RW1212, but I didn’t expect to see skeletonised offerings so soon, but it’s clearly a strong, distinctive look.