Early Access: The New Raymond Weil Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition
Building on the success of its Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton Automatic, the Geneva-based brand Raymond Weil has created another watch that displays all the glory of its automatic movement: the Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition.
Already an incredibly appealing timepiece, in terms of its design, what makes the newly released Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition nigh on irresistible is its price. At the cost of only $3,075, this timepiece is much more affordable than traditional skeletonized watches, and it’s a limited edition to boot.
So, without further ado, Let’s take a closer look at the new Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition from Raymond Weil!
A Down-to-Earth Price for a Lofty Movement
Most collectors yearn for a skeletonized watch, but astronomical price tags often keep them out of reach for the vast majority of people who want one. Luckily, Raymond Weil has heeded the call of would-be-skeletonized-watch-owners who don’t have an unlimited budget with today’s release of the Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition.
A “skeletonized,” more formally referred to as an “openworked,” movement is a movement that has many of its parts cut away, enabling a view of the mechanical inner workings of the watch. Instead of solid plates and bridges that obscure the view of other watch components, the openworked timepiece allows the wearer to see into the watch’s very heart.
Essentially, the movement is stripped down to its bare bones (or skeleton) with only the connective metal “tissue” necessary for the mechanics to function left behind. Thus, when an openworked timepiece is held up to the light, the owner can literally see through it. Of course, for a timepiece to truly be labeled as “skeletonized,” the watch’s dial and caseback must also be see-through.
Traditional Skeletonized watches
Traditionally, skeletonized watches are made by carving out and filing down movement parts of an existing movement. Moreover, as much of this work is done by hand as is possible, conventionally speaking.
A painstaking process, skeletonizing a movement is exacting work that can take 30 hours or more to complete. Human error can also come into play here. For instance, if the movement is reduced too much, it will crack or bend, rendering it useless, and the watchmaker will have to start the process all over.
So, with these factors in mind, it’s easy to understand the high price tags of conventional hand-carved skeletonized watches.
Raymond Weil’s Thoroughly Non-Traditional Approach
However, Raymond Weil, on the other hand, approaches crafting its skeletonized watch movements in an entirely different way. Specifically, it’s nearly all done using a machine. Instead of starting with a “solid” movement, Raymond Weil’s openworked movement is made from the get-go with machine-made, pared-down parts. The brand has even teamed with renowned movement maker Sellita to craft these ground-breaking see-through movements.
By using a CNC (computer numerical control) machine, Sellita takes away the human element - reducing the movement-making cost and, just as important, the likelihood of error. As explained by Raymond Weil in a press release, “The mainplate and bridges are milled using a CNC machine, working to tolerances measured in hundredths of millimeters. Various calculations are made using computer modeling in order to ensure the rigidity of the movement is optimized, thereby conferring precision and reliability.”
So now that we’ve established the unique qualities of the new Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition and why it can be offered at such an appealing price point, let’s check out how it looks.
Blue and White
The Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition, which measures 42.5mm across and 10.6mm thick, is crafted of stainless steel with a gray PVD coating. Plus, it features a rich blue flange marked with a minute track that encircles the skeletonized dial. Plus, the Raymond Weil maker’s mark sitting atop the minute track is visible yet subtle so as not to distract from the intricate movement.
Additionally, bright white Arabic numerals and barrel-shaped hands filled with Super-LumiNova offer a great contrast with the movement, significantly enhance its at-a-glance readability, whether in daylight or complete darkness.
And at 6 o’clock, the calibre RW2785’s balance wheel, the Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition’s continually beating heart, is visible. Meanwhile, at 12 o’clock, the openworked barrel displays the mainspring.
Finally, on the reverse side of the watch, the caseback is screwed down with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Each watch is engraved “USA Limited Edition” in red and individually numbered.
Pricing & Availability
The new Blue Skeleton Freelancer Limited Edition Limited from Raymond Weil is only available in the United States and is restricted to 200 pieces. And with a price of only $3,075, it’s bound to sell out quickly.
To sign up for early access to this exclusive limited edition, visit Raymond Weil’s website.
(Photography by Kat Shoulders)