Raymond Weil Pilot Flyback Chronograph 7783

Green Means Go: A Closer Look at the Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition from Raymond Weil

This attractive flyback chrono is the Swiss-based brand’s first pilot’s watch, and it is robust, rugged, and ready to take flight.

By Rhonda Riche

Released in June 2023 during a flurry of watch releases (and holiday travel headaches), the Raymond Weil Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph is a testament to the fact that, when done right, a pilot’s watch is one of the most compelling kinds of tool watches.

So, while Raymond Weil is a brand that flies under the radar, it deserves more accolades than it gets. That is why Watchonista is happy to take this opportunity to go hands on with this handsome watch and give it its props.

Learning to Fly

As an independent watchmaker, the family-owned Raymond Weil has never danced to anyone else’s tune. Best known for its signature Freelancer collection and music-themed limited editions, like the Music Icons series (featuring tributes to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, among others), Raymond Weil has been quietly flexing its watchmaking skills with skeleton dials and complications such as GMTs and several wildly attractive chronographs, like its most recent release, the Freelancer Pop Chronograph Bi-Compax.

However, the green-dialed Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph 42mm marks the manufacture’s first foray into pilot’s watch territory. And it’s a very promising debut, indeed.

The Flyback

Although it has flown a bit under the trend-spotting radar, there is no denying that the flyback feature has become quite popular among enthusiasts in the past few years. We think the flyback’s growing popularity is, primarily, its practicality. That is because, when using a regular chronographs, the user must stop, reset, and restart the chronograph to time a second event.

The flyback, in contrast, resets and restarts instantaneously because it allows the wearer to use the reset function without first needing to stop the chronograph.

Inside the Raymond Weil Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph is the RW5530 automatic flyback chronograph movement. This mechanism allows a smooth and simultaneous reset and restart of the chronograph with a single pusher and has a 56-hour power reserve.

However, what makes the RW5530 movement so satisfying to mechanical purists is its fully integrated column wheel and horizontal coupling. Plus, the pushers provide a pleasurable give.

The RW5530 is also a visual delight. Through the sapphire caseback, which has a propeller motif etched into it, you can admire the blued column wheel and the W-shaped oscillating weight, which is decorated with perlage and a Côtes de Genève motif.

Flight Tag

The Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph also makes the complication look quite dashing.

First, the bright yellow central chronograph seconds hand stands out against the lush green dial to ensure maximum visibility and legibility. Add to that the small hand in the 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock and the “FLYBACK” text at 6 o’clock, both of which are also in the same striking yellow hue, and the result is a dial that features a well-balanced and symmetrical design, incorporating a two-counter layout, with a white track encircling the circumference of the dial.

Moreover, while other design details pay tribute to pilot watches of the past – for example, the applied Arabic numerals, baton-style hour and minute hands, and arrow-shaped indices at 3 and 9 o’clock, all feel appropriately antique – the dial’s micro-pebbly textured and Super-LumiNova-filled hand and hour markers has the feel of a more modern runway.

The grey PVD coating on the 42mm stainless steel case also lends a contemporary finish to this flieger. While the architecture has the long, beveled lugs of the rest of the Freelancer family, a signed screw-down onion crown – a pilot watch signature – signifies its fly status (and helps bring the water resistance up to 100m).

Finally, its rugged appearance is underlined by its chunkiness (it’s 13.8mm thick) and aesthetic elements such as riveted brown leather strap with curved ends and a push-button deployant clasp.

Pricing & Availability

The Freelancer Men’s Pilot Flyback Chronograph 42mm is limited to 400 pieces and priced at $4,195. For more information, visit Raymond Weil’s website.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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