raymond weil freelancer pop chronograph bi compax 000

Raymond Weil’s Newest Freelancer Goes Pop!

What does the dial of Raymond Weil’s new lightweight pulsometer-equipped chronograph remind you of? A retro appliance? Maybe even a sleek surfboard or vintage guitar body? Whatever it is, we’re willing to bet you’ve not seen this stylish color combo on a watch in a while (or, if you’re newer to the hobby, ever).

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

I don’t claim to be much of a fashion mavin; however, neither would I consider myself to be its victim. But in the heyday of the neo-rockabilly revival in the late 1980s, I purchased a very cool pair of Elvis-worthy creepers (in fact, niche footwear makers Straight to Hell still make something similar today).

Mine were black leather with light blue suede uppers and contrast stitching. As edgy as they were, they went well with everything in my wardrobe, and I wore the living bejesus out of them. They were badass. I only wish I still had them so I could wear them with this uncanny new timepiece from Raymond Weil.

My shoes – and my references to retro guitars and such above – are particularly apt as it turns out, as Raymond Weil pegs the appeal of the Freelancer Pop Chronograph Bi-Compax as a tribute to live music, something core to the heart of a watchmaker that has produced so many commemorative timepieces with legendary recording artists (including The Beatles, David Bowie, AC/DC, Bob Marley, and others).

However, when speaking about the Freelancer Pop Chronograph Bi-Compax, the brand’s connection to the music is more about a vibe than a specific artist.

Catch The Vibe

The unique dial work on the limited-edition Freelancer Pop starts as a light grey in the center, graduating to darker gray and finally an almost black, grooved black surface (think vinyl LP grooves).

After the grooves, hour markers, and chronograph seconds ring, you hit the soft turquoise of the pulsometer ring, which matches the turquoise sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock beautifully (these sub-dials are a 30-minute tallier and a small seconds, respectively.) The turquoise is picked up yet again on the vibrant central seconds hand and badging on the adjustable tachymetric bezel ring and on the rotor, with the latter being visible via the exhibition caseback.

Throw in an intriguing musical-meets-cursive date font to the date window at 6 o’clock, mushroom pushers, and a classic five-piece link bracelet, and you begin to feel the vintage vibe. However, by now, more than merely “feeling” its vintage vibes, you’ve probably realized this watch is somehow familiar to you, but you just can’t quite put your finger on why.

That’s because the Raymond Weil Freelancer Pop Chronograph Bi-Compax references a boatload of mid-century design cues (dual-color design, the surf scene, rockabilly, and so on) and weaves it all together so expertly that it also feels like something modern (with its snailed hour indices, barrel-shaped hands, and abundance of lume) that you haven’t seen before.

Modern Touches

In addition to the contemporary design elements on the outside of the Freelancer Pop, the modern RW5030 automatic movement provides a healthy 56 hours of power reserve inside of it. Add in the 43.5mm titanium case and bracelet (also made from titanium), and the Freelancer Pop delivers a comfortable, ultra-light wear.

In fact, I can think of only one other modern-era tribute to mid-century design that worked this well: Ford’s late-1990s Thunderbird redux. Are you catching my drift, boppers?

Pricing & Availability

I can think of at least two uses for the included pulsometer ring, right off the bat (which is gauged to easily detect someone’s heart rate): Measuring stress at the fact that the Freelancer Pop Chronograph Bi-Compax is limited to only 400 pieces or tallying the beat of joy once you’ve secured yours.

That said, expect to pay to $3,995 for the thrills. Find yours at a Raymond Weil retailer near you or via the watchmaker’s website. And remember, run, don’t walk (and indulge me for the apt musical reminder here).

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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