Raymond Weil Interview with Elie Bernheim
The CEO of Raymond Weil tells us about the Geneva watchmaker’s 2018 output, and looks ahead to 2019.
We’re coming to the end of the year. Has 2018 been a good year overall for Raymond Weil?
The year is not yet over but we can already say that, given the speed at which the watch industry is evolving and transforming, it has been a rich and intense one. We’re doing our best to adapt and innovate with our watch product developments, while at the same time taking a new approach to distribution, which will bring the final customer closer to our independent family brand.
This year’s launches included the very recent new Parsifal models. What role does this collection play in Raymond Weil’s output?
The Parsifal collection is an iconic line for Raymond Weil. Reviving this collection has been one of our main objectives. We wanted to relaunch Parsifal, cultivating the original design that made it such a success for so many years across different global markets, but without betraying its origins: the gadroons on the bezel, the Roman numerals and the cross-shaped links of the bracelet. We also updated the product in line with current trends, resizing the case and simplifying some of its aesthetic elements.
Advertising campaign for Parsifal © Raymond Weil
All of the new Parsifal 2018 models are quartz. Why is that?
Our average market price is between CHF 1500 and CHF 2000, and we wanted the new Parsifal to be aligned with this positioning, in order to ensure it met with the success we hoped for. It’s possible that in due course an automatic option will be added to the current range, in order to meet the demands of a different category of customer.
One year after the launch of your first in-house movement, you have developed a skeleton version. What led to this decision?
I’m very proud of our Calibre RW1212, an in-house mechanical movement developed entirely by our own teams and produced by our faithful partner of many years, Sellita. By introducing a skeletonised version we wanted to take this development further, highlighting its refined finish and providing a genuine testament to our watchmaking savoir-faire.
Freelancer Calibre RW1212 Skeleton © Raymond Weil
In 2018 you also added to Raymond Weil’s musical limited editions. Do you have a target client in mind for these pieces?
Music and the arts are to Raymond Weil what thought is to the human race: an infinite source of inspiration and creation. This year, we developed another piece that draws its essence from the world of music, with a design inspired by the legendary rock group AC/DC, putting our wealth of expertise into the creation of a watchmaking masterpiece.
We also paid tribute to the famous amplifiers made by Marshall Amplification, with the launch of the Tango Marshall, a new, exclusive timepiece whose style and aesthetics reflect the subtle iconic features of the brand. These limited editions, which pay tribute to timeless artists, are aimed at all fans who share Raymond Weil’s values.
Freelancer AC/DC © Raymond Weil
How do you choose your musical partners?
We work with artists who are selected for their musical achievements, like the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and AC/DC, but we also seek out musical brands, like Gibson and Marshall, which make an important contribution to the performance of these great artists. What’s important to us as a watch brand is that we share the same values of emotion, precision and performance that are found in music.
Which is your favourite model of 2018?
One piece I’m particularly fond of this year is the Maestro Moon Phase. It’s simple and authentic; it was developed in the purest watchmaking tradition to provide an elegant moon phase display. The dial detailing with its Roman numerals embodies the Raymond Weil identity. The exquisite central decoration gives it a classically elegant style. I particularly like the version with a deep midnight blue dial on a Milan mesh strap. Other models come with a silvered dial on a leather strap.
Maestro Moon Phase © Raymond Weil
What can we expect to see in 2019?
We will be strengthening our close links with our distribution and retail partners, while at the same time growing closer to our end clients. These days, it’s vitally important to get to know the people who buy our brand, in order to secure their loyalty in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that we will be bringing out new timepieces in collaboration with some big names in the music industry, to further strengthen our footprint in the world of music. Our horological “discography” has only just got started, and I look forward to springing a few surprises in 2019!
And finally, we would not be half so excited about 2019 if we weren’t preparing to announce a new watch development whose originality and price point might cause some upset among industry experts!.
At the time of the Brand’s creation in 1976, Raymond Weil wanted to bring luxury Swiss watchmaking within the reach of a wider public. This visionary approach, always dear to the three generations, has enabled the Brand to develop internationally, within the space of only a few decades.Find out more >
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