Raymond Weil Freelancer "Gibson Les Paul"
The watch brand known for its close links with the music world is turning its attention to rock.
What do Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Paul Personne have in common? As well as being exceptional guitarists, they have all, at one time or another, played the legendary Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, which exists in dozens of versions. Led Zeppelin’s lead guitarist was even chosen by Gibson to have his own dedicated “signature” model: the “Les Paul Jimmy Page Signature”.
While many people have heard the name Les Paul, there are not many who know that the inventor of the solid body electric guitar was actually called Lester William Polsfuss. The guitarist, composer and inventor, who lived from 1915 to 2009, designed the guitar as a solution to the feedback problems often found in semi-acoustics. The first Les Paul left the Gibson workshop in 1952. Over the years, it would become the most iconic model the Nashville firm ever made, and a rock guitar classic. The Les Paul sound has become part of rock history, and is the signature of some of the most recognisable guitar solos.
In 2015, Raymond Weil signed a partnership with Gibson Brands, and introduced the nabucco Gibson, a special edition limited to 200 pieces, inspired by the Gibson SG Standard. Today, the Gibson Les Paul freelancer chronograph, which has a more rebellious rock ‘n’ roll vibe, has been launched under the impetus of Raymond Weil’s CEO as a tribute to the influence of rock music on his youth. “When I was a kid, my mother introduced me to the world of music, firstly piano and then string instruments,” explains Elie Bernheim. “I discovered rock ‘n’ roll and the riffs of electric guitars during performances by Slash alongside Lenny Kravitz and Guns N’ Roses. Music has the ultimate power of making an impression on people. It doesn’t matter what kind of music catches our fancy, nobody can remain unmoved by a virtuoso’s skill.”
The Gibson Les Paul freelancer has a number of aesthetic details borrowed from the fabled guitar: six guilloché grooves around the perimeter of the black dial represent guitar strings, with fret-shaped hour markers to complete the resemblance to a guitar neck, as seen on the 2015 Nabucco Gibson; the 43.5 mm steel case, water resistant to 100 m, is topped with a tachymetric bezel with black PVD accents, inspired by the black lacquer finish of the legendary “Black Beauty” Les Paul; and the gold split-diamond inlay alongside the date between 4 and 5 o’clock is taken from the Les Paul Custom models, top of the Les Paul range, which had a headstock inlaid with the motif in mother-of-pearl. The gold colour is also found on the chronograph counters, the Les Paul signature at 12 o’clock and the top-stitching of the perforated ebony calfskin strap.
The timepiece is driven by the automatic chronograph calibre RW5010, with a 46-hour power reserve. The chronograph functions – seconds in the centre, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12 hours at 6 o’clock – are accessed via two push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock. The date is adjusted via a corrector button at 10 o’clock. The sapphire crystal caseback is signed with the Gibson logo, and bears the number of the edition, limited to 300. Each watch comes in an aged brown leather presentation case inspired by Gibson guitar cases.
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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