Raymond Weil

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Raymond Weil Genève
Type Family-owned independent Swiss luxury watches brand
Industry Watch manufacturing
Founded 1976
Founders Raymond Weil
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Key people Olivier Bernheim CEO
Raymond Weil (Chairman)
Elie Bernheim (Marketing)
Pierre Bernheim (Sales)
Products Wristwatches, timing devices/systems, fashion accessories, Swiss luxury watches
Website www.raymond-weil.com

Raymond Weil Genève (French pronunciation: ​[ʁemɔ̃ vɛːj]) is a Swiss luxury watchmaker, founded in 1976 in Geneva. It is a family company founded by Raymond Weil (1926-2014),[1][2] and now managed by Olivier Bernheim (Weil's son in law) and his two sons, Elie and Pierre Bernheim. It is one of the last independent brands in the Swiss watch industry.[3][4]

Tango-5599-st-00659

History[edit]

  • 1976: Raymond Weil creates the company at a time when the Swiss watch industry is in turmoil due to the Quartz crisis.[5]
  • 1982: Olivier Bernheim, Raymond Weil's son-in-law, joins the company, underlying the family commitment.[6]
  • 1983: The Amadeus collection is launched in conjunction with Miloš Forman's world acclaimed film of the same name.[7]
  • 1986: Launch of the Othello collection. This ultra-thin timepiece (1.2mm) plays a great part in the worldwide success of RAYMOND WEIL.[8]
  • 1988 : Launch of the Traviata collection[9]
  • 1991 : Launch of the Parsifal collection.[7]
  • 1994: The award-winning Precision Movements advertising campaign consolidates RAYMOND WEIL's image as Brand committed to the arts.[10]
  • 1995: Launch RAYMOND WEIL's still actual collections, Tango (one of the most famous collections).[11]
  • 1998: The Don Giovanni line is added to the collection. Launch of the Saxo collection.[7]
  • 1999: The "Celebrate the moment" advertising campaign is presented, emphasizing RAYMOND WEIL's attachment to music, art and culture worldwide. The Research & Development department is created to have full control of the watch-design process. Among other innovations, the company's R&D group created the complication for the GMT function of the famous Don Giovanni Così Grande two time zones watch and the interchangeable bracelet system for the Shine collection.[12]
  • 2001: RAYMOND WEIL celebrates its quarter of century of existence and unveils the new Othello collection.[13]
  • 2003: The new Parsifal collection is launched around the world.[13]
  • 2006: Elie and Pierre Bernheim, Mr Raymond Weil’s grandsons, join the company. This same year, the Ladies' Shine collection is launched and RAYMOND WEIL is the first luxury watch brand to propose The RW Club for their fans and watch owners[14]
  • 2007: Launch of the Nabucco and Freelancer collections. The new brand identity, logo and “Independence is a state of mind” concept was introduced.[15]
  • 2009: Launch of the Ladies' Noemia collection. Creation of the Nabucco Rivoluzione limited edition.[16]
  • 2010: Launch of the Maestro collection. Creation of the Nabucco Va, Pensiero and Freelancer Summertime limited editions.[15]
  • 2011: Launch of the Jasmine collection and Maestro 35th anniversary limited edition. Creation of the brand’s first moon phase complication movement. New advertising campaign and slogan: “Precision is my inspiration”.[15]
  • 2012: Launch of a new advertising campaign depicting musical scores taking off around the brand’s latest watches. Launch of the Maestro Phase de Lune Semainer, RAYMOND WEIL’s first automatic watch with date, day, month, week number and moon phase complications.[15]

Creation[edit]

Raymond Weil created the brand that bears his name in 1976 – a period of crisis for the watch industry. He then sets up his distribution network first in Europe and then worldwide.[5]

Weil’s son in law Olivier Bernheim enters the company in 1982 after several years working in the marketing field for Heineken and Unilever. He is appointed President and CEO in 1996 and has been working on the development of the brand’s worldwide presence since then.[6]

Elie and Pierre Bernheim, Olivier Bernheim’s sons, joined the company in 2006. Elie Bernheim (co-founder of 88 RUE DU RHONE) works as a marketing director and works on the strategic development of the brand while preserving its family identity. Pierre is a sales director and travels to develop new markets.[17][18]

Parsifal 9460-sg5-00658 – Two-tone – Silver dial

Development[edit]

Raymond Weil Genève first developed in Europe in the UK, before developing its distribution network worldwide, first starting with the United Arab Emirates and then the United States and India in the early 1980s. Olivier Bernheim created the Research and Development department in 1999 with the full control of the watch-design process as an objective. The R&D department is responsible for: the complication for the GMT function of the Don Giovanni Così Grande two time zones, the patented interchangeable bracelet system for the Shine collection, the moon phase complication on automatic movement of the Maestro collection.[19]

The brand opened in 2009 its own subsidiary in the United States – RW USA Corp., thus ending its collaboration with its historic distributor. It also created RW India Pvt. Ltd. in 2010 (100% subsidiary company in Bangalore) and opened several exclusive boutiques in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai that same year. Raymond Weil Genève watches are now sold worldwide.[20][21][22][23]

In 2013, the brand converted its distribution contract in the United Kingdom into a management agreement and created a subsidiary - R. WEIL DISTRIBUTION UK LTD - in April.[24]

The company also develops its presence online. It is the first luxury watch brand to have opened a club reserved to watch-owners. The brand was also the first in the luxury watchmaking industry on location-based social media Foursquare and the first to use Fcommerce (Facebook commerce). In September 2007 RAYMOND WEIL also became the first luxury watchmaker to create its island on Second Life. The Brand's presence on Second Life and other social media channels is part of a strategic choice to adopt new channels of communication so as to be closer to clients and convey the Brand's values.[25][26][27]

Key people[edit]

Parsifal 7260-sc5-00208 – Automatic chronograph -Two tone on leather strap

Raymond Weil (Founder and Honorary President) was born in Geneva in 1926. After he got a diploma in commerce, he entered Camy Watch S.A. – a Swiss watchmaker, in 1949 where he was to become manager and spend 26 years of his life. In 1976, during a crisis that affected the watch industry, he decided to create his own company.[28]

Raymond Weil occupied several high positions in various professional organisations: he was President of the Geneva Watchmaker Union, Vice-President of the Watchmaking Industry Training Centre (CFH), and member of the Watchmaking Federation (FH) and other employers’ associations. Until 1995, he was also President of the Exhibitors Committee of the Basel International Watch and Jewellery Fair.

Raymond Weil is married, has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren. He is passionate about classical and lyrical music but also about contemporary art. He loves flying his plane and got his flying certificate at the age of 56.[5] On 27 January 2014, the company announced that Raymond Weil died.[1]

Olivier Bernheim (President and CEO): He was born in 1954 in Strasbourg (France) and has a law degree from the management school of Strasbourg (France). He started his career at Kronenbourg, before he became Marketing Development Manager at Unilever in Paris.

He joined Raymond Weil Genève S.A. in 1982 [28] and became President and CEO in 1996. His mission was to restructure, develop and consolidate the image and international presence of the brand, without it losing its family identity. Olivier Berhneim shares Mr Weil's interest in music and art and has oriented the brand universe in that direction. He founded the research and development department in 1999.

Olivier Bernheim is both Swiss and French and is married to Mr Weil’s elder daughter Diana, a professional pianist. They have three children together: Elie, Pierre and Noémi.[25]

Elie Bernheim (maketing Director) is Olivier Bernheim’s elder son. After graduating from the prestigious Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and creating his own import-export textile company, Elie joined the family company in 2006. His mission is to plan the brand’s strategic development. Just like his father and grandfather, he enjoys music and owns a professional diploma in cello. Among his various projects and developments, one can count the renewal of the collections, change of Raymond Weil Genève’s corporate identity, creation of new male and female advertising campaigns with famous Swiss photographer Joël von Allmen and the Nabucco advertising.[25]

Pierre Bernheim (sales Director) is Mr Weil’s grandson and the second son of Olivier Bernheim and joined the company in 2006. Already graduated in accounts, Pierre graduated in International Business and Administration from La Haute Ecole de Gestion in Geneva. Interested in finance, he worked in Institutional Asset Management for Mirabaud Bank, one of the most famous Swiss private banks. He is passionate about aviation and owns several flying certificates: a flying licence, a high aerobatic flying licence and a seaplane licence.[18][25]

Watch collections[edit]

Noemia 5932-sts-00995 – 32 mm – Steel on steel 62 diamonds
Nabucco 7700-tir-05207 – Steel and titanium – Intenso special edition
Freelancer 7730-STC-65025 – Automatic chronograph – Steel on leather strap rose gold indexes and hands
  • Jasmine (2011) – Jasmine is a ladies collection and offers its models in two diameters and both quartz and automatic movements.
  • Maestro (2010)- Maestro proposes both ladies' and men's watches. The collection was enhanced in 2011 with Maestro phase de lune watches, which as their name suggests is equipped with a moon phase complication. That same year also saw the creation of the Maestro 35th anniversary edition to celebrate the brand’s 35 year of activity in the watchmaking field, and a special edition to benefit the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
  • Noemia (2009) – The name is a reference to Mr Weil’s granddaughter – Noémi. It is a ladies collection and offers two diameters and is exclusively manufactured with a quartz movement. A special edition Noemia Sweet October was designed in 2010 to benefit Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer foundation – Komen for the Cure.
  • Nabucco (2007) – This men's collection was named after Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the same name. It is a fully mechanical collection and has been enhanced by several limited editions: Cuore Caldo (2008), Rivoluzione (2009), Va, Pensiero (2010), Inverso (2011), Intenso (2012), Cuore Vivo (2012).
  • Freelancer (2007) – Freelancer is both a ladies' and a men's collection. Its name is a homage to Mr Weil and his desire to remain independent. This collection saw the introduction of a balance wheel visible through an aperture on the dial and the creation of a mechanical range for ladies. The collection was enhanced with special models: Freelancer Black 8, Freelancer Autumn Time, Freelancer Crazy Time, Freelancer Lady Sunshine and Freelancer Urban Black.
  • Shine (2006) – Shine is an exclusively feminine collection. Its distinctive characteristic is the patented interchangeable bracelet system which allows the wearer to easily change the strap. Each watch is sold with a leather or denim strap as well as a metal bracelet. This collection is exclusively manufactured with a quartz movement.
  • Don Giovanni Cosi Grande (2002) – This all male collection is fully mechanical and exclusively composed of square dial models. They include chronograph, two time zones and jumping hour mechanical complications.
  • Don Giovanni (1998) – 14 years after the launch of the Amadeus collection, Raymond Weil Genève pays a new homage to Austrian composer Mozart with this collection. It is now discontinued.
  • Flamenco (1998) – This collection once again illustrated Raymond Weil Genève’s attachment to the arts. It was composed of both feminine and masculine timepieces. It is now discontinued.
  • Saxo (1998) – The Saxo collection paid homage to jazz music and included both men and ladies watches, and automatic and quartz movements. It is now discontinued.
  • Allegro (1998) – Created for both ladies and men, Allegro was mainly made of steel and gold plating and produced in quartz, automatic movement and chronograph. It is now discontinued.
  • Tema (1998) – Tema is an all-ladies collection inspired by the art deco style. It is considered RAYMOND WEIL’s first jewel-like watch collection. It was exclusively manufactured with quartz movements. It is now discontinued.
  • W1 (1997) – The W1 collection was produced to breathe fresh life into the brand and attract a young and trendy generation. There were 6 different coloured dials and models for both men and women. W1 were the first watches by Raymond Weil Genève to be partly made of carbon fibre. It is now discontinued.
  • Duo jubilee (1996) – This limited edition collection was designed to celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary. The dial could indicate the time from two different time zones and was powered by a double quartz movement. It is now discontinued.
  • Tango (1995) – This collection is composed of both feminine and masculine watches. It is still available in 2012.
  • Toccata (1996) – This collection is said to be a tribute to the art of composing. It was a quartz only collection. It is now discontinued.
  • Tradition (1994) -The Tradition collection is both a ladies and a men’s collection and is composed of quartz and mechanical movements. It is still available in 2012.
  • Parsifal (1991) -The collection is named after Wagner’s opera and is the brand’s first stainless steel and 18k gold collection. 1992 saw the launch of the ‘golden jewellery and diamonds’ line (“ligne joaillerie or et diamants”). The collection was relaunched in 2010, 20 years after its creation and is still available in 2012.
  • Traviata (1988) – This collection was often described as “stained-glass-window-like” due to the different colours used to decorate the dials. It was an all lady collection and is now discontinued.
  • Othello (1986) – This collection was launched to celebrate Raymond Weil Genève’s tenth anniversary and saw Raymond Weil Genève’s first moon phase complication (Othello moon phase collection). Othello was famous for its ultra-thin timepieces (1.2mm thick). It was relaunched in 2001 for the 25th anniversary of the brand which for the occasion associated with music band Bond. It is now discontinued.
  • Fidelio (1985) – The collection was named after Beethoven’s only opera. It was manufactured with both round and square dials. It is now discontinued.
  • Amadeus (1983) – This collection marks the beginning of the influence of music and the arts on collection names. Named after the classical Austrian composer Mozart, the collection was launched in conjunction with Miloš Forman’s critically acclaimed film of the same name. It is now discontinued. 1992 saw the launch of Amadeus 200: the brand’s first sports watch (water-resistance to 200 meters). It is now discontinued.
  • Golden Eagle (1979) – This collection was composed of sporty octagonal watches which were exclusively manufactured with quartz movement. This collection is now discontinued.

Advertising[edit]

Freelancer 2710-st-20021 – Automatic open balance wheel – Steel on steel black dial 42mm

The brand marked its first association with the arts in 1983 when it launched its Amadeus advertising campaign in conjunction with Milos Foreman’s motion picture of the same name. From that moment, almost all collection names were to be music-inspired.[7]

In 1989, the brand shots its Eternity advertising campaign in Iceland and associated a new slogan to it: ‘When time is creation’. The campaign displayed watches through water, earth, wind and fire.[7]

The Precision Movements campaign shot in 1994 is probably one of the most popular as it was directed by John Booth and shot by acclaimed photographer Lois Greenfield. It portrayed dancers in mid-air symbolising the essence of the campaign. This campaign was awarded the 1995 London International Advertising Award. It consolidated RAYMOND WEIL's image as a Brand committed to the arts.[7][29]

The Celebrate the Moment advertising campaign is launched in 1998 and emphasised Raymond Weil Genève’s attachment to music, art and culture.

The Time to Celebrate campaign was launched in 2003. It focused on the timepieces and placed them against black backgrounds and hard shadows.

2005 saw the partnership between Raymond Weil Genève and actress Charlize Theron who became the ambassador of the brand for a few months.

The new Nabucco campaign and slogan Independence is a State of Mind were released in 2007. The campaign reveals the determination of the Nabucco man in his choice of independence and freedom.

Precision is my inspiration (2011) depicts a man and a woman in a rich musical universe. It was shot at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. The brand abandoned its Independence is a State of Mind slogan in favour of a new one: Precision is My Inspiration.[30][31][32][33][34]

In 2013, a corporate film of the same name was launched in conjunction with a dedicated microsite to advertise the brand’s attachment to music. The film draws a parallel between the creation of a watch and that of a musical piece. The microsite received several awards.[35][36]

Charity actions[edit]

Fight against cancer : the brand has been involved with several charities – mainly charities fighting against cancer, and has taken part and organised several online sales of limited edition timepieces to support them over the years. Charities that benefited from these donations include the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), Komen for the Cure, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Singapore Cancer Society and the Onco-hematology unit of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG).[37][38][39][40][41][42]

The Onco-hematology unit of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) : Additional actions to the online sale were undertaken to support the Onco-hematology unit of the Geneva University Hospital. In conjunction with the 2012 BASELWORLD fair, Raymond Weil Genève put up for sale on its Facebook page a Maestro watch limited to 5 pieces and engraved with the mention “maestro Mouvement d’Espoir – Edition Spéciale 2012”. The proceeds from the sale were doubled by Raymond Weil Genève and donated to the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Unit of Geneva University Hospital.[43]

VH1 Save The Music Foundation  : Music being at the heart of the brand universe as clearly shown through collection names and various advertising campaigns, and to assert its authority in the milieu, Raymond Weil Genève started collaborating in 2011 with VH1 Save The Music Foundation, a charity working to restore music education programs in the United States of America. This collaboration started with an application on the brand’s official Facebook page in 2011. Fans could click a button to add 1 dollar to a counter. The counter was updated with each new click of the button to display the amount of the donation Raymond Weil Genève would make to the charity. The Swiss watchmaker also partnered with Elle Women in Music organised by VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and auctioned a watch signed by celebrities (including Jessie J, Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger and Oh Land) on the occasion of the Elle Women in Music event in Hollywood in April 2012. The proceeds from this auction sale were donated to VH1 Save The Music Foundation.[44][45][46][47][48][49]

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy : Nordoff-Robbins is one of UK’s largest music-oriented charities. RAYMOND WEIL has been a partner and designing exclusive watches with renowned artists like Lemar and Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay since 2000. These timepieces are auctioned during the annual Silver Clef Lunch and the proceeds donated to Nordoff-Robbins.[50][51] In 2013, the company presented American band Vampire Weekend with the RAYMOND WEIL International Artist Award.[52]

WWF : Raymond Weil Genève was an official partner of the 2007 WWF Panda Ball Gala which took place in Montreux (Switzerland). A lottery was organised to raise funds to protect the Mediterranean Sea and RAYMOND WEIL provided the first prize of the Panda Ball lottery: an 18K gold Parsifal watch studded with diamonds.[53]

Engagement in the Arts & Music[edit]

The Bourse RW was created by Mr Weil in 1986 to support young musicians and help them give public and radio-broadcast recitals.

Brit Awards : Raymond Weil Genève has been the official watch and timing partner of the Brit Awards since 2008. Each year, the company designs a special edition watch awarded to each presenter, nominee and artist. In 2012 and 2013, it hosted a pre-Brit dinner party in London with some of the most promising British artists.[54][55][56][57]

Royal Albert Hall: RAYMOND WEIL has been an official timing partner of the Royal Albert Hall in London since July 2013, further strengthening its position as a brand highly involved in the music industry.[58]

Wired: In 2013 RAYMOND WEIL started a partnership with Wired, a live music platform based in London that supports emerging music artists.[59][60][61]

Classic Brit Awards The partnership with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) through the Brit Awards was reinforced in 2011 when Raymond Weil Genève became a partner of the Classic Brit Awards. A special Limited Edition Raymond Weil Genève Maestro watch was presented to performers, presenters and winners during the evening. Each watch was engraved with that year's Classic BRIT Awards 2011 logo.[62]

International Photo Competition : The Brand offers artists the chance to take their first steps on the road to success through the RW Club International Photography Prize. With a cash prize and exposure to international audiences through partnerships with institutions such as Aperture Foundation, Raymond Weil Genève has established a platform for emerging artists in the field of photography.[63][64][65]

New Music Talents : Raymond Weil Genève organised in 2011 a New Music Talent competition inviting amateur musicians to create a track inspired by the Swiss watch brand. The contest was hosted on eYeka’s co-creation platform and the winner was awarded a 5.000USD cash prize, as well as a Raymond Weil Genève timepiece and the promotion of the winning track on the brand’s website and Facebook page.[66][67][68]

3rd Vienna Filmball : The brand was a partner of the third Vienna Filmball and awarded watches to the artists.

Spring Awakening : In February 2012, the brand was a sponsor of the Spring Awakening musical produced by Singapore Company Pangdemonium Productions. Some the leading artists of the musical performed at the opening ceremony of a new exclusive Raymond Weil Genève boutique in Singapore.[69]

Home House London : The brand hosted series of live gigs at the Home House in London (United Kingdom) throughout 2010 and 2011, thus supporting upcoming talents by broadcasting their videos on its YouTube channel and Facebook page and presenting them with Raymond Weil Genève timepieces.[70][71]

Songwriter Music Series : The Songwriter Music Series to benefit VH1 Save the Music Foundation is yet another musical event to with RAYMOND WEIL associated. RAYMOND WEIL hosted a contest on their Facebook page to offer tickets to the event.[72][73]

American Idol : Raymond Weil Genève partnered with American Idol music contest in 2010 and 2011 and offered a timepiece to each of the finalists.

Celebrity Charades: in 2012 and 2013, RAYMOND WEIL was a partner of the Labyrinth Theater Company and of their annual benefit gala.[74]

Distinctions & Awards[edit]

The Geneva watchmaker was awarded the 2007 Industry Award by the State of Geneva and the Office for the Promotion of Industry and Technology (OPI), in association with the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG). The main objective of the Industry Award, initially created by the City of Geneva in 1985, is to honour and promote innovative Geneva industrial organizations, which are able to demonstrate their adaptability to the evolution of time.

Raymond Weil Genève was elected Best Watch Brand by easyJet travellers in 2010 after a survey launched in the summer of 2009 – the easyJet Traveller Readers' Awards. Passengers had to vote online for their favourite products, places and services across the network. The Swiss watchmaker registered 110'000 votes.[75][76]

The Precision is my Inspiration microsite received various awards for design and innovation: FWA Award (site of the day), CSSA (featured), Awwwards (site of the day), French Design Index (site of the day), html Inspiration (featured in “Most loved”), One Page Love (featured on “Most Loved”) CSSWINNER (winner of the day), Design Licks (site of the day).[77][78][79][80][81][82][83]

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