For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

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Jonathan W. Fink
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Name: Jonathan W. Fink

For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by Jonathan W. Fink » Thu May 16, 2019 6:05 am

For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001, which I have recently purchased:

I. Introduction:

Why did I buy this watch: Most purchases of this type are subjective and emotion driven. I am of an age, 51, when Raymond Weil was the watch to own when I was just graduating from law school. I had previously owned one - a Parsifal 2841 ST 00608 - from which I traded up and ever since regretted. For a time, Raymond Weil went out of fashion as a brand/etablisseur/caser. I never quite understood why, I still felt that it was an aspirational watch company. Probably just nostalgia. As John Mayer recently said on Hodinkee, we want what we think making it meant from the time that we knew what making it meant.

Additionally, this is simply the best made affordable diver that I could find. Affordable, you say, it retails for $1750! I promise nobody need pay so much, I purchased it from Leslie Gold Watches in Los Angeles. They are authorized dealers and always give phenomenal discounts. After discounts, the Freelancer Diver came in at about $300.00 less than the new Longines Hydroconquest, about $450.00 less than the Oris Aquis, at about $700.00 less than the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 41mm with the cermaic bezel, and at about the same price as the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Skin 53, when those watches were also discounted. I will be using these other watches for comparison, two of which I have previously owned (the HydroConquest and Aquis), and two of which I have substantially handled because I considered them (the Aquaracer and the Zodiac).

This is my first blue dive watch, so I am very excited. Also, the Freelancer is Raymond Weil's very first dive watch. Now, on to the review.

II. Review:

A. Case and Case Back: 8/10:

1. Case shape: Raymond Weil has always used very round cases. This case style goes back to the original W1. The case of the Freelancer Diver is very round, without crown guards, a Raymond Weil norm, and downwardly angled long thin faceted lugs. Basically, it is a standard Raymond Weil case with lugs from a Tag Heuer Carrera. The case measures 11.8mm thick, 42.5mm in diameter, and 50.1mm or so lug to lug, and 22mm between the lugs. It is constructed from a single block of stainless steel and quite solid. The case is not overly large and of standard size for a modern dive watch. The case is entirely brushed, as befits a tool watch, except for the tops of the faceted lugs, which Raymond Weil has rendered in a high polish finish. I would describe the case as very svelte, but not the thinnest, and quite wearable, easily fitting under a shirt sleeve. Although the case in odd mix of old school Raymond Weil (round case shape) and Carrera (long thin faceted lugs), the whole thing works. I actually think that this watch looks like nothing else at this price point.

2. Caseback: The caseback is brushed, without any lettering, until a polished outer ring, with the words Stainless Steel, Sapphire, 300m/1000ft WR, and the serial number. The brushed caseback is pure Rolex. My previous Raymond Weil, the Parsifal had a saphire window on the case back, with the rest being high polished. Overall, I think the case back is suitably appropriate for a tool watch.

3. Comparison to other watches: The Hydroconquest is almost the exact same measurements but wears very large, and, my 15 year old daughter even caught this one, completely rips off the shape of the Rolex Submariner. The Aquis is larger and heavier, and wears that way. The Aquaracer and Zodiac are notably smaller but also feel quite a bit less substantial.

4. Overall grade: I am giving the case an overall grade of 8/10. I am deducting 1 point for not using industrial grade stainless steel and 1 point for the length of the lugs.

B. Crown: 8/10: The crown sits at the 3 o’clock position, is large, but no more so than most new divers, is brushed on the outside, with gear type edges, constructed from the same surgical grade stainless steel as the case. The front of the crown displays is bead blasted, except for the highly polished Raymond Weil Corporate logo. I am able to turn and screw the crown, with ease, and the crown suffers from no wobble. I am deducting 2 ponts: 1 for the large size, because I think Raymond Weil could have shrunk it by 5%, with no appreciate loss in function, and 1 point for the failure to use industrial grade stainless steel. The crown is no more or less special or useable than the crowns of the Hydroconquest, Aquis, Aquaracer, and Seawolf

C. Dial and Markers: 9/10: Disclaimer: I believe this portion of every review is almost entirely subjective:

1. Dial color: The dial is a deep ink Royal Blue. Although the dial is entirely flat, the deep ink color gives its depth it should not otherwise have.

2. The date window is especially attractive. It is a 3 date display window (a typical no, no), at the 4 o’clock position (another typical no, no), highlighted with a White outline (a final typical no, no), with a very over White date wheel with black font (a nail in the coffin typical no, no). On the inner dial side of the date window, is a bright White small arrow pointing to today’s date.

3. Dial text and tracks: In the upper 20% of the dial, just below and between the 11, 12, and 1 o’clock markers, in all capital letters, in White, are the printed words, Raymond Weil. Just below the words, Raymond Weil, with the same style, but slightly smaller font, again in White capital letters, is the word, Geneve. In the lower 20% of the dial, above and between the 5, 6, and 7 o’clock markers are the printed words, again in in White capital letters, in the same, but still even slightly smaller font is the word Automatic, and just below that, with a repeat of the above, are the printed numbers, 300m/1000ft. At the very bottom of the dial, to the immediate left and right of the 6 o’clock index, are the words Swiss Made, again in White, again in all caps, again in the same but slightly smaller font as the above text.

Surrounding the markers is a seconds track, directly printed on the dial in white, in stick form, with larger sticks ever five seconds.

4. Dial markers: The markers are all applied. They are in a stick style, but not entirely rectangular. They are all slightly bow shaped, giving them their own unique character. The only marker with a different shape is the one at the 4 o’clock position. It is approximately 1/3 the size of the other markers. Raymond Weil has evenly and completely filled the markers with SuperLuminova BGW9, and they shine brightly, through the night. For my purposes, I will not see any meaningful difference between Superluminova BGW9 and C3. I did pick the Blue Freelancer Diver because the others supposedly use Superluminova C1.

5. Typical problems with the elements: Like most people, I typically loathe the dial elements. I usually prefer a 6 o’clock or 3 o’clock subtle date window, with a date wheel that matches the dial. I also usually prefer an applied logo. I almost have no use for extra branding with where the watch is made, or any superfluous text. I prefer my seconds track to be an applied ring.

6. Comparison to other watches: The dial of the Hydroconquest, looks like a generic mishmash of an old Rolex Submariner and a Tag Heuer Super Professional. It is entirely derivative. Unfortunately, the dial of the Aquis increasingly resembles the dial of the Rolex Submariner to me. I think the three most unique non derivative looking dials in the bunch go, in order, to the Freelancer, Aquaracer, and Zodiac. I believe the lume of the Freelancer is comparable to the Aquis, Aquaracer, and Zodiac, and much better than the Hydroconquest.

7. Overall grade: Despite the typically objectionable elements, I am awarding the dial 9/10. Somehow, it clicks for me, and, I think I have figured out why. Because the case shape is so round, the deep ink Royal Blue color gives the case some necessary depth, the date window contrivance gives the case shape the illusion of necessary length, and the text gives the watch just enough branding. I am deducting 1 point because the dial I believe that a dive watch should render the 12 o’clock marker distinctly from the other markers for orientation purposes.

D. Hands: 10/10: The hour and minute hands are longer and thinner than most in a sword style. The last bottom 25% or so of the hour hand is segmented from the remainder of the hand. The minute hand is one long clean sword. The hands are rendered in brushed steel and filled with The seconds hand is also long, thin, and sword shaped, with a lollipop lume filled circle just before the last third. The hour, minute, and second hands are deeply and deeply filled with Superluminova BGW9, like the markers. Despite the thinness of the hands, they glow brightly, better than the Longines, and about the same as the Aquis, Aquarcer, and Zodiac. Overall, I think the hands are superb.

E. Bezel and Bezel Insert: 8/10:

1. Bezel: The bezel is constructed from the same surgical grade stainless steel as the case, with an easy to grip gear type edge. It is not serrated like the Oris or Longines, both of which seem like complete ripoffs of the Submariner to me. It is also does have not notched with studs like the Aquaracer. It is 120 low noise clicks. It has less back play than my previous Aquis and Hydroconquest. It has more back play than the Aquaracer that I have handled.

2. Bezel insert: The bezel insert is a beautiful ceramic insert in Royal Blue. The color is very close to the old Omega Bond Seamaster, but, because it is ceramic, it will not scratch or fade. There is a traditional lume pip at the 12:00 o'clock possition, with White painted hash minute markers through the 15 minute/3 o'clock position, with smaller painted hash markers between the the 5, 10, and 15 minute markers for each minute, and longer hash marks at the 5, 10, and 15 minute hash marks. Therefter, we see painted numbers at the 20, 30, 40, and 50 minute markers, and longer hash marks at the 25, 35, 45, and 55 minute positions. Except for the shade of blue, the bezel numbering and style is very similar to the Aquis. The Aquaracer and Hydroconquest mimic the Rolex in numbering style. I am a bit disappointed that Raymond Weil has only illuminated the pip. None of the other markers are illuminated. The lume pip is in a bright and lovely Superluminova BGW9.

3. Comparison to other watches: I think this scratchproof bezel is every bit as nice as the ceramic bezels on the Aquis, Hydroconquest, and better than the steel bezel of the Zodiac.

4. Overall grade: 8/10: I am deducting 2 points: 1 point for the lack of luminescence on the bezel marks and 1 point for the back play.[/LIST]

F. Crystal: 10/10: The crystal is synthetic sapphire, with thick anti reflective coating on both sides. It is almost invisible. I am not deducting any points because when the outer anti reflective coating becomes scratched, my watchmaker will be able to clean it for, as he says, “a small fee.” None of the crystals to which I am comparing the Freelancer is as clear.

G. Bracelet: 8/10:

1. Dimensions and appearance: The bracelet is 22mm in width, tapering down to 18mm. It is a 5 link jubilee bracelet. The 3 center links are polished. The bracelet is essentially a copy the Rolex Jubilee Bracelet.

2. Construction: The links are made from surgical grade stainless steel, are thick, held together by screws, and do not rattle. The bracelet is completely atypical of other watches at this price point. Some people will object to the high polish on a tool watch. I don’t mind. The first reason is that I am using this as my new everyday watch. The second reason is that my watchmaker, “for a small fee,” is able to brush out the bracelet after I scratch it up.

3. Comparison to other watches: All use pins or pins and collars, thin links, and rattle. These criticisms are especially true of the Hydroconquest, Aquaracer, and, most notably, the Zodiac. The bracelet is every bit as robust as the bracelet on the Aquis. However, unlike the Aquis, the bracelet on this watch is more versatile, because it is not fitted to proprietary lugs, and may be changed at any time to any other strap of your choosing.

4. Overall grade: I am giving the bracelet 8/10 points. I am deducting 1 point for the lack of use of industrial grade stainless steel. I am deducting another point because, although we typically do not see jubilee bracelets on a dive watch, the bracelet is entirely derivative of the Rolex Jubilee bracelet.

H. Clasp: 8/10: Everything I have said about the bracelet is equally true of the clasp. Even the diver’s extension is milled and thick. Just look at the enclosed pictures. Maybe, the clasp of the Aquis is as well constructed. Not so for the Hydroconquest, Aquaracer, and Zodiac. I am deducting 2 points from the grade of the clasp for the same reasons as I deducted 2 points for the same reason as I deducted 2 points from the grade of the bracelet: The clasp is only constructed from surgical grade stainless steel and entirely derivative of the Rolex Jubilee bracelet clasp.

I. Movement: 7/10:

1. Description: The movement is an elabore grade ETA 2824-2. It beats at a rate of 28,800 hz and has a power reserve of 38 hours. There is nothing special about it. The movement is robust and easy to service. The movement is also proving to be reasonably accurate at +/- 7 seconds per day.

2. Comparison to other watches: I think the movement is of the same quality as the movements in the Aquis and Aquaracer, which use ordinary grade Selitta SW 200s or an elabore grade ETA 2824-2, that run at the same beat rates, and share the same power reserves. The movement in the new Hydroconquest is probably better. It is a modified ETA 2892-A2 movement that runs at a beat rate of 25,200hz, with a power reserve of 64/65 hours (L619). From the specs, the new L619 movement sounds a whole lot like the old Omega Calibre 2500, itself a modified ETA 2892-A2. My watchmaker warned me off of the STP 1-11 in the Zodiac. He didn’t exactly disparage it, but he displayed skepticism about its construction quality.

3. Overall grade: I am awarding the movement an overall grade of 7/10. I am deducting 3 points because there is nothing special about it. It does exactly what it should at this price point. To be clear, I don’t feel ripped off, I am reasonably satisfied, and awarded the movement a reasonable score.

J. Value: 9/10: At retail, the Freelancer is a mediocre value. With AD incentives, the Freelancer is a phenomenal value. It is well finished, well constructed, and amzaing looking ISO certified diver at this price point. The unique dial elements give the watch its own look. The fit and finish is every bit as good as the Aquis, Hydrconquest, and Aquaracer, and buries the Zodiac. The construction quality is equal to the Aquis and buries the Hydroconquest, Aquaracer, and Zodiac. The comfort is better than the only comparable watch in construction quality, the Aquis. The movement is as good as the Aquis and Aquaracer, better than the Zodiac, and only somewhat worse than the Hydroconquest. I really could not find anything that matched is price, quality, construction, and appearance. I am deducting 1 point for the retail prices.

III. Final Grade: 85: A well earned middle B.
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mattcantwin
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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by mattcantwin » Thu May 16, 2019 6:15 am

You certainly hit the ground running.
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flintsghost
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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by flintsghost » Wed May 22, 2019 5:00 pm

The review is well done. Somethings were missed. Dive watches fall into a new dimension these days. With the advent of the dive computer and now computers that will fit on your wrist, the watch only serves as a redundancy. But over the years dive watches have developed a following. The main thing that I dislike about this watch is the full shine on the bracelet and the lack of protection for the overly large crown. Full shine can attract some of the predators underwater just as lure does when fishing. The last thing someone needs. One shouldn't have to take a cheap watch to a jeweler and have it brushed to be utilitarian.
The reason I carry a 45 is because Colt don't make a 46.

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hoppyjr
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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by hoppyjr » Wed May 22, 2019 6:21 pm

Holy shit, how about starting off with an intro post?

Not gonna read the above, way to much.

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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by jeckyll » Wed May 22, 2019 7:18 pm

hoppyjr wrote:Holy shit, how about starting off with an intro post?

Not gonna read the above, way to much.
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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by Panerai7 » Wed May 22, 2019 7:59 pm

Have we been discovered?

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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by nweash » Wed May 22, 2019 8:12 pm

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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by tmw » Wed May 22, 2019 8:42 pm

This is longer than the script for the 8 seasons of game of thrones.

And at least there were naked chicks in got.
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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by 1954Selmer » Thu May 23, 2019 6:02 am

hoppyjr wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 6:21 pm
Holy shit, how about starting off with an intro post?

Not gonna read the above, way to much.

Are you having a family reunion??

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Re: For review is the Raymond Weil Blue Freelancer Diver on a Bracelet, 2760-ST3-5001

Post by hoppyjr » Thu May 23, 2019 7:36 am

1954Selmer wrote:
hoppyjr wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 6:21 pm
Holy shit, how about starting off with an intro post?

Not gonna read the above, way to much.

Are you having a family reunion??
I don’t follow.... ?

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