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Raymond Weil; The forgotten diver.


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Evening folks.

I was going to wait until I'd collected another one of these watches, but since I have a free evening (Brit awards on telly!) I will scribble my thoughts on this now.

While I appreciate Raymond Weil don't carry much weight in the WIS community, I really rather like the brand. They are pretty much new on the scene, established in the 70's, and came along just in time to capitalise on the huge quartz revolution which I suppose puts a few of the watch purists off.  Even so, mechanical isn't the be-all and end-all, my current collection is a good 50/50 between battery and automatic.

So, this thread isn't just about the forgotten diver in the title - it's about a full range of them! 

The 8000 series divers were released in the late 2000's and almost immediately started to flounder.   
It was a fantastic watch but sadly, retailing at around a grand, it didn't make much financial sense to buy one.  The Omega Seamaster Bond Quartz was out and sold for around the same money and the Longines Hydroconquest was new on the scene with an RRP of around half the Raymond Weil.   
Not only that, if you felt compelled to buy a Raymond Weil then the flagship Nabucco Diver range was just about the best looking and best quality Swiss diver money could buy on the high street back then (in my humble opinion...) and they started at £1400, only a short step up in price for an automatic with the 300m rating, rather than the 200m of this series. 

So yes, the 8000's pretty much sank without a trace, which is a crying shame because they are exceptional quality, and these days represent a whole lot of "bang for buck" for secondhand buyers.
The series was made up of five different models, all running a Swiss Quartz movement, all utilising the same case with slight modifications.  All the watches are solid steel, all with a black pinstriped dial (although the 8200 and 8300 can sometimes be found with red chapter ring and sub-dial) and the large "Grand Date" twin date window at 12 o'clock (exception being the 8400, which shows the date digitally.)

The 8100 was the standard 200m diver. Three hand analogue, no bells or whistles. 
8200 was their GMT effort, with a sub-dial on the left side displaying a separate time-zone.
8300 was another traditional diver, but with a sub-seconds dial on the right side.
8400 was the digital/analogue model, quite a bold undertaking as late as that.
8500 was the 200m rated Chronograph.

Each watch shares the same dimensions;
Solid steel case.
43.5mm case diameter, 47.5mm total diameter with the crown and 12mm deep.
Six prong screw on caseback.
Fixed bezel (possibly their downfall)!
Screw-down locking crown.
Double a/r coated Sapphire Crystal.

The watches came with either steel bracelet or rubber strap options in a 22mm fitting.
The steel bracelets are lovely - solid links finished in brushed and polished textures, exceptional sturdy butterfly clasps, top quality throughout.
The rubber straps... not so much. I've had a couple and the rubber always feels to be very tough, not especially flexible, and the material definitely doesn't lend itself to the steel deployant buckle they supply - it always seems to pop open for me, never ever feels secure.
That small gripe aside, the watch feels lovely on the wrist. On steel it tips the scale at around 220grams (all links fitted), so you most definitely won't forget you're wearing it.

Any other issues? Only one, that I've found.  The anti reflective coating on the Sapphire is very often marked. Not noticeably, you can only see it in the sun, tilted to just the right angle, but it's there - tiny little spiderwebs or fingerprints in the coating. It doesn't make the tiniest difference in all reality, but it's about all I can moan about here.

The best thing about these is the price!
Despite being a high end watch in the very recent past they all pop up for sensible money on the usual sale sites.  £200-£400 seems to be their ballpark with the top end of that getting you a fantastic example with original box.  The 8500 chrono seems to be the most expensive to snag, and the 8400 digi/ana is the elusive one as it sold in the least numbers, but even so they do pop up.   My latest acquisition was the 8300 red/black. Bought NOS for £200. Unbelievable.
In fact, for "set collectors" I reckon you could complete this entire range of five watches for not much more than the thousand pounds it cost to buy one new ten years ago. 
Not only that, the residuals should be decent too. It's hardly a sought after classic, but there are still collectors for them out there so buy well and you'll always recoup your outlay - these have definitely done all the depreciating they are ever going to do!

Here are some snaps of mine, along with a couple of stock images for the two that I'm missing.   (Two of mine are listed for sale, but if I can find a mint 8400 at sensible money then I'm committed to the set then).  :laugh:

 

***EDIT*** There is technically a sixth model, the 8600, but it came out a good bit later than this original series and I don't believe it was ever released in the UK.   I've never owned one but if I track down a good one over here I'll review it separately.

My current trio;

20210511-153625.jpg

8100;

20210511-153649.jpg

20210511-153853.jpg

 

8200;

aarw82.jpg

 

8300;

20210511-153737.jpg

 

20210511-153805.jpg

 

8400;

aarw84.jpg

 

8500;

20210511-153721.jpg

20210511-153921.jpg

Edited by kevkojak
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3 minutes ago, Roy said:

I’ve always liked these and wished I had bought an 8400 when they were on offer, I nearly pulled the trigger on many occasions. 

I got one on Rubber, shipped from Japan.  I hated it but only because of the rubber strap/clasp issue.   If I had thought about it I should have picked up a cheaper model on steel, swapped them over and probably still got my money back on the one I'd bought as a donor. 

Well, we live and learn.  

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2 minutes ago, Roy said:

We certainly do. Congrats on winning the league Kev :thumbsup:

Hahaha, first year ever I really couldn't care less about it Roy.   It'll be nice if we can win the Champions League, just 'coz we've never had it in the trophy case (comes to something when Villa and Nott's Forest have won more of them!)

Still, league football can do one - I haven't watched more than 2 or 3 matches all year. It'll be different next season with stadiums and pubs open, but after the Super League debacle I'm thinking about taking my lad to watch Bolton Wanderers instead!

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12 minutes ago, Bricey said:

Fantastic read, nice to hear about the history of RW, I naively assumed them to be a much older brand.

 

You'd be amazed to see how many watch dealers on ebay try to pass off knackered ones as "1960's vintage watch".   Decade and a half too early...   :sign_what:

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1 minute ago, kevkojak said:

You'd be amazed to see how many watch dealers on ebay try to pass off knackered ones as "1960's vintage watch".   Decade and a half too early...   :sign_what:

It amazes me the amount of "mechanical" and "automatic" watches say Quartz on the dial and are reported to have "just had a new battery".

 

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I can't comment on your divers, as I'm just not familiar with them.  But your comment "feels lovely on the wrist" is why I love my ladies Raymond Weil Parsifal, which I received a little over 20 years ago from my family for a big birthday - it was a total surprise and my husband could not have chosen better.  If I could only keep one watch of all the ones I have, it would be that one.  I've never tired of looking at it and for me the best feature is how it sits on my own wrist,  Like it was fitted to me.  It follows the contour of my arm and nothing sticks up or is awkward.  It's also true to say that I like my 20 year old variant rather better than the current 'upgraded' reissue of the Parsifal range - where they've fallen into the trap of adding blasted twinkles or MOP to everything in the ladies range.

I've never quite got why RW are slightly sniffed at, never quite making it into the credible watch marques for collectors and watch enthusiasts.  I also managed to very inexpensively buy a lower range Chorus second hand recently and that feels the same in wear, at a more simplified design level.

I was going to post this in the repair forum, but if I may ask here instead:

I'm only not wearing my Parsifal at the moment as the battery has gone.  Having had it from new, I've always sent it away for what is referred to as a 'minor service' - just a battery change and pressure testing.  I was very disappointed after the last one that it cost a tidy sum and wasn't even cleaned and there were scratches around the screws - I found it was just sent to some authorised service house, not RW themselves - and was gone for many weeks.  I'm gradually talking myself into changing the battery myself this time, as I simply can't afford the fee.  I routinely change watch batteries etc. and don't see why I can't do this one (and my TAG Aquaracer which has also gone down at much the same time) - but there's talk of some models being pressurised - I assume that only refers to watches like yours above, where waterproofing is a salient feature of the design?  I don't even wash my hands wearing a watch, so diving is never going to be in the watches future.

If I'm careful with the seal and put it in a pot of silicone grease whilst I change the battery and am careful with the screws, is there any reason why I can't just do it myself?

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11 hours ago, kevkojak said:

Hahaha, first year ever I really couldn't care less about it Roy.   It'll be nice if we can win the Champions League, just 'coz we've never had it in the trophy case (comes to something when Villa and Nott's Forest have won more of them!)

Still, league football can do one - I haven't watched more than 2 or 3 matches all year. It'll be different next season with stadiums and pubs open, but after the Super League debacle I'm thinking about taking my lad to watch Bolton Wanderers instead!

*Nottingham Forest

We went to Europe and won the cup twice! :clap:

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10 hours ago, BooJewels said:

I'm only not wearing my Parsifal at the moment as the battery has gone.  Having had it from new, I've always sent it away for what is referred to as a 'minor service' - just a battery change and pressure testing.  I was very disappointed after the last one that it cost a tidy sum and wasn't even cleaned and there were scratches around the screws - I found it was just sent to some authorised service house, not RW themselves - and was gone for many weeks.  I'm gradually talking myself into changing the battery myself this time, as I simply can't afford the fee.  I routinely change watch batteries etc. and don't see why I can't do this one (and my TAG Aquaracer which has also gone down at much the same time) - but there's talk of some models being pressurised - I assume that only refers to watches like yours above, where waterproofing is a salient feature of the design?  I don't even wash my hands wearing a watch, so diving is never going to be in the watches future.

If I'm careful with the seal and put it in a pot of silicone grease whilst I change the battery and am careful with the screws, is there any reason why I can't just do it myself?

There's no reason why you can't have a go at changing the battery yourself, as long as you have the correct tools (a good screwdriver is essential), from bitter experience you have to be careful with the screws they have a habit of disappearing from the table. If you get stuck you could always post pictures on here for advice 

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1 minute ago, JoT said:

There's no reason why you can't have a go at changing the battery yourself, as long as you have the correct tools (a good screwdriver is essential), from bitter experience you have to be careful with the screws they have a habit of disappearing from the table. If you get stuck you could always post pictures on here for advice 

Thanks - the tiny screws are a worry.  I make jewellery and am all too familiar with the concept of Mexican bean stylee small components.  But I work fairly meticulously too, so hope I can apply enough care.  It was the pressurised aspect that I wasn't sure about.  It's a screwed down back (i.e flat back screwed on with individual screws), rather than a screw off back (i.e. the whole back plate is threaded), so I have absolutely no idea what that indicates, further than a design choice.

I was going to find a nice screwdriver the right size - I have many to choose from, of varying quality.  Then polish the head a little to remove any burrs etc.  I always work under a magnifying light anyway, so should be able to see well enough.  

It's locked away just at the moment, but I'll get it out later and post photos in the repair forum.

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Interesting read and tidy lookers. The lack of a rotating bezel would definitely limit the usefulness as a dive watch, not that I dive anymore  :whistle:

The only RW I have is my W1 chronograph which I bought off a forum member. The picture doesn’t show the orange dial that well as it is more vibrant. Mines a nice made thing and very light as the case is some sort of resin and the strap is waterproof RW leather. However, the lightness of it weirdly puts me off wearing it over my other watches. It’s been in line for the chop a few times and received a reprieve.  :biggrin: I may dig it out for tomorrow. 

large.6E1FA621-38B3-4C0A-B61B-71B4B36C95E5.jpeg.62236d2dd068786de0bc62f738660e33.jpeg

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Got my Parsifal out to see about the battery change, which I'll post in the repair forum.

It's not going, but I just took a quick photo with my phone.  I've been wearing this for over 20 years and have never tired of it.  It's heavy and feels very solidly made and has a really nice butterfly deployment clasp, which hasn't loosened at all.  It feels like a class act.

RWFront_20210512_213133.jpg

I especially love the profile of it against my wrist - slim and perfectly contoured for me:

RWSide_20210512_213206.jpg

This is the Chorus that I paid around 40 quid for recently from the bay, from a trade seller I've had others from.  This is a few years younger, but a bit more battered (scratched sapphire - how can anyone even manage that, mine is still pristine) - and totally filthy when I got it.  I think new this was about 40% of the price of the Parsifal.  Still has a nice profile in wear though.  I took a chance on another RW on-line, as one in a lot, but that truly was trashed - the battery had leaked and corroded everything.  Which is why I don't want to leave the Parsifal any longer with a dead battery.

RaymondWeilChorus_sm.jpg

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2 hours ago, Littlelegs said:

Interesting read and tidy lookers. The lack of a rotating bezel would definitely limit the usefulness as a dive watch, not that I dive anymore  :whistle:

The only RW I have is my W1 chronograph which I bought off a forum member. The picture doesn’t show the orange dial that well as it is more vibrant. Mines a nice made thing and very light as the case is some sort of resin and the strap is waterproof RW leather. However, the lightness of it weirdly puts me off wearing it over my other watches. It’s been in line for the chop a few times and received a reprieve.  :biggrin: I may dig it out for tomorrow. 

large.6E1FA621-38B3-4C0A-B61B-71B4B36C95E5.jpeg.62236d2dd068786de0bc62f738660e33.jpeg

Lovely watches, I've had the orange and the lime green. The case is something like carbon fibre if I remember correctly, so yes very lightweight, feels like a toy watch.   There are a few different models of the W1 as well, I'll have to get the blue and silver ones to complete my set. :laughing2dw:

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I see why it's forgettable. Raymond Weil epitomized forgettable to me. Blah designs, and blend in looks overall. Not at all a fan. Quality time pieces, which makes it so sad that they lack in the design realm so much.

All I see from them is trying way too hard and failing miserable, or not even trying at all and likewise.

Edited by JayDeep
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11 hours ago, kevkojak said:

Lovely watches, I've had the orange and the lime green. The case is something like carbon fibre if I remember correctly, so yes very lightweight, feels like a toy watch.   There are a few different models of the W1 as well, I'll have to get the blue and silver ones to complete my set. :laughing2dw:

I bought mine from a forum member, “Haggis” if I remember correctly. I’ve just checked and it’s the W1 8000 model. As you say the case is supposed to be some sort of carbon fibre. It is very light whatever it is. I was going to wear it today but the battery has died so I’ve just ordered one:thumbsup:

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16 hours ago, Littlelegs said:

I bought mine from a forum member, “Haggis” if I remember correctly. I’ve just checked and it’s the W1 8000 model. As you say the case is supposed to be some sort of carbon fibre. It is very light whatever it is. I was going to wear it today but the battery has died so I’ve just ordered one:thumbsup:

Watch or battery?

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