These days a watch is designed as a statement rather than a time telling instrument. Ultimately computers or smart phones do that job much more efficiently. In fact these digital devices are considerably more accurate than any mechanical watch on the market. When Apple decided to enter the world of horology a lot of brands followed suit and produced their own smart watches. Certainly these watchmakers wanted to cash in on this new technology and not be left stumbling behind the world’s largest company. Personally I feel that modern consumers buy a watch to accessorize a smart outfit rather than for its functionality. Therefore the overall aesthetic is one of the largest motivators to make this type of purchase.
For many years I have admired the talent of Belgium based watchmaker Raidillon. Interesting the company name is derived from a famous corner of the Belgium Formula One track Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The business was founded in 2002 and now is under the helm of Fabien de. Schaetzen. Previously Fabien has owned a construction company and was involved in marketing for Danone. Over the last three years he has been instrumental in the evolution of the brand. Although they might not have the high profile of brands like Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer they certainly are producing some pretty decent watches. A great example can be found in their distinctive looking Chronograph.
Apart from a fairly brief (initial) conversation with Fabien de. Schaetzen most of my contact has been with export manager Amandine Paterne. When I expressed an interest in reviewing their Chronograph model she was very proactive and immediately shipped one out. When the watch arrived I was very impressed with the quality. I feel that it offers consumers value for money. Personally I prefer to wear much larger watches but feel the 42mm diameter will appeal to a broad range of buyers (including the unisex market). Generally I found the watch sat comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any friction from the crown or lugs. Primarily this is down to the stylish case design and choice of 316L stainless steel in production.
Visually the Chronograph has the same cool and sporty appearance normally found in much more expensive watches. Every aspect of the composition seems to be well considered and it is certainly designed to make a bold first impression. What makes the timepiece so appealing is the sleek black carbon fiber dial. This refined characteristic perfectly interacts with the white chronograph sub counters. Other features include the names of each of the Spa Francorchamps circuit corners (at each hour marker) and acceleration zones indication (displayed on an outer chapter ring).
Powering the watch is a Swiss made Valjoux 7750 self-winding movement. This caliber comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This precision mechanism is clearly visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Chronograph features hours, minutes, seconds and chronograph timers. The timepiece also has a power reserve of 40-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Chronograph (as tested) is limited to only 55 pieces and has a hand sewn black buffalo leather strap with engraved (Raidillon logo) folding clasp. Priced at: €2,990 (approximately $3,341).
For more information about Raidillon visit the company’s website: http://www.raidillon-watches.com