Among wrist watch aficionado’s there are a few timepieces that catch the eye and have established a strong brand. Among them are the Rolex Daytona, and the Heuer Carrera. However there are a a few others out there that are also worthy of consideration. That being the case, it can sometimes be difficult to find a a respectable piece among the entry-level, automatic chronograph class. At just a shade over $3,000 there is the Raymond Weil Urban Black Freelancer and it is indeed a fine selection.
With it’s release in 2013 the Urban Black has as it’s platform the Raymond Weil Automatic Freelancer. We note that Raymond Weil produces a number of quartz chronographs so it is important that you understand the model we are looking at. The Raymond Weil Caliber 5000 is an ETA-crafted Valjoux 7750 that has the date and day at 3 o’clock. The sapphire caseback holds the movement – a signed perlaged rotor.
Inside of the 42mm stainless steel case with black PVD coating is the movement from which the name ‘Urban Black’ is derived. Accented in vivid red and white ornamentation, the matte black dial also has recessed sub registers which offer a depth and dimension that is appealing. Matching the hands are the polished metal trimming and the functional screws around the date/day apertures which maintain a subtle appearance in addition to just a touch of reflectivity.
Easy to read and with a balanced layout, the white hands of the dial tell the time while the red hands are applied to the chronograph. That makes recognizing that what you are looking for as simple as a glance. The chronograph marks seconds, at 12 o’clock there stands the 30-minute marker, and a 12-hour register is at 6 o’clock. The running seconds can be found at 9 o’clock and on the edge there is a multi-tone tachymeter bezel that is red and white underneath the crystal.
The action of the pushers start, stop and reset the chronograph, while the movement is responsive and accurate with a fine ‘click’ sound actuating the hands to their appropriate position. The watch feels nicely on the skin and cradles the wrist comfortably. At 13.7 mm the watch measures bulkier than it actually appears, however the leather strap with it’s carbon fiber facade does carry some girth around the lugs. The strap is closed with a PVD deployment clasping mechanism that didn’t didn’t have any problems with opening and securing the watch.
The Raymond Weil Freelancer Urban Black is a modern chronograph which, at $3,250 ($1797 on Amazon) is an accessible chronograph. The movement is fine enough and it has a unique style that is pulled off nicely. The functionality is excellent for the price class. This is definitely a fine option to consider.