In Memoriam: Raymond Weil

Raymond Weil


by John Sealander  

Watchmaking Pioneer Raymond Weil Dies at 87

On January 26, 2014 one of the true pioneers of the Swiss watch industry passed away peacefully. Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1926, Raymond Weil was the first in the industry to make luxury watches accessible to people who weren’t born with a personal fortune. This self-made man had the vision and courage to start what has become a beloved and world-renowned brand at a time when the entire Swiss watch industry was in crisis. In 1976, when Raymond Weil’s self-named company was launched, it was a widely held view that inexpensive quartz watches would destroy the Swiss watchmaking industry.

Weil had a different vision, and watch enthusiasts, amateurs and connoisseurs alike immediately praised his beautiful and surprisingly affordable creations. This kind, affable, and generous man was influential in keeping the Swiss watch industry alive at a critical point in its history. As Raymond Weil traveled the world putting together the international network that eventually made his timepieces a familiar favorite around the world, he almost singlehandedly became an exceptional ambassador for the city of Geneva and for Switzerland as well.

Weil’s ongoing love for Switzerland and it’s watchmaking industry led him to serve as president of the Geneva Watchmaker Union, as vice president of the Watchmaking Industry Training Centre, and as a member of the Watchmaking Federation. He also served as president of the Baselworld Exhibitors Committee until 1995.

Raymond Weil’s love of classical music and contemporary art often influenced the watches that his company produced. Over the years, many popular Raymond Weil timepieces, including the well-known Amadeus, Fidelio, Toccata, Fantasia and Parsifal Collections were inspired by the music and composers that Raymond loved.

To this day, the self-named company that this watchmaking pioneer founded remains one of the last independent, family-owned watchmakers in Switzerland. The brand continues to remain in the family, with Weil’s son-in-law Olivier Bernheim holding the position of CEO, Olivier’s elder son Elie, serving as marketing director, and his younger son Pierre as sales director. It is with great sadness that the Weil family announced the passing of their patriarch and founder on Sunday, January 26. They, and the entire Swiss watch industry can take comfort that the brand Raymond Weil launched in 1976 will continue to keep his memory alive for many years to come.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupWatchmaker and wholesale watch distributor Gevril Group is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury, Swiss and fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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