Few modern watch companies remain as a family business, much less bear the name of their patriarch. The Geneva based Raymond Weil Watch Company, founded in 1976 by Mr. Raymond Weil, previously boasted 3 generations of leadership, but lost its pioneer with the death of Mr. Raymond Weil, January 26, 2014, at the age of 87. His passing leaves a legacy of bold vision, heartfelt relationships, and a passion for the arts, especially music.
When the watchmaking world was turned upside down by the quartz crisis, and many watch companies were going out of business, Mr. Weil had the vision to start his own company. His vision, which defined the company’s watch collections, was to make quality watches at affordable prices. Too often one aim comes at the expense of the other, but Mr. Weil found the right balance coupled with elegant and exceptional designs. The public agreed, and sales gave the company an enviable independence.
Deals made in person and with a handshake allowed Mr. Weil to establish a European network before expanding internationally. He is remembered for his friendship. “Mr. Weil was an extraordinary man who was kind, affable and above all sincerely generous.” His gregarious personality gave him ambassadorial status for the watch industry and for Geneva in particular. Those relationships were closest at work, where his son-in-law, Olivier Bernheim, would become President and CEO of the company, and his grandsons, Elie Bernheim and Pierre Bernheim, would serve as Directors.
Mr. Weil’s eldest daughter Diana, who married Olivier Bernheim, is a professional pianist, and one can imagine a little girl practicing at the piano and the notes filling the Weil home with sound. With the Amadeus collection, introduced in 1983, the brand began introducing collections named for music such as the Parsifal or Nabucco collections. Of his many passions, classical and lyrical music held a pivotal place, but he also enjoyed painting, aviation and contemporary art. He was an enthusiastic patron.
Bravo, Mr. Weil. Bravo!