I can find no evidence that failed paratrooper and legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix wore a watch at Woodstock – or any other time. Never mind. The Raymond Weil Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition watch is designed to “capture Jimi Hendrix’s free-spirited attitude and classic trademarks.” So how did they do that? Let’s go to the tape . . .
His famous 1968 white Fender Stratocaster inspired many of the dial’s details, including the ten dotted index markers that mimic the frets on his guitar neck and circular border representing the six guitar strings.
Do those rectangular thingies on the Raymond Weil Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition watch’s dial – the hour indices – look a guitar neck to you? Me neither. In fact, they’re modeled after the Strat’s single coil pickups. Now if they made a sound when the hands passed over them . . . it would be annoying AF.
Anyway, it’s all about being inspired by the man, man! Is it? I reckon it’s all about the Benjamins. The Raymond Weil Freelancer-based Jimi Hendrix tribute watch is a cynical marketing gimmick designed to move moribund models with minimal modifications. Like slapping a sticker on the transparent caseback.
There’s nothing “classical” about the OFFICAL HENDRIX trademark dominating the tribute watch’s caseback. It undercuts any idea of exclusivity and obscures Raymond Weil’s RW5200 movement. A custom engraving on a solid steel caseback would have been the money move. Which would have cost money. Which is why it’s not there.
But wait! There’s more! Check out the guitar-shaped end of the JHLE’s second hand. See the interrupted pizza shape crowding the day/date window? The pattern’s based on the Aztec guitar strap Mr. Hendrix used at Woodstock. Without any of the colors that made it cool. Any color at all, in fact.
That’s another issue. Hendrix is closely associated with the 60’s psychedelic culture, typified by day-glo colors and weird typography. While many of the Hendrix posters from his drug-crazed heyday were black-and-white, none were as austere and, well, Swiss as the gunmetal gray Raymond Weil Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition watch.
Its cyan sweep second and sub-hands are the only bit of color you’ll find on the watch – aside from the words “Music is my religion” on the rehaut. Mega-dittos, says Raymond Weil CEO Elie Bernheim: “Music has always inspired our brand and sets an upbeat rhythm for all our new releases.” Can he get an amen?
Not from me he can’t.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand why people buy timepieces that connect with their cultural heroes, even when it’s a guy in a rubber suit laying waste to a paper mache Tokyo. I gave up that kind of thing when I hung up my Batman utility belt for the last time, but we all need something to believe in.
I believe a “tribute” watch should either be subtle, like the Raymond Weil Tango 300 Marshall Amplification Limited Edition Chronograph (above), or unapologetically tacky, like the Trump tribute watch I just ordered.
A brightly-colored, over-the-top Jimi Hendrix SWATCH would be OK with me. A $3k grey-as-the-UK-skies Raymond Weil Jimi Hendrix Limited Edition – complete with chronograph and tachymetre – is patently ridiculous.
I’m holding out for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown tribute watch. Now that would be something I could use to Weil away the hours. Or not.