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Raymond Weil Celebrates Brit Awards Partnership & the Birth of Punk

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Swiss watchmakers Raymond Weil have always had a strong connection with the music industry; a passion for music is intrinsic to their brand. Not only do musically-inspired names such as Maestro, Toccata and Tango grace their collections, but they also sponsor and partner with a range of musical events and bodies, including the annual Brit Awards.

This year, as Raymond Weil celebrate the 11th year of their partnership with the Brits, the awards will be celebrating the 40th birthday of the most rebellious and iconic musical genre of our age. Whilst punk and luxury watches might not seem comfortable bedfellows, the combination has inspired a striking limited edition piece for the occasion.

Limited to just 70 pieces, the Brit Awards 2016 Special Edition watch features a striking distressed Union Jack on its face – the flag having become intrinsically linked with the punk movement when it was used on promotional posters for the Sex Pistols’ controversial release God Save The Queen. It is also the first Raymond Weil timepiece to feature a NATO style strap, which is coloured in red, white and blue stripes to match the face.

raymond weil brits banner

As in previous years, this timepiece will be presented to nominees, presenters and performers at the event, with a limited number available for retail. Previous recipients of Raymond Weil’s Brit Awards limited timepieces include Jimmy Page, James Bay, Madonna, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams, amongst many more.

This year, Raymond Weil have chosen their Toccata range as inspiration for the Brit Awards special edition timepiece; in previous years they have chosen the Freelancer collection (2015) and Nabucco range (2014).

It is rather fitting that Raymond Weil are the Official Watch & Timing Partner of the Brit Awards as they celebrate punk’s 40th anniversary, as it also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the watch brand, too, and there are some fascinating parallels that can be drawn between the two.

Raymond Weil Geneve

When punk rock first developed in the UK, USA and Australia, it was a rebellious, youth-driven, anti-establishment movement with a strong ethic of self-sufficiency, as many bands produced their own records and distributed them informally instead of going through established record companies.

In Switzerland, the luxury watchmaking industry was facing a crisis – the Quartz Crisis. Quartz movements were a technical revolution, improving accuracy by an order of magnitude compared to the traditional mechanical watch – but many Swiss watchmakers were slow to embrace this new technology. As a result, the industry was in decline – by 1978 quartz timepieces would overtake mechanical watches in popularity, the fortunes of American and Japanese watchmakers who were using quartz more extensively would rise. Between 1970 and 1983, the number of Swiss watchmakers would fall from 1,600 to only 600.

In this light, it seems an odd time to choose to found a Swiss watchmaking company – yet that is precisely what Raymond Weil did, and perhaps on some level it was the air of punkish self-sufficiency spreading across the world that inspired him. Despite the overall atmosphere of the Swiss watchmaking industry of the time, the company flourished, with timepieces that were acclaimed by collectors and amateurs alike, and was able to grow to the strong brand that we know today.

At Banks Lyon, we are pleased to be official stockists of Raymond Weil watches, with an exquisite collection to suit all styles and tastes. For more information, you can browse the range online, or visit us in our Lancaster store to see the pieces for yourself. You can also call us on 01524 381020 or find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.