Raymond & Pearl are a new British brand that, like so many others, want to bring Swiss quality to consumers at an affordable price. Does the Raymond & Pearl Horizon live up to the hype?
A Week on the Wrist – Raymond & Pearl Horizon review
My first thoughts of Raymond & Pearl was that they are yet another white label reseller, offering rebranded Chinese dress watches to the UK market with a British-sounding name and a made-up heritage. After a bit of digging, I realised there is a bit more to the brand than that. The watches are – their website proudly tells us – hand-made in Switzerland and have an accurate Swiss quartz Ronda movement under the hood. Presentation is good, with a padded, leather-bound box holding the watch securely in transit. No corners have been cut here.
For a dress watch, the presentation is arguably more important than it is for a tool watch. Watches like the Raymond & Pearl Horizon are more likely to be someone’s “only” watch and are more likely to end up as gifts, so a good box does add value. This one would definitely impress a recipient who unwrapped it.
Case and Crown
I was underwhelmed when I first handled the Raymond & Pearl Horizon. I have handled a lot of watches at every price range, both for review purposes and in my own history as a collector, so I can quickly pinpoint the quality level of a watch. I had to double check the “Swiss Made” on the dial as, to all intents and purposes, it felt no different to the myriad watches in the “dress watch on a NATO” that we see week in, week out. The main boxes that indicate “quality” are all ticked – a 316L stainless steel case topped with a flat sapphire crystal; a Swiss quartz movement that will be accurate, reliable and cheap to maintain (a new battery every couple of years). It hits all the right notes for its price point but does not exceed them in the way some brands do – except for the very generous five-year warranty.
The case is pleasantly thin: a good size at 40mm and it feels sturdy enough to withstand daily use. I was unimpressed by the lack of signing on the crown, and the fact that it pulls out to two setting positions despite the lack of a date function. This means that a “standard” movement has been used with the date wheel removed or obscured by the dial rather than using a dedicated “no date” alternative. Finally, the case back is laser etched and is absolutely fine for this level of watch. The watch wears really well. It’s light and unintrusive and fits underneath a dress shirt cuff with no problems.
Dial and Hands
The dial is the real stand-out part of the Raymond & Pearl Horizon for me – it’s a lovely, deep red colour (purple, blue, green, pink, orange, yellow and silver are also available). It has a really nice brushed sunburst effect that catches the light nicely. The hour markers are all applied “sticks”, and the brand name is printed on the dial. I was disappointed with the level of fit and finish here: the markers at 12 seemed to be ever so slightly out of line with one another. It’s not obvious at “wrist distance” but with it being “Swiss Made” (and hand-made at that) I expect a very high level of quality assurance – even at this relatively low price.
The hands are of the dauphine type, with a nice crisp 3D effect. They are crisp and legible. There’s no date function or luminescent paint, which is fine for a dress watch. I found it legible and easy to read under normal office lighting conditions.
Strap and Buckle
I was given a choice of straps and chose to review the mesh option. I generally buy watches with the bracelet option and choose a strap later. Stock straps are invariably not to my taste, and it’s usually cheaper (and easier) to buy an aftermarket strap than a matching bracelet. The mesh is really nice. It’s smooth and pleasant to wear, and has “infinite” adjustments so you can get it just-so – a common problem with straps for me is that they are either just too tight or just too loose. It matches the watch well and lets the amazing colour of the dial stand out.
The only downside for me, and this goes for almost all mesh straps, is the lack of a “proper” end fit. I don’t like gaps between watches and their bracelets, but that’s very subjective. I was also surprised by the lack of branding on the clasp – an etched or embossed logo would have really set it off.
What I Liked
- The dial is great, the red colour and brushed sunburst effect look great
- The bracelet is really nice, and the watch itself wears very well
- It is really well presented and would make a great gift
What I Didn’t Like
- I think it is expensive for a three-hand dress watch – a lot of people who would like this style would not appreciate the extra value of a Swiss over a Japanese quartz movement
- I felt that a few corners have been cut – I’d have preferred a dedicated no-date movement and a signed clasp and crown at this price point.
- I am not convinced that the level of fit and finish matches the asking price.
Raymond & Pearl Horizon – The WRUK Verdict
This is a difficult one for me – while it’s not a style of watch I would choose to buy or wear, it attracted a lot of attention so it’s obviously got that “something”. People who do not normally mention any of the multitude of watches I wear commented on its good looks. Are Raymond & Pearl watches any good? Well, they are no worse than watches I’ve had that cost twice the price, but I have also worn dress watches from brands like Orient and Seiko that – while not Swiss-made – are cheaper and better built.
I think this watch would be a good choice for a Christmas gift for a non-watch obsessive, so I took a look at WatchShop.com to see what else is on the market in a similar style. I found very little with the same kind of choice of colours – the closest similar watch was this one by Henry London at £125 (it’s gold coloured, not steel though) and the “Ford Mondeo” of this kind of watch is the Daniel Wellington at £113. On the other hand, for your extra money with Raymond & Pearl, you get a 5-year warranty, a higher-quality Swiss movement and a choice of brilliant dial colours.
Buy a Raymond & Pearl Horizon
You can buy a Raymond & Pearl Horizon for £190 from the brand’s website. They do ship from the UK, so as long as the colour you want is in stock then you should get it by Christmas. The brand offers 15% off if you subscribe to its newsletter, so make sure to do that first.
Win a Raymond & Pearl Horizon
Raymond & Pearl have kindly donated this review watch as our December competition prize, so head over to our Giveaway page on 19th November for your chance to win!