I recently had the most amazing opportunity to interview Nicola Benedetti at the launch of her brand new signature Raymond Weil watch, at the Chisholm Hunter flagship store in Silverburn shopping centre, Glasgow. Nicola is a world famous violinist, and Raymond Weil is one of the most prestigious watch designers in the world, so when the two came together, it was always going to be good.
The interview set up was perfect. Two other bloggers and I sat on the couches with Nicola and just chatted about the watch, how it was designed and all the work she's been doing with Raymond Weil since she was announced as a brand ambassador. I've always wondered how these kind of collaborations come about - who asks who, how did it all begin? 'My first experience with Raymond Weil was at a classical event, [and led to] multiple conversations with the CEO', Nicola said. 'The minute you come across someone you connect with and who naturally has an interest in all the things that you look for and has such a passion for it, but who works in another industry, you just attach yourselves to those people. I consider the collaboration to be something that's aligned on so many levels up and down, mutually beneficial and very natural'.
At first glance, it's hard to see how the two, classical music and luxury watches, cross over into one project but Nicola explained that the two industries are actually very similar. 'On the creation level, there are huge amounts of similarities. The amount of attention to detail, and the meticulous work that goes into creating something of high quality[..] There's a natural understanding of the time that things take, that intricate work, but further to that, the attempt to never sacrifice, on any level, the quality of a product or performance.'
'But, at the same time, you want a large amount of people to be able to partake in that and experience it. So the watch is not inexpensive but it’s not of an amount that such a tiny amount of people can even dream of having it. And I think that mirrors very much my attitude in what I do. Yes I play music that isn’t five mins long, it doesn’t have a beat that everyone can tap along to, it’s not the kind of thing that you’ll hear immediately and that everyone will understand. Its something that does take time and there’s a certain level of expertise to it and a level of complications to it but it’s the kind of thing that I'm trying to bring to as many people as possible and I do believe it has the potential to be enjoyed by a huge amount of people. So I think on that front, in terms of combining high quality with accessibility, there's a huge amount of connection.'
The watch itself is beyond beautiful. It has a rich chocolate brown strap with an anodized brown dial set with 91 beautiful diamonds. Nicola proudly wore it on her wrist and it sparkled all the way through the interview. The design and colour palette of the watch is so unique to anything I've seen before. Nicola told us that the design was actually inspired by her own Stradivarius violin, 'My violin in particular is quite ornate, with a lot of gold and inscriptions.[..] I shared a lot of detailed photos of the violin with the team who were designing the watch. [..] When I was asked to contribute in terms of the design, it got me thinking about why my favourite colours are beiges, browns, golds and that kind of palette. Maybe subliminally it is something to do with the fact that, for my whole life, I’ve been playing the violin and that’s the make up of the violin colours.'
The day we met Nicola was actually the first time she'd seen the watch in real life and she was over the moon with the final design, 'The pictures do look really beautiful, they really do, but they just don’t do it justice. It’s totally stunning.' she said. There will only be 500 of these watches made and each will go on sale at the price of £1695. The watch is available from September (or pre-order from Chisholm Hunter) and coincides with the start Nicola's 'Italy and the Four Seasons' UK tour.
I had such a lovely day meeting Nicola and thanks so much to Chisholm Hunter for hosting the event!
So what do you think of this watch?