ZURICH: Raymond Weil, founder of the watch brand of the same name and considered one of the great innovators of the Swiss watch industry, has died at 87, the company said on Monday.
He made his name by putting the luxury watch within reach of the pockets of people with style without fortunes.
Weil, who retired from the company’s board only last September and who remained honorary president, died “peacefully” on Sunday, the company said in a statement, without providing further details.
The company remains a family business, with Weil’s son-in-law Olivier Bernheim and two of his grandsons, Elie and Pierre Bernheim, at the helm.
“Raymond Weil was a self-made man. He was my mentor and I learned so much from him,” president and chief executive Olivier Bernheim said in the statement.
“His legacy and enthusiasm will live on through our family, his brand, its team over the world and all of those who wear the watch that bears his name,” he added.
Born in Geneva in 1926, Weil first made his foray into the watch industry at Camy Watch, of which he soon took the reins.
In 1976, in the midst of an industry-wide crisis, he decided to go it alone and created his own company focused on putting into practice his vision that timepieces should be high-quality and with superior design, but at affordable prices.
“He was the first person to look at watches as a luxurious accessory,” the statement said.
Raymond Weil has grown to become one of the jewels of the Swiss watchmaking industry, counting about 200 employees and four branches outside of Switzerland.
The brand’s watches, which generally cost between 800 and 4,000 Swiss francs (660-3,300 euros, $900-4,500), are sold in about 3,500 outlets across 95 countries.