In next to no time, Raidillon has earned a covetable place in the world of sporty watches, with its designs made in Belgium and featuring a reliable Swiss-made movement. So it was high time to shift into a higher gear and roll out some new gifts for the gentleman driver.
Motoring enthusiasts love to get technical, but they also appreciate microtechnology, an area in which Frédéric Dawans and Fabien de Schaetzen applied their talents to perfection 15 years ago. The result was a watch that is designed in Belgium and features a Swiss-made movement. Naturally, the mechanism is mechanical, with a tried-and-tested Valjoux 7750 movement that is visible at the back. Those in the know will immediately note the gear train, which drives the balance wheel and has been designed in the form of a steering wheel.
The name of the watch was inspired by the most iconic bend in the most iconic racing circuit in the world: Raidillon, a gently curving, steeply inclining bend. These days drivers take it with the pedal to the metal at over 300 km/h, a challenge for any man with a brave heart and an affinity for precision.
To emphasise its exclusivity, the watch is built in limited editions of 55, a number that is also shown clearly enlarged at the 11 o’clock position. The number 55 was not chosen at random, but is the maximum number of cars allowed on the circuit at a given time.
Leather goods and accessories
In 2015 the Raidillon range was expanded to include the first collection of tasteful, attractive leather goods. Discreet yet chic, they are the perfect complement to the watches, with brand markings that are nearly invisible.
The City Briefcase and the Gentleman’s Briefcase are created from grained Italian calfskin from Florence, and are roomy enough to store they busy man’s laptop, documents, writing utensils and phone. The visible stitching precisely matches that of the watch bands which we now know so well. And a miniature version of the steering wheel adorns the zip end, with the number 55 imprinted forever on the outer edge. The price is a very reasonable €600.
The toilet bag, which Raidillon has dubbed Dopp Kit, is an unmistakeable classic. Also in grained calfskin, has a water-resistant lining of cotton and viscose, making it a highly desirable, must-have item. Priced at €250.
Finally, the key ring is tooled in the same calfskin with contrasting stitching and a built-in technical fix to ensure that the keys used most often are separated from all the rest.
Growing international interest in the Raidillon line is not down to chance. The brand’s discretion appeals to the true gentleman, and fans from around the world have discovered their elegant designs in the shop on the Koninginnegalerij, in Brussels. So far 288 separate lines have delighted fans and collectors. Some are worn by members of the Special Forces unit guarding the president of France; others are given as official gifts by the Belgian nation to foreign heads of state.
To expand the brand’s range and contribute to its international appeal, the dynamic duo has called in the help of no one less than Christian Salez as Director of the board, an expert in the creation of added value who earned his stripes as CEO of Delvaux and Bulo. His objective will be to help put a spring in the brand’s step, to expand the ranges and to supervise international growth.
The opening of a second shop in Antwerp is only a first step, to whet the appetite for more.
As for the products, Raidillon leaves no room for misunderstanding regarding their positioning. The company is keen to launch products that are the opposite of bling, but instead elegant and highly discreet, and whenever possible also innovative. Not gadgets, but solid, timeless pieces that are extremely functional and always beautiful. In short: ideal gifts for gentlemen with an understanding of timeless elegance, with a discreet nod to motor racing. A unique brand for the gentleman driver.
The artistic director for this ideal gift line is an undeniably great talent: Belgium’s own Axel Enthoven, a designer whose international reputation in the area of public transport design speaks for itself. For the development of each separate product he will have the support of designer Alain Berteau, Belgium’s designer of the year in 2006, who has previously created standout designs for Montis, Bulo, Feld, Lensvelt and Vange.
The first fruits of this unique collaboration will appear very soon, after which a range of internationally acknowledged Belgian designers will also make inspiring contributions.
We look forward to welcoming our creative spirits’ efforts in the form of a new line of watches, a series of scarves that will delight drivers of convertibles, and a range of travel bags of every shape and size.
"Ideal for the gentleman on the move"