RAID: WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion (“Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence”), commonly abbreviated RAID, is an elite tactical unit of the French National Police. It is headquartered in Bièvres, Essonne, approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of Paris. Created in 1985, the RAID is the National Police counterpart of the National Gendarmerie’s GIGN. Both units share responsibility for the French territory.
Since 2009, the RAID and the Paris Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI), a separate National Police unit reporting directly into the Paris Police Prefecture have formed a task force called National Police Intervention Force (“Force d’Intervention de la Police Nationale”) or FIPN. When activated, the task force is headed by the RAID commander.
In early 2015, the seven regional units of the National Police, previously known as National Police Intervention Groups (GIPNs), were permanently integrated into RAID and re-designated into “RAID branches”.
The RAID has a total strength of around 450 men and women, approx. 180 of which are in Bièvres, the rest in the regional branches located in Bordeaux, Guadeloupe, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nancy, New Caledonia, Nice, Rennes, Réunion, Strasbourg and Toulouse.
The Bièvres (Paris) unit is divided into three main sections with about 60 members each:
– First Section: The first section deals with the usual tasks of special forces: intervention, monitoring, protection.
– Second Section: The second section is the Research and Development unit of the RAID. It studies techniques and collects information. This section is divided into three groups: Intelligence Group, Technical Group, and Weaponry Group.
– Third section: The Third section deals with the psychological aspects of the interventions. It is in charge of negotiations and crisis management. It also provides psychological support for the policemen in the unit and in the whole French Police. It is composed of forensic experts, a psychologist and physicians.
ANTOINE DE MACEDO
It was through mutual friends that Antoine de Macedo, owner of one of the oldest collectible watch shops in Paris, met with RAID leaders in 2015. They soon became friends, and Antoine was offered a medallion of the prestigious unit. And it is precisely this medallion which will be at the origin of a unique project.
Immediately, Antoine thinks that the medallion of the RAID could replace that on the caseback of the Speedmaster, and that’s why he decides to propose a special edition of this watch to the RAID management. And so begins a joint work of brainstorming between him, the RAID, and OMEGA.
Antoine de Macedo, pictured here in his main shop Rue Madame in Paris, has been in the world of horology for a long time. At 14, he joined a school of watchmaking in Morteau, near the Swiss border. He opened his first vintage watch boutique in Paris when he was only 19 years old. Today he manages two shops in the prestigious district of Saint Germain des Prés, in which he sells both antique and modern watches, new or second-hand. Very appreciated by his clients as well as by the brands he distributes (including OMEGA), he was able to develop several custom projects such as this special Speedmaster for the RAID.
A SPECIAL WATCH FOR A SPECIAL UNIT
The project sponsored by Antoine started concretely in 2017 and was not so simple: it consisted in defining the aesthetic codes of the watch, the production volumes, the requirements of the brand, and the economics.
It was decided to limit this edition to 250 copies for the members of the RAID. This model not available to the general public features certain specific characteristics of the unit. In particular:
– the background reproduces the RAID’s motto – SERVIR SANS FAILLIR (to serve unfailingly) – as well as its badge in a central medallion,
– it is numbered XXX/250,
– the dial has no distinctive features and only the color of the hands is specific: the small hands are respectively blue, white and red, three colors which are included in the arrow on the central chronograph hand.
The box is also customized with the name of the RAID. It includes a unit medallion and two NATO-type straps.
This model bears reference number 322.214.171.124.30.01.007, and is equipped with the caliber 1861.
Note that all the specific features are manufactured and assembled in Switzerland by OMEGA.
OMEGA Speedmaster RAID
Not available to the general public
Image credit: OMEGA