Why we love Richard Mille watches
They’re big, colourful and bold - and certainly turn heads.
But just what is it about Richard Mille watches that makes them so desirable?
The man who started his career in the 70s with French watchmakers Finhor, worked his way up the ranks of Matra in the 80s, moved to Maouboussin and took the leap to run his own brand in the 90s becoming the one everyone knows today - Richard Mille.
With some cool early collaboration with Audemars Piguet, Richard MIlle wanted to bring watchmaking into the 21st century and with his technical wizardry he did just that. Two years later he introduced his first watch, a tourbillon named the RM001 which was in 1999, €159,000. The entire production run of 80 units sold out almost immediately.
Even now, Richard Mille only creates 5000 pieces each year, so there are very few of any model around, making them even more appealing to watch collectors around the world.
So exactly why are these watches in such demand?
With some luxury watches you’d need to get a close look to distinguish even which brand the watch was. But there’s no mistaking a Richard Mille from afar.
His pieces are bold, colourful and futuristic in design but also incredibly ergonomic making them incredibly comfortable to wear.
One of the most recognisable things about the Richard MIlle watches are the tonneau-shaped cases. It’s a three-deck style comprising front and back bezels and a middle section with curved components and no flat surfaces.
Skeletonised dials, which Richard Mille also established, involves fiddly layering of sapphire crystals and complicated movements, which are all laboriously completed by hand, which explains the staggering prices.
There’s no steel or yellow gold materials being used to make Richard Mille watches.
Not only do his creations look like something from the Starship Enterprise, they’re also made from incredibly progressive avant-garde materials too. These are materials like aluminium and carbon nanotubes hardened with ceramic (NTPT® carbon) or gold fused with carbon and quartz (Gold Carbon TPT®), and stuff you’d usually find being made into bits of planes or Formula One cars.
And because it’s incredibly tricky to process these materials it means that random patterns of carbon are created along the way meaning that no two cases are ever alike, so really, each Richard MIlle watch is unique!
Each watch is hand-finished with incredible precision from the satin finishes on bridges to the burnished pivots.
Richard Mille also uses top quality materials such as grade 5 titanium and aluminium for the movement as well. He understood that modern watchmakers wanted to see the mechanics in action. He mastered the tourbillon and now every movement he creates is intuitive and sophisticated.
So it’s clear to see why so few are made each year and why the watches are so impressive in design, engineering and design, making them super exclusive. Demand exceeds supply every single year with high prices even on the pre-worn market and at auction, showing just how popular the brand is.
Robust for sport
Nicknamed the ‘billionaire’s handshake’, Richard Mille watches can be spotted on many a celebrity wrist.The brand has several ambassadors including Formula One driver Felipe Massa and tennis star Rafael Nadal.
In 2004 Mille created the super lightweight M006 tourbillon for Massa, capable of resisting shocks up to 500G. The driver was wearing the watch when he crashed into a barrier of tyres before in 2009 and while he suffered serious head injuries, his timepiece was unscathed.