Unconventional, bold, revolutionary: Richard Mille is infamous for some of the most lavish, technically brilliant wristwatches of all time, which today act as a sure-fire indicator of stealth wealth.
Founded in 2001 by the eponymous Richard Mille, the brand is based in Les Breuleux at the heart of the Jura, Switzerland. RM’s adolescence is echoed in its rebellious persona – one that is unequivocally giving the watch industry a run for its money – and a hasty jolt into the 21st century.
With their distinctive cases, unique materials and signature skeletonised movements, Richard Mille brazenly toys with the conservatism harboured in traditional watchmaking – and masterfully so.
In the RM001 Tourbillon, the brand’s very first release, diamonds and gold were nowhere to be found. RM sought to challenge the dated collector mentality that a watch’s value must correlate directly with its weight and the nobility of metals used. Instead, they opted for alternative materials from realms beyond horology. Garnering inspiration from fields like aerospace and Formula 1 racing, the timepieces were crafted out of carbon, grade 5 titanium, graphene, and aluminium-lithium alloys, rendering the watches remarkably lightweight and near indestructible. Priced at a brow-raising €159,000 and relying solely on state-of-the-art design to entice buyers, the entire production run of 80 units sold out instantly – thus catalysing a new era of watchmaking.
Those that have worn an RM on their wrist can attest to the fact that these space-age materials achieve unparalleled, even paradoxical lightness, given the complexity and intricacy of the watches’ structure and movement. Its ambassadors, largely sporting icons, actually wear and enjoy their pieces during play. Special editions such as Rafael Nadal’s RM 27-02 and Felipe Massa’s RM-011, for example, boast extraordinary levels of functionality and durability. Both of which allow the athletes to don the feather-light wristwatches with ease and still excel in performance under extreme conditions: whether it’s g-force from the swing of a tennis racquet, or in the cockpit of a Formula One race car.
Richard Mille’s legacy as a provocative spearheader is sure to live on. A new-age pop culture icon, it starkly signifies the end of a bygone era and will no doubt continue to spectacularly defy the rules of the game in the future to come
Unconventional, bold, revolutionary: Richard Mille is infamous for some of the most lavish, technically brilliant wristwatches of all time, which today act as a sure-fire indicator